The side and front lawns of the two-family house at Orleans and Bungalow Court have been paved. photo: Karen Gadbois
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.

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...