Several dozen homes around Jefferson Avenue are scheduled to lose power during the day Wednesday so that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can proceed with drainage work, New Orleans officials said. The electricity will turn off to homes near Jefferson and Clara around 9 a.m. and return within two hours for most customers, though a few may be without power until 5 p.m., according to Entergy’s news release. For more details, see the news release below:
Approximately 60 Uptown customers on Jefferson Avenue, Clara Street and Valmont Street will experience a power outage Wednesday, Aug. 6 beginning at 9 a.m. in order to allow U.S. Army Corps of Engineers crews to safely complete a portion of their Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project. The duration of this outage should be approximately two hours for the majority of customers, with the remaining customers back on by 5 p.m. as Corps crews complete their SELA project work in that area.
In a surprising move near a busy commercial corridor, city planning staffers are suggesting that a three-story addition to the Poydras Home retirement community be accompanied by fewer off-street parking spaces than the project originally envisioned, in an apparent effort to maximize the site’s green space. Poydras Home currently has 35 parking spaces in a main lot off Jefferson and a smaller one off Leontine, according to the City Planning Commission staff report on the project prior to Tuesday’s meeting. The new building at the facility would raise the required number of off-street parking spaces to 47, a figure that architects had planned to meet by adding two more spaces in the Jefferson lot and creating 10 spaces along a new driveway in front of the new building. Any change to the dense commercial stretch of Magazine between Jefferson and Nashville in the past year has been fraught with parking worries, and neighbors to the building likewise said in June that they were concerned about the parking impact of the Poydras Home project. After meeting with the architects, however, the neighbors said they were reassured by the developers’ promises not to ask for a parking waiver.
Despite requests from several neighborhoods for more time to become familiar with the Isidore Newman School’s proposed land-use changes, the City Planning Commission gave the school’s plans a favorable recommendation Tuesday to the City Council with very little discussion. The school plans to build an early-childhood education center on Loyola Avenue by combining two houses on the street with a third home to be moved from elsewhere on campus, officials have said. Newman is also seeking official “school use” designation for several other buildings it owns, including the old Autopaint building on Danneel Street currently used for storage and the proposed headmaster’s house at 1803 Jefferson. While the pre-school project generally wins neighbors’ praise, a perception that “school use” is an overly vague land-use designation troubles some neighbors. Several wrote letters to the planning commission asking for a 30-day deferral on the vote, and nearby Baronne Street Neighborhood Assocation president Lynn Alline was among those who appeared Tuesday to make that request in person.
The Isidore Newman School’s plan to incorporate two historic homes on Loyola Street into its new early childhood education center won praise from neighbors Tuesday night, but the broader zoning changes to property around the campus caused some concern.
Most of Uptown New Orleans appears likely to avoid a political tug-of-war over redrawing City Council boundaries, though one proposal would change the representation for a handful of neighborhoods along Jefferson Avenue. Of the five proposed redistricting plans unveiled this weekend, four show no changes to representation Uptown whatsoever, and one slides six voting precincts along Jefferson Avenue from Councilwoman Susan Guidry’s District A into Councilwoman Stacy Head’s District B.
For the last decade, all of Uptown has been divided between districts A and B along a line that runs the length of Jefferson Avenue from the river to Fontainebleau, then heads up Carrollton toward Mid-City. Guidry represents everything upriver of Jefferson into Lakeview (including the Audubon, Carrollton, Riverbend, and Leonidas neighborhoods); Head represents everyone downriver into the Central Business District (including Freret, Milan, Touro, the Garden Distirct and the Irish Channel); and both reach into parts of Mid-City. District A lost fewer people since 2000 than the rest of the city, so Guidry will have to give up some territory. District B’s population loss was about the same rate as the city as a whole, so it does not need any changes at all, and under some of the possible scenarios it simply is left touched.
Massive drainage projects slated to begin in six months should alleviate some of the Uptown’s flooding woes, and new construction technology should make the work on Jefferson, Napoleon, Louisiana and South Claiborne avenues less damaging to surrounding homes than previous projects, engineers and officials said Tuesday evening. Each of the four Uptown projects — on Louisiana, Napoleon and Jefferson from Claiborne to Constance Street, and on the uppermost portion of Claiborne from Lowerline to Jefferson Parish — will involve a new, larger box culvert underneath the neutral ground alongside the existing underground drainage canal, said Ron Spooner, a New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board administrator. Napoleon will begin first, in April, followed by South Claiborne in May, Jefferson in January 2012 and Louisiana later that year, Spooner said. Promised by Congress since devastating rains caused $1 billion in flood damage in the New Orleans area in 1995, the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Program has already completed major drainage improvements in Hollygrove, Broadmoor and along a central portion of South Claiborne Avenue. Each of the new projects will last years, but once complete, they will reduce rainfall accumulation for Uptown homes by anywhere from 4 to 16 inches, depending on the exact location in the neighborhood, Spooner said at a preliminary meeting Tuesday night at Loyola University to begin addressing residents’ concerns.