Land Use

Compliance! Grass grows on a once paved yard

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

Karen Gadbois

Formerly paved on all sides, the post-Katrina house at 4117 Orleans has a new lawn.

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?!

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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.

  • Leon.

    AMEN Jenel….we are over run with idoits from 16 Commercial businesses within two blks along Canal….they park up over the curb – in the driveways – up in peoples off street spots.and trot off to a Church and an Environmental Non-Prof! BUT ruin our grass and time!
    …it is just terrible. Is the City going to make EVERYONE who concreted their yards break them up?????
    When will there be Public Service announcements telling people to take in their garbage cans….the 4200 Blk of Canal looks like a DUMP…Lawyer offices, Bucket Brigade are the worst offenders! Bins haven’t been emptied in over a month and are left out on a permanent basis – their volunteers are the worst at parking violations!

  • E in Mid-City

    How are ppl to park when you want them to demolish the car parks? And did you know? That you dont need to turn every issue into an act of civil violance? Try getting up from the keyboard and talking to your neighbors and tell them your problems. Stop using the governmeant to compinsate for your inability to talk to the ppl around you. And really!?! Celibrating someones loss of property. Is very very pathatic. Please do us all a favor and get your own gated community. And make your utopian dreams happen there. This is Mid-City not English Turn. The answer to the problems in our neighborhood is not code enforcement. But communication. And if they won’t break to your will, learn to deal with it. Don’t call the po po. Make friends of your neighbors not code violaitors. Really grow a pair and get out there. Or better yet. just get out!

  • E in Mid-City

    And to call a story about the abuse of property owners as “not bad news”. Just says it all. Must be a central planner. Utopia was a story about what not to do. Not a how to manual. Just so you know…