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Reinventing the Crescent

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If planned correctly, the "new" New Orleans Riverfront could very well be one of the biggest, if not the biggest, draw in the city for both locals and tourists. The potential for something "amazing" along the Mississippi River is most definately there, throughout the entire CBD and French Quarter. We have heard what the "experts" want to do, but how about you? What do you believe should be done to make New Orleans' Riverfront a world class attraction? Also, what do you think about the different plans submitted to the city by the hired planners and experts?

Reinventing the Crescent

Goals of reinventing the crescent:

[*]Create North America

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That sounds very promising. Thanks for posting this news. The enhanced riverfront is too nice of an assest to waste. Looks like they got the right idea. And connecting neighborhoods is a must! Can't wait to see some future site plans! :thumbsup:

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This project is going to be huge for the city when it is done. St. Louis has been talking about doing something like this for years, but nothing has ever happened. I'm glad to see that things are moving forward here in NOLA.

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I really like the archietect's ideas. One of the archietects was interviewed on Ch 4 the other day. He made a good point. We in New Orleans want to protect our history... that I completely agree with. But he said... and I agree... that European cities protect their past, while welcoming their future. Think about it... Paris... how have they welcomed their future? Any of you familiar with Paris will know... there are several ultra-modern landmarks in that city... each just as important as their oldeat landmark. Let's do the same in New Orleans. I love the preliminary plan.

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As long as our history & culture are protected, bring on this project. Nightlife will make this project a success. Every riverfront has clubs & bars, so if the Crescent wants to be a hotspot, nightlife must be added. I like the idea of having two nightlife districts, the Quarter & the Crescent.

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The only thing I would be worried about is that they take safety into account as much as anything else. The plans show some beautiful pictures of other cities that have riverfronts (with sail boats and kayaks on the water, flimsy railings, open areas) but none that can compare to the NO riverfront and the mighty Mississippi. I'm probably worrying over nothing but after seeing the plan for BR's riverfront and the ridiculous park on piers, I wouldn't put anything past an overzealous architect. And now that I'm continuing reading... the whole emphasis on "breaking down barriers and gaining access to the river's edge" isn't relieving any of my fears. I mean seriously, how can that be considered safe, especially considering both river currents and boat traffic? I'm not saying the whole riverfront should be barricaded up... I'm just thinking, if you want more people to come to the riverfront, it should be safe for families with little kids running around, for drunk people stumbling over from the quarter... at least in certain areas.

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Elise, I see what you're saying, but parts of the riverfront right now are already extremely "open" to the river itself. On the Moonwalk directly across from Jackson Square, they have the steps that lead right into the river. Those are open to the public, and have been for as long as I can remember. Further downriver all you have to do to get into the river is walk down a grass levee, and further upriver there are rocks. Of course there is a tall railing along the riverfront that leads all the way down to the Jax Brewery. That's the area where boat traffic is closest to the riverfront, and that's the area that's the most protected. Beyond that, you have what I was talking about before. If you want to get into the Mississippi, it's extremely easy to do so. But very rarely do we have any problems; homeless people sleep on those steps I was telling you about, and many parents like to take their kids down to get an upclose view of the Mississippi.

Here's the riverfront from the Imax down to the Jax...you can see in the distance the area I was talking about; rocks, then the steps, and then grass:

467442169_b6d050e95d_b.jpg

The Mississippi River, taken with very little zoom from those steps on the levee:

380246040_21cd39a283_b.jpg

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I am mostly worried about the portion in front of the Aquarium, where there are currently railings, as in the picture above... but in the PDF file, they show a guy walking to the edge where the wood beams are and the line above it states that a main focus is removing barriers. I know there are a lot of places without them but I don't think the entire riverfront should be that way. I love to take my kids there and I would worry about the ability to run right off into an area where people can't climb back up so easily or where boats frequent.

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^I've got you. I didn't realize you were talking about the area around the Aquarium. I completely agree that there should be railings there unless there are some dramatic changes. For one, you've got the steamboats that dock there, tugboats, the Algiers Ferry nearby, etc. Also, that part of the riverfront is 8-10 feet above the river, so if someone fell in the river, they couldn't just walk back up. (Like you were saying)

IMO, that brings up an interesting idea. The only thing I really dislike about the riverfront around the Aquarium and down to Waldenberg Park is the fact that it is so high above the river. I realize that is necessary for a number of reasons, but there are some things that could be put into place that could work well. For example, what about expanding that part of the riverfront down and out a bit by removing the railings, and setting up a long set of stairs that lead to a lower platform that was only slightly above the river. There would be railings along that platform, and safety would be a key, but I think it would be cool as everyone, especially kids, like to feel "one" with the Mighty Mississippi.

Only my mind at work of course, but I'd love to hear what others thought. Anyone else with some "simple" ideas for improving our riverfront?

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Last time I was in New Orleans (last summer), the riverwalk was in extreme disrepair. Have they fixed it up?

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Last time I was in New Orleans (last summer), the riverwalk was in extreme disrepair. Have they fixed it up?

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The Riverwalk was closed for all of '05 and most of '06 due to extensive looting & wind damage. Post-Katrina, the Riverwalk has reopened and looks better than ever.

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Oh, excuse my previous post, tennreb. I thought you were talking about the riverfront, not the Riverwalk.

But yes, as Uptown pointed out, there was major looting in the Riverwalk after Katrina and it still wasn't the same last summer. Now, however, it looks much better. Seems to be just as good as new. :thumbsup:

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Yes, the Riverwalk is back open and looking good. There are still some vacant stores that need to return, but otherwise it is doing well.

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It looks like Reinventing the Crescent is moving forward, even though Sean Cummings is coming under scrutiny for a potential conflict of interest. The full plan (34.5 mb) is available online, as is a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for Phase I of the project, and two upcoming meetings will be held this month on the 12th (today!) and the 24th.

I have been watching this plan for awhile now, but have not yet had the time to read through the final incarnation. As far as previous incarnations go, I am still unsettled by the plan to develop towers at the Port of Embarkation, as I feel that 1) the density is out of scale with the surrounding area, 2) such towers would be much better suited for the Loyola/Rampart/O'Keefe corridor, and 3) high-density living in that area would not be adequately served by mass transit which 4) unnecessarily encourages car traffic due to the distance between the proposed towers and residential services (e.g. grocery store). Similar things could be said about the Market Street Promenade developments, though that will be next to the Riversphere / Nine Muses Square area which is ripe for denser development.

But enough of being negative. I am really happy to see an initiative along these lines, and I hope that the public can reclaim a beautiful strip of space along the riverfront.

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The plan is quite impressive, although I do not like the idea of completely revamping Spanish Plaza. The fountain is one of the very few large well-maintained (because of the Riverwalk) fountains in the city. Spending that much money to replace a fountain that was only re-restored a few years ago is foolish.

I love the modern architecture rendurings. Let's just hope that Jackie Clarkson's desire to use "traditional" and "New Orleans" architecture is not adopted.

We should conduct a poll to see how many of us actually believe this will become a reality. I believe parts of it will.

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More news about Reinventing the Crescent, though not much in the article that we don't know already. The state's portion of the financing is still in question (162 million, more than half of the overall funding), but it looks like the city is beginning to solicit construction proposals for Phase I of the project.

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Here's the charted breakdown of the funding for the project, from the T-P article that blackcoat posted:

medium_06.rivermoney.gif

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This is a few days old and not directly related to "Reinventing the Crescent", but worth mentioning in this thread.

CEO of the New Orleans Building Corp. Sean Cummings is under increasing scrutiny for private real estate ventures, the latest of which is the purchase of a warehouse in the Marigny that he plans to redevelop as an upscale grocery store. Critics claim that the purchase of this structure is a conflict of interest since its proximity to the riverfront directly benefits from Cummings' public role in planning the future transformation of the public spaces along the Mississippi River.

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This is a few days old and not directly related to "Reinventing the Crescent", but worth mentioning in this thread.

CEO of the New Orleans Building Corp. Sean Cummings is under increasing scrutiny for private real estate ventures, the latest of which is the purchase of a warehouse in the Marigny that he plans to redevelop as an upscale grocery store. Critics claim that the purchase of this structure is a conflict of interest since its proximity to the riverfront directly benefits from Cummings' public role in planning the future transformation of the public spaces along the Mississippi River.

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The Louisiana Board of Ethics stated that Sean Cummings is not in violation of ethics rules, though they did express concern about his purchase of a warehouse in the Marigny. Cummings will need to appear before the board again if he acquires any additional properties near the riverfront or the World Trade Center building, or if plans for Reinventing The Crescent or the World Trade Center project are altered.

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A team of architects has been chosen to design phase 1 of the Reinventing the Crescent plan. The article itself mentions very little aside from the chosen architects:

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Recently, legislation was proposed targeting Sean Cummings and his potential conflict of interest running the New Orleans Building Corp. Yesterday, the Times-Picayune reported that Representative LaFonta was dropping his conflict of interest legislation, as residents seem placated after a community meeting about Reinventing the Crescent.

My apologies if I seem obsessed with this topic. The politics behind it fascinate me ^_^

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