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NEW ORLEANS -Even on a dreary Sunday, crews worked to breathe new life into a once deteriorating site. The Mid-City Market is touted as a vital part of the Carrollton Corridor's recovery.

'It's a healing kind of thing, for one thing, because it's one of only two big commercial spaces left on Carrollton Avenue that were undeveloped since the storm,' said District A Councilwoman Susan Guidry.

The more than 100,000 square foot lot, located on North Carrollton Avenue between St. Louis and Bienville Streets, sat vacant for years after Katrina. Now, restaurants, a grocery store, and an Ochsner clinic are set to open in June.

The $35 million development will bring hundreds of jobs to the area, said Guidry.

It will also be the first new development along the proposed Lafitte Greenway, a 3.1 mile bicycle and pedestrian path along a former shipping canal and railroad that would run from the French Quarter to Lakeview. The Laffite Greenway Corridor would also include recreational facilities.

Guidry said construction of the Greenway, which has been delayed, is set to begin in September of this year.

'The idea is that the shoppers can then enjoy that commune with the greenway and then the greenway users can stop and shop and eat,' said Guidry.

But some neighbors believe the development's mostly national chains- like Pinkberry, Pizza Hut, and Panera- will detract from Mid-City's quirky, local feel. A 53,000 square foot Winn Dixie is being built right across from the locally-owned Rouses.

'What defines New Orleans versus Metairie a lot is the small business feel of New Orleans,' said Julie Burak, a Mid-City resident. 'If it resembled more of Carrollton I'd be thrilled, but it's just a little taste of Metairie in our neighborhood that I'm not exactly happy to see.'

'I just want to see New Orleans stay New Orleans and things like this, it gets in the way and it just sort of proliferates the gentrification in post-Katrina New Orleans,' said Max Brabner, a Mid-City resident.

But new business is better than no business, said Guidry.

'It had a lot of little shops there before,' said Guidry. 'It's going to be a much much nicer development now.'

Stirling Properties broke ground on the project in March of 2012. It was slated to be complete in early 2013, but the Mid-City Messenger reports construction delays included an over-budget building that needed to be redesigned and bad weather.

This story was developed with our partners at the new Mid-City Messenger web site. It's a spin-off of The Uptown Messenger, and like that site, will cover news and events in the Mid-City neighborhood.

You can read more at http://midcitymessenger.com.
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