Prominent Streetscape Project Begins in Central City Neighborhood, New Orleans
South Claiborne Avenue is one of the City’s key corridors. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the street and the surrounding neighborhoods were flooded with up to 6 feet of water, destroying many of the businesses and homes in the area. Revitalization of the mile-long stretch between Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard and Napoleon Avenue was identified as a top recovery initiative by the Unified New Orleans Plan (UNOP) and the Target Area Development Plan.
This streetscape project will enhance the economic and residential appeal of the neighborhood, improving the safety, accessibility, and aesthetics of the corridor. Utility work will include drainage modifications, such as improvements to the curbs and gutters to ensure positive flow of water toward catch basins. Paving improvements will include added/improved sidewalks with “bump-outs” at the corners, pedestrian walkways across intersections, repaved street surfaces, and newly-designated bikeways. Vehicular and pedestrian signalization and signage, light poles with banners, and bike parking facilities will further improve mobility along and across the avenue. Palm trees and other landscaping, park benches, trash receptacles, public art, and pocket parks will complete the project, bringing all of the other components together.
A central feature of this project will be the Civil Rights Memorial. Honoring nine slain civil rights activists, a pavilion at Jackson Avenue will feature portraits and inscribed text on each column for the following:.
Rev. George Lee – Lee was a successful businessman and minister in Belzoni, Miss., who was active in voter-registration efforts in his county. He was fatally shot while driving in 1955, and his killer was never identified.
Medgar Evers – Evers, a native Mississippian, was a state field secretary for the NAACP and helped organize voter registration efforts and boycotts, and also played a major role in efforts to integrate the University of Mississippi. He was shot in front of his Jackson home in 1963, but after an initial jury deadlock, his killer (Byron De La Beckwith) was not convicted until 1994.
Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, and James Chaney – Goodman and Schwerner were New Yorkers helping organize boycotts in Mississippi with Chaney, a local activist, in 1964. They disappeared in June, and their bodies were found inside an earthen dam in August. Their deaths helped ensure the passage of the Civil Rights Act, but their murderer, Edgar Ray Killen, was not convicted until 2005.
Malcolm X – Malcolm X was a nationally known advocate for civil right and leader of the Nation of Islam, but after breaking with that group to adopt a more inclusive integration message, he was assassinated in 1965. Three members of the Nation of Islam — Talmadge Hayer, Norman 3X Butler and Thomas 15X Johnson — were convicted of his murder the following year.
Jimmie Lee Jackson – Jackson, a church deacon from Marion, Ala., was participating in a protest walk to the local jail in February of 1965 when he was chased by Alabama State Trooper James Bonard Fowler and fatally shot. His death inspired the Selma-to-Montgomery march the following month. Fowler received a 6-month jail sentence in 2010.
Rev. James L. Reeb – Reeb was a Unitarian Universalist minister from Kansas who traveled to Selma, Ala., to take part in the marches protesting Jackson’s death. He was beaten by a mob and died from his injuries two days later.
Mrs. Viola Gregg Liuzzo – Liuzzo was a Unitarian Universalist from Detroit who was helping organize the marches that continued after Reeb’s death in March of 1965, when she was fatally shot while driving by Ku Klux Klan members. Three of the Klansmen were sentenced to 10 years on federal conspiracy charges; one, a federal informant, had immunity from prosecution.
Click to view more project renderings and diagrams.