NEW ORLEANS - The Louisiana Landmarks Society released its list of the nine most endangered sites in the city of New Orleans. The French Quarter grid made the list, mainly because of Bourbon Street.
In January, the City of New Orleans announced a $30 million safety plan. In that plan, it outlined some changes to Bourbon Street. The one thing that stood out to the Louisiana Landmarks Society is making the famous street pedestrian only by using bollards.
“This will strangle the vitality of the neighborhood and the French quarter is first and foremost a neighborhood,” said Carol Gniady of the Louisiana Landmarks Society.
Gniady says blocking vehicles from driving on Bourbon is a huge concern. She says it’ll change the flow of traffic, threaten the historic layout and it’ll be a hassle for people who live there. But, Mayor Mitch Landrieu says it’s all about safety.
“I think it’s pretty evident to people from seeing events across the world that terror attacks are being focused on areas where lots of pedestrians are walking," said Mayor Landrieu. "We think it’s a good step forward to make the city safe and we think we can do it in a way that protects historic places as well."
The mayor says the city has been working with businesses for the past year to make sure their interests are protected. They’ve also been meeting with homeowners in the French Quarter.
"There’s definitely a concern about protecting our visitors. We have a vibrant tourism industry and everyone wants to support that but this proposed change would have such far reaching implications. We want to make sure this neighborhood remains a neighborhood," said Meg Lousteau of Vieux Carre Property owners, Residents and Associates.
"A lot of times we have to balance historical preservation with national security and public safety. In this sense, I don’t think it threatens the grid at all, we’re just managing the risk for the people that are there so we can protect them," said Mayor Landrieu.
The mayor says they can’t eliminate all the risks but they can minimize them.