Land Use

Lots of paving, no permit: Board of Zoning Adjustment to review more concrete lawns


The side and front yard of the two-family house have been paved over. photos: Karen Gadbois

Pave first, ask permission later. That philosophy appears to have been at play—yet again—in three after-the-fact front-yard paving cases up for review before the Board of Zoning Adjustment.

One is a property at the corner of Orleans Avenue and Bungalow Court the others are located on Bacchus Drive on the West Bank, and Nashville Avenue, uptown.

During the frenzied post-Katrina demolition boom, many long-neglected homes were bulldozed at taxpayer expense. The house at 4117 Orleans Avenue was one of them.

The old double at right was bulldozed after Katrina.

The owner then constructed a two-family home on the site and paved the side and front yards in their entirety for parking.

By law 40 percent of the front yard must be left unpaved, in consideration of both neighborhood esthetics and also flood control in a city whose continued existence hinges on soaking up as much rain and storm surge as possible. Property owner Angelina Larrieu instead wants belated approval for the 100-percent paving job and the eight parking spaces it created on Orleans Avenue.

In a letter to the city Larrieu says that she was unaware of the law, but she calls the driveway a benefit to all concerned.

She adds that the pave-over mitigates several health hazards, including pools of water which encouraged mosquito growth. She describes the cement yard as “clean and attractive,” adding that the “fresh, crisp look has uplifted the neighborhood.”

The hearing will be held at City Hall in Council Chambers on Feb. 18 at 2 p.m. If the owner’s request for a waiver is denied, she may be required to tear up 40 percent of the paved area.

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About Karen Gadbois

Karen Gadbois co-founded The Lens. She now covers New Orleans government issues and writes about land use. With television reporter Lee Zurik she exposed widespread misuse of city recovery funds and led to guilty pleas in federal court. Her work attracted some of journalism's highest honors, including a Peabody Award, an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award and a gold medal from Investigative Reporters and Editors. She can be reached at (504) 606-6013.

  • D. Bagh

    This woman is an idiot. Before it was concrete, she had crushed limestone. The comment about the parking spaces? She has tow-away signs all up and down the side of the house and her “yard”. Additionally, the construction of her house was questionable, too. There were far too many corners cut. This concrete yard is just the cherry on top.

  • Chris

    Is there any ordinance or permitting process for driveways themselves? i.e. what gives a property owner the privilege to turn an entire 24′ street frontage into parking spaces, which in turn reduces the amount of public street parking for everyone else?

  • Kurt Buchert

    Same problem at 4140-42 D’hemecourt. Owner just did it & the city has the complaint but nothing has been done yet. These concrete wonderlands are atrocious. There is one uptown on Burdette & another on David & Bienville that we succeeded in getting the city to do something. Still aren’t up to code but some concrete was ripped up.

  • D. Bagh


    The owner does NOT have that privilege. In this case, all that space doesn’t even serve to allow parking for others. She’ll have the vehicles towed in short order.

  • TimG

    Gotta add this hearing to my calendar. We got two: 3400 block of Nashville (since abated somewhat after attention by City) and 4100 block of Vincennes. Argh!

  • Marcus Brown

    The 4100 block of D’Hemecourt needs to be addressed. Lots of paving violations. Please come rip them up and allow the street to have some green space. Also, people park 3-4 cars in the front yards and on the sidewalk. All are violations that the city ignores.

  • Chris

    The case I’m curious about is some folks that have taken a 30′ vacant lot and seem to be creating three side-by-side parking spaces in the front of it. It isn’t blocking the sidewalk or the space between the sidewalk and the street. But they have basically taken space where two cars could have parked on the street and turned it into private parking for themselves. As far as I can tell, this is a legal practice if they obtain a “Driveway/Curb Cut” permit, which is a damn shame. There does not seem to be a legal definition of a driveway that limits one to a certain width.

  • Cynthia Scott

    What can we do if we see an illegal “concrete pour” in progress? Which city agency do we report to when such work is done and we see it too late? It would help to have numbers posted on the refrigerator, as this is happening more and more.

  • Karen Gadbois

    You can call 311 or call the Department of Safety and Permits if it is during work hours, but no weekend or off hour call line exists.

    I have heard Councilmember Head ask for the number during budget hearings for years.

    If you see a paving in action drop me a line



  • Lestat

    Country living is the place to be, fresh air and not a nosy neighbor for acres. Smells good to, not a stink-en politician in site……..:)

  • Jenel

    The city allows parking on the green space between the sidewalk and the street, Parking on front lawns, Parking on the sidewalk; only enforcing when there is “a special event”
    Paving is just the LAST step to breaking the law. I’m sure many think that they are “helping” by paving over everything.
    Enforcing parking regulations throughout the city (which of course would provide revenue for other enforcement) would help solve the paving problem.