Formerly paved on all sides, the post-Katrina house at 4117 Orleans has a lawn. Credit: Karen Gadbois

Conversion of the front, side and rear yards at 4117 Orleans Ave. into a concrete parking lot caught our attention last winter, as did owner Angela Larrieu’s imaginative proposal to remedy the illegal paving job: cover it with fake grass.

It was only the latest instance of creeping concrete to have been deplored in this column.

Neighbor Monica Munoz spoke for others in coining the word “uglificent” to describe Larrieu’s landscaping.

The paved-yard trend could also be called “hazardous,” given the reality of life in a flood-prone city that needs as much natural absorption of rainwater as possible.

Larrieu brought her plea for plastic grass to the February meeting of the Board of Zoning Adjustments, but officialdom — perhaps shamed by past inaction — hung tough as concrete. Larrieu was ordered to comply with the law that says parking pads can not take up more than 40 percent of a front yard.

Tear out the cement, she was told.

And, by golly, she has.

A half-year later, grass has replaced much of the concrete at the Mid-City residence Larrieu built after Hurricane Katrina, and the parking spaces have been repositioned.

The side lawn still looks to be a work in progress, what with the hazard tape and half-finished sod job. Time will tell if it is for parking or grass growing.

Who says we in the media only report bad news?!

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...