Land Use

Volleyball club drops plans to build sand courts along Bayou St. John

The Mid-City Volleyball Group has abandoned a plan to built a set of sand volleyball courts along Bayou St. John on land owned by the Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans.

A couple times a week, the club gathers to play volleyball on the greenway next to the bayou. They had hoped to find a permanent home for up to five courts on an adjacent lot just across N. Jefferson Davis Highway, between Orleans Avenue and Toulouse Street.

Outlined in red, the property eyed for volleyball courts is owned by the Sewerage and Water Board.

Orleans Parish Assessor's Office

The club planned to build up to five courts on the lot outlined in red, owned by the Sewerage and Water Board.

The group had reported that the Sewerage & Water Board seemed amenable to leasing the land, but mounting neighborhood opposition may have led to the change of plans.

Walter Gallas, executive director of the Louisiana Landmarks Society, said such a project could “change the character” of the neighborhood. Gallas said the organization became involved “because of the lack of transparency. Not a lot of public input was included in the decision.”

Monday, the volleyball club’s president notified the Sewerage & Water Board that it was dropping its proposal to lease the land.

“There is a great deal of support for The Mid-City Volleyball Group’s proposal,” Peter Hickman wrote. But “there is enough opposition that we expect the S&WB to withdraw its offer to lease that land.”

Hickman did not respond to emails seeking comment.

Donated sand is destined for the courts, wherever they wind up.

Karen Gadbois

Donated sand is destined for the courts, wherever they wind up.

Brian Ferrara, a lawyer for the Sewerage & Water Board, said in an email to neighborhood leaders and the city attorney that the board’s executive committee would vote to rescind the lease offer at its meeting Friday.

In anticipation of the deal, Councilwoman Susan Guidry had facilitated the donation of numerous truckloads of sand, which were deposited on the Lafitte Greenway at the foot of the bayou.

Guidry told The Lens by email that the sand will remain until the Mid-City Volleyball Group finds a permanent home or until the Lafitte Greenway construction starts in November.

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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.

  • spidernola

    This is so sad. The Mid-City Volleyball Group is one of the best assets we have in our neighborhood and I am so disappointed that a few neighbors who think they own the bayou would keep this group from paying out their mission to have clean and healthy fun. Each weekend when I see this group out on the Bayou, rain or shine, teaching kids to play a relatively inexpensive team sport I smile and send them well wishes. Sure, there are other locations that they could go, but the beauty of the Bayou is that they were visible to neighbors of all types and they could increase their outreach efforts by just hollering out to neighborhood kids that were just passing by. I wish the very best for these folks!

  • bayougirl

    no this is good. that was not a good idea. it would have ruined the space. I love the volleyball, but that area is not nearly right for an entire sand volleyball court system. sorry. It is very, very good that they are not doing it. and as a homeowner in the area, we have a right to weigh in on these things. I would not support an entire court system anywhere near the bayou. a couple of nets on a saturday, fine. but not a whole thing. do that out in the north 40 of City park. or better yet – the city should take a block of blighted houses, bull doze them, and let them build a whole volleyball court system like Coconut Beach, with a bar and restuarant. there are plenty of area like that between Tulane and Canal that would do nicely.

  • Coconut

    They could have let them build 2 nets, but I agree they shouldn’t allow 5. Also, I love how Bayou girl offers another neighborhood like their residents wouldn’t have a say. NOLA screwed the pooch with not allowing coconut beach to move to the green space across the street from where they were because Mitch’s buddies at the Yacht Club didn’t want it there.

  • howmuch

    “Not in my backyard” Typical New Orleans setiment.