Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Can't have the riff raff messing up our "high quality retail corridor"

Did you know South Claiborne was "New Orleans's next high quality retail corridor"?
On Thursday, City Councilwoman Stacy Head convened what she described as an annual summit before the council’s Governmental Affairs Committee about South Claiborne Avenue, which she hails as “New Orleans’ next high-quality retail corridor.” The discussion featured the heads of numerous city agencies, who each reviewed their departments’ commitment to improving and maintaining the busy stretch. 
It's an annual summit! Next year they'll get together again and congratulate themselves on their next strip mall. 
“The tone has totally changed,” Canada said. “Now it’s about where people want to go and what the opportunities are here. People are talking about opening multiple units in the city, instead of just saying they want to be downtown. That bodes well for South Claiborne and other areas of the city.”

On South Claiborne, Canada said she and council members have been meeting with specific shopping center owners about attracting tenants that will draw more customers. She praised the opening of Magnolia Marketplace as a model for other property owners, and offered a slide that said retail sales there have been ahead of expectations.
Funny they didn't mention the "model for other property owners" is a kickback funded by their own customers via mall-specific sales taxes but ok.

Anyway, here is Stacy Head's new project.
The next area of focus, Head said, should be the areas of the neutral grounds where the grass cannot be maintained because of all the people who spend all day “camping” in them. One option, she said, would be to provide actual outdoor seating areas that anyone can use, instead of the folding chairs and other items dragged into the neutral ground.

“They [areas of the neutral ground] are ‘bald’ because they become areas in the center of a state highway that have become gathering spaces, often with people drinking alcohol. It’s very unsafe. People have been run over because of walking in and out of the highway,” Head said. “They’re using the neutral ground as more like a camping area.”

NOPD Sixth District Commander Ronnie Stevens said his officers regularly speak to people hanging out in the neutral ground, hoping that the appearance of an officer will encourage them to move along, since the law prevents them from taking any action if loiterers are not breaking other laws. Head asked Stevens to check on one couple she is aware of living on an Entergy box on South Claiborne, who moved down from Ohio because New Orleans was such “a nice place to live and drink outside.”
Three things. 1) Some guys sitting around on milk cartons are really preventing you from "maintaining" the neutral ground? Really?  2) We can't do anything because they aren't breaking any laws. But let's send some cops out to intimidate them anyway.. you know.. because.

But mostly, 3) heck yes this is "a nice place to live and drink outside." Isn't that what we tell all the kids Airbnbing in for Fried Chicken Fest or whatever?  Or does it only become a problem when it gets in the way of you making your "retail corridor" great again?

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