One of the recommendations of neighborhood groups for rebuilding New Orleans is to eliminate the portion of Interstate 10 between Tulane and Elysian Fields Avenues.
That includes the portion over North Claiborne Avenue. Anyone who has visited that area since I-10 was placed there can testify to the fact that it has downgraded it to an unsightly travel corridor.
It pierces right into the middle of what used to be a beautiful area with old antebellum homes along Esplanade Avenue.
We mention that because Interstate 49 will be constructed on the west bank of St. Charles Parish. The route that is preferred by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers would place the highway along the areaís main thoroughfare, U. S. 90.
Would I-49 do to St. Charles Parish what I-10 has done to the North Claiborne area? We should certainly take that into consideration in determining a definite location.
We have maintained that the interstate should go south of the populated areas. It would partly traverse wetlands but that has not disturbed the wildlife in wetland areas along I-10 on the east bank of the river.
Putting I-49 south of populated areas on the west bank could provide a travel corridor just as convenient and accessible as one alongside U. S. 90.
And it would avoid any negative impacts that could result from dividing the west St. Charles community as has been proposed.
Letís quit studying how to save the coast and do it
Now the word is out. A portion of the coast of Louisiana is sliding into the Gulf of Mexico.
Scientists are telling us that it is sliding at a very slow rate, like the width of a credit card every year.
Why even tell us that. We have enough to worry about after losing some 250 square miles of land during Hurricane Katrina.
The important thing is to quit talking and studying and start acting. We have been planning restoration of the coast for some 50 years and you can count on one hand the number of projects that have really helped to make a difference.
Weíre at last going to get some of that offshore royalty that the feds have been holding back from us through the years. It wonít be enough but it could constitute a start, especially if we can bond it for a bigger lump sum at the beginning.
And by the way, there is no reason why Louisiana should not dedicate some of that $1.6 billion surplus which politicos have been feverishly trying to figure out how to use.
Letís put some of that into the coastal restoration fund and start using it. That will send a message to the rest of the nation that we are serious.
We have studied it enough. We know what has to be done. Letís do it.