New legislation aims to break West End redevelopment logjam

Published: Jan. 12, 2023 at 6:07 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Public officials are sorting through a myriad of ownership issues and persistent problems slowing West End redevelopment plans.

Three years ago, officials from Jefferson and Orleans parishes formed a working group to try and move plans forward, but redevelopment remains stalled.

“Trying to do something with one entity is hard but having three or four, the state, Jefferson, and Orleans,” said New Orleans City Councilman Joe Giarrusso.

At one time, West End was home to more than 10 waterside restaurants and bars like Fitzgerald’s, The Bounty, and Bruning’s. It’s not likely to return to what it once was, but Councilmember Joe Giarrusso and others hope that it can once again become something that’s an asset to the area instead of blighted property.

Read more: Residents express concerns about West End water leak

Giarrusso says he’s committed to a transparent redevelopment process, taking into account residents in an area that was legislatively established for park or amusement purposes back in 1906.

One of the major problems preventing development from getting underway is that West End straddles both parishes, blurring the line of who owns what.

“This is a park for Jefferson Parish. It should be put in the parks and rec budget,” said neighbor Charles Marsala.

With Giarrusso’s help, Representative Stephanie Hilferty has proposed a new bill to try and straighten out jurisdictional challenges.

“Housing has been an issue. We are going to spell out in the legislation that housing will not be there,” said Giarrusso.

All parties concerned hope that change comes soon to West End, but what that may look like remains elusive 17 years after Hurricane Katrina.

“Think about how much money is being wasted, it’s incredible,” said Marsala.

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