Lakefront shelters to be transformed into business

Jacqueline Quynh talks about the permanent usage of Lakefront shelters.

NEW ORLEANS - The two public shelters along Lakeshore Drive may soon have new life and new business and that's upsetting some locals who say it'll bring trash and noise pollution.

"We plan on painting it, making it nice and clean," said Billy Wright, a local restaurateur.

Wright's latest project is bringing a coffee house and seafood restaurant to Shelter Number 1 on Lakeshore Drive.

"I sold po-boys and watermelon and snowballs. It was very family-oriented."

You could say Wright dreamed of setting up shop here since he was a kid, working at what was then Krupp's, a concession stand. Since then he's grown up to run several restaurants in town. Yet he never let hope go for the shelter.

"It's a very family-oriented restaurant."

Imagine his surprise as he talked with some locals about bringing some of that charm from the old days back.

"There seems to have been some confusion on some of the blogs that I was opening a rock n' roll night club with whiskey loud music and kids."

From Nextdoor, a neighborhood social app, we know concerns from residents behind the area that noise and alcohol are top concerns. Some who frequent the area also share the same concerns, though they are hopeful for improvements.

"The two weigh stations would be enough, you don't want to be too commercialized," Rusty Ryder.

"There was a recent article where they talked about all the developments here on the waterfront and I'm really looking forward to that I mean this is a beautiful place," Evelyn Minor.
 
Eyewitness News also learned Tuesday that the second shelter is planned to be part gym, and part restaurant, but the lease on that is still being negotiated.

"We're going to have on Friday, Saturday nights blue grass and some traditional New Orleans jazz unamplified and facing the lake."

Meanwhile it's full speed ahead for Wright who plans to operate temporarily with a special events license with a limited menu beginning May 19.  A grand opening will be set once renovation of Shelter No. 1 is complete.

© 2017 WWL-TV


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