Coconut Beach reopens in Kenner, could help attract younger people to city


by Maya Rodriguez / Eyewitness News

Posted on June 3, 2012 at 5:07 PM

Updated Sunday, Jun 3 at 5:21 PM

Maya Rodriguez / Eyewitness News
Email: | Twitter: @mrodriguezwwl

KENNER, La.-- Lynn Indest and Erin Giusti are Coconut Beach regulars. After spending ten seasons at the New Orleans location, they are giving the new Kenner one a try.

"It's a little different," Giusti said. "It's nice being back on the water in New Orleans, it kind of gives you a beach feel, but so far so good."

The two are part of the younger crowd the City of Kenner is looking to attract. Mayor Mike Yenni thinks Coconut Beach's sandy volleyball courts could help do just that.

"Jefferson Parish as a whole, including the City of Kenner, is an area where the baby boomers are the majority of the population. So, that's telling us that the under-40 crowd is not coming here," Mayor Yenni said. "We've got to do something to entice them to come back to Jefferson Parish."

Part of that plan included enticing Coconut Beach to relocate from New Orleans to Kenner. The Army Corps of Engineers needed the old site for hurricane protection projects - including a permanent pump station - near the 17th Street Canal. Co-owner Michael Drury scrambled to find another adequate site.

"We actually missed two of our big charity events," he said.

However, they found a spot behind the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner and finished setting up the 22 sand courts just in time for a charity event to benefit Children's Hospital.

"It just seems like everybody is so excited," Drury said. "All the volleyball players, the big thing they wanted to see was, 'Gosh, are they going to rebuild it? And if they do rebuild it, what will it be like?'"

"It's a great location situated in Kenner," said Stewart Sheng. "They used the land best they could."

It is land that the city no longer needs to take care of and cut as part of maintenance. City leaders also said it serves as an opportunity for added tax revenue.

"We're going to get several thousand more people to come into our city for this venue on a weekly basis," Mayor Yenni said. "So, that's going to be very good - for the people that come out here to help Kenner with our tax base and spend some money out here."

There are plans to expand the facilities at Coconut Beach next year, to include concessions.