Claiborne Avenue: "Denuded of its trees...terrifying in its stark deformity"
A recent article in the Louisiana Cultural Vistas magazine documents the transformation of Claiborne Avenue from a "mid-20th century linear park" to an elevated, limited access freeway. Author John T. Magill delves into the history of the avenue to show how its construction into a highway opened up the eyes of residents to freeways' devastation on the urban fabric. One resident wrote in 1967: "New Orleans must not become a hell of ugliness, a dead city, like that civic blight on N. Claiborne. Denuded of its trees, its ancient heritage of live oaks, it is now terrifying in its stark deformity...a few months ago this was the most perfectly landscaped allee of oaks in the city." Claiborne's destruction galvanized perservationists and residents to block the Riverfront Expressway plans for the French Quarter. With the imminent launch of the New Orleans' TIGER II study, perhaps Claiborne can again energize residents to reinvision the corridor as a revitalized boulevard.
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