St. Charles Herald-Guide

Riverfront can serve public as well as commerce

Allen Lottinger - April 9, 2008

It is unfortunate that with the many pleasures the people of New Orleans have enjoyed these many years, living along the river was not one of them.

Here in St. Charles, we have levees alongside the river where people can walk, jog, bicycle and just sit and daydream. Along the river within the city limits of New Orleans, however, there are mostly docks and warehouses, ugly ones at that, along the river bank, depriving the people of the ability to enjoy that magnificent view of nature.

Efforts to clear the view were started some years ago when Woldenberg Park and Spanish Plaza were created at the end of Canal Street and just below. Now, an effort is underway to remove the docks and other obstructions between Jackson Avenue and Industrial Canal, a stretch of some 4 1/2 miles but there is some resistance underway.

Of course, the Mississippi is the greatest river in the world and is a big economic benefit to the city and state. It provides water transportation from the heart of the country to the rest of the world through New Orleans and Louisiana.

But people of the city should still be able to enjoy its magnificence without interrupting that economic advantage. Great minds are at work on that right now.

New plans for restoring the riverfront include an amphitheatre and concert stage, contemplative garden, piers into the river and many acres of parkways and trails for the public to enjoy the sights and sounds of the river. It will give a great new dimension to living in the city that has been denied its people these many years.

Commerce must continue but it has changed considerably since those docks were built. Certainly a way can be found to accomodate the riverís use by the general public without interrupting the business at hand.