NEW ORLEANS — Large tracts of land and buildings owned by the City of New Orleans remain in states of blight and decay.
Despite efforts to redevelop the properties over the years, they remain historic eyesores in a town that prides itself on maintaining its rich past.
“Trying to teach my kids about all the different pasts that each area has,” said Ginger St. Germaine who is visiting the city for the first time. “New Orleans is such a cultural phenomenon.”
Some of that culture is being erased with every passing storm.
Hurricane Ida, which struck in late August, damaged the roof and exterior facade of the long shuttered Municipal Auditorium in Armstrong Park.
St. Germaine says the condition of the 92-year-old building is sad.
“It’s sad because it’s a cultural sacrilege,” she said. “On the frontage of the picture (posted on the building), it says arts, music, theater and the place it’s crumbling.”
The old Municipal Training Academy near Delgado Community College on City Park Avenue is full of graffiti. There are broken windows and holes in the buildings.
In January 2021, the city broke ground on a $6.7 million project to redevelop the complex into a new headquarters for the New Orleans Fire Department.
It looks like the buildings were gutted and new water and sewer lines installed.
But Pastor Tucker, a landscaper in the area, says he hasn’t seen any workers there in quite some time.
“We have this great college down the street and our great City Park, this is an eyesore,” Tucker said. “I believe they need to address the problem more efficiently than what they have been.”
Just this past week, there was another fire at the abandoned city-owned former Navy base on Poland Avenue.
The once thriving military complex in the Bywater is now a mecca for drugs, crime and vagrants.
“People who live in the city here shouldn’t have to live in such a degradable state when the city could have the money to begin to address some of their issues,” Tucker said.
The latest city appointed developer for the property promised months ago to secure the old base with a new fence.
That hasn’t happened yet.
WWL-TV asked the city for an update on the status of these properties
We did not receive one in time for this report.