Magazine Street businesses fear growing pains as new construction starts

The project is slated to take place from Jan. 2 to Jan. 31.

NEW ORLEANS -- A block of Uptown businesses are worried about the possible effects of an upcoming construction project.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says Magazine Street, on the East side of Louisiana Avenue, will temporarily close for "roadway restoration." However people who work in the area say they're not looking forward to this, especially some of the stores and restaurants, who say sales really start to pick up after Christmas and the New Year.

"We depend heavily on traffic that comes from the river side and the city side on Magazine," said Assistant Manager of Reginelli's Pizza, Noell Dominick. "So I guess it's a 50/50 shot on what it does to our business."

"As is is now, the construction going on down here has been going on for way too long in my opinion," said tattoo artist, Aura Jane. "I feel like this is going to exacerbate things."

Starting Jan. 2, a block of Magazine Street will be temporarily closed to drivers. Those traveling west towards Uptown will be forced to turn at Toledano Street, while those heading east will turn on Louisiana Avenue. Louisiana will also have traffic going in both directions. Dominick says she has her concerns.

"It might deter people," she says. "They might stop short at Washington before coming all the way down here to see if businesses are open."

Aura Jane, who works at Pigment Custom Tattoo and Piercing, shares Dominick's worries.

"To be doing this in December and January, that's really bad on us because we just had Christmas and we need to pick up customers," she said. "This is going to make things more difficult."

She also wishes more information would be shared regarding the project. When asked if she knew what would be taking place, she replied she didn't have a clue.

"We had two guys with a letter say, 'Just to let you know, everything's going to be shut off over here,'" she said. "We rely on a lot of walk-in traffic. They need to have access to us, we need to have access to them."

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wasn't available for an interview, but a release sent to businesses and media says the closure, for roadway reconstruction, should last about a month. Some though have their doubts.

"Weather and construction might really be a problem," Dominick said.

"Things always take longer," Jane said. "How can you predict that? There might be something that goes on that they haven't anticipated and it could take far longer."

Some store and restaurant employees say they've sent an e-mail to the Army Corps of Engineers with the hopes a public meeting will be scheduled. That way they could learn more about the project and share their concerns with officials.

The project is slated to take place from Jan. 2 to Jan. 31.

© 2018 WWL-TV


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