Monday, January 29, 2007

Expanding the footprint

..of the CBD that is. This is a question held over from Saturday. Can someone explain what is going on here?

You never know what's going to show up on the City Council's agenda.

Take an ordinance that was introduced a couple of meetings ago, but not yet voted on, to amend the city code to define the Central Business District.

Here's how the proposed law would define the CBD: "the area bounded by the Mississippi River, the Pontchartrain Expressway, the middle of Claiborne Avenue and the middle of Iberville Street on the East Bank and the area bounded by Merrill Street on the east, General Meyer Avenue on the south, Benjamin and Hendee streets on the west and the Mississippi River on the north on the West Bank."

Nobody is likely to disagree with the East Bank boundaries, which are the same as those of the Downtown Development District. But where did the West Bank portion -- basically the old Naval Support Activity land that is to be turned into the new "federal city" -- come from? Has anybody before ever alleged that the CBD includes a large chunk of Algiers?

And what is that Benjamin Street? There are Benjamin streets in Uptown New Orleans and in Arabi, but is there one in Algiers? Not on our map.

The ordinance in question was introduced by Councilman James Carter at the request of the Nagin administration. If and when it comes up for a vote, presumably someone will be prepared to explain how the city's longtime CBD suddenly acquired an unexpected cousin across the river.

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