New Orleans Wetland Bayou Bienvenue, a local nonprofit, has big plans to develop the Florida Avenue corridor in New Orleans’ lower 9th Ward, according to Jeanell Holmes, the organization’s founder and executive director.
In a presentation at an October meeting of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East’s operations committee, Holmes sketched out a vision that includes a community garden, farmers’ market, amphitheater, nature pavilion, waterfront restaurant and art installations. She declined to estimate the cost of the group’s overall vision or say anything about prior accomplishments.
Members of the Flood Protection Authority expressed support for the project, but also raised concerns about ownership of the property as well as the organization’s ability to find adequate funding.
Holmes said her group did not have a lease on the property but was working with city officials to resolve that issue. One funding option, she said, might be to team up with local universities.
“I think we generally support the idea of the revitalization of the area, but we have learned during our short tenure on this board that great ideas are sometimes met with stiff resistance,” said Flood Protection Authority president Tim Doody.
Doody said the project would require coordination with a variety of different agencies, which might be difficult. A rail line runs through the property, and that could prove especially tricky, he said.
According to Doody, other groups that would need to be involved in the development process include the City of New Orleans, the Sewerage and Water Board, the Flood Protection Authority and any other owners of property in the immediate area.