Plans to rebuild the badly flooded eastern part of New Orleans, La., are giving residents new hope that their neighborhoods can be better than before Hurricane Katrina.
The plan, unveiled Aug. 12, calls for three major bicycle paths, a French Quarter-style mixing of commercial and residential properties, a beach on Lake Pontchartrain, upscale shopping and places for families to have fun.
To protect against storm surges, manmade islands would be established on the Lake Pontchartrain side of the levee, the plan says.
Resident Ray Harris was upbeat about the plan. He said he’s made about 13 trips back home to eastern New Orleans from Hot Springs, Ark., where he now lives with his wife.
“This is the best news I’ve heard since I’ve been taking these 7 1/2- to-8-hour (one-way) trips home,” Harris said.
He said he has no doubts now about returning to eastern New Orleans.
It is one of dozens of other neighborhood plans that, once completed, will be presented to the City Council and City Planning Commission for review.
If the City Council approves the vision for the area east of the Industrial Canal, the plan will be used to access federal, state and private money available for hurricane-rebuilding projects, said Sherman Copelin, the leader of the New Orleans East Business Association.
Copelin said the City Council would likely approve the plan by Sept. 30 and then eastern New Orleans can begin requesting money to implement improvements.
Information from: The Times-Picayune, www.timespicayune.com.
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