NEW ORLEANS - A possible cruise ship terminal at Poland Avenue Wharf is raising some big questions for residents.
Tuesday night, the Bywater Neighborhood Association invited the Port of New Orleans to get a better idea of where the project stands and to get feedback from residents.
Some said bringing in a cruise ship terminal to the area could bring in a lot of business and money. However, residents are also concerned about large crowds, safety, noise, and much more.
For many years, the Poland Avenue Wharf has sat untouched. However, the Port of New Orleans has an idea. If cruise ship operations grow too big for the Port, the hope is to potentially turn the empty wharf space into another terminal with parking.
"It's beautifully located," said the Port of New Orleans Vice President of Public Affairs, Michelle Ganon. "It's on the right side of the bridge and it can accommodate big, tall ships."
For Bywater residents, the area is home.
“It’s a quiet neighborhood and that's what attracted us to it," said resident Ellen Schexnider. "There's a lot of history here.”
Many are unsure and said putting a new terminal in the Bywater would change the area's dynamic.
“I think most people do not want it," said resident, Elizabeth Underwood. "It'd destroy the character and will push regular people out of the Bywater.”
Other residents agreed.
“Everybody in the neighborhood has their spot to go hang out and when the crowds of tourists come it pretty much pushes people out of that neighborhood," said Schexnider.
Even though this has been discussed for years, the project is in its preliminary phase. For the Port, that means starting a discussion with residents.
“What I would hope is for people to have the conversation and share what concerns there might be in the community so we can talk about it," said Ganon. "We’d like to start that conversation.”
The Port hopes the conversation started Tuesday night will continue.
"We want to keep people informed and we want to hear peoples' concerns," said Ganon.
As of now, there is no timeline for the project. The Port is currently working on stabilizing the structure of the bank and wharf to help secure it and make it safe. That way, if the Port needs to expand in the future, they'll be ready.
(© 2016 WWL)