WWL-TV has the story. They’re taking down 59 of the 75 buildings in the Iberville Housing Projects as part of a $600 million project to revitalize 300 city blocks in the Treme neighborhood bordering downtown New Orleans.
It’s a lost piece of history to many that what is now the soon-to-be-demolished Iberville Projects was once the famous Storyville district, until the City of New Orleans razed them to build the housing projects under the direction of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt administration.
Had that not happened, it’s a virtual sure bet that Storyville would now be a red-hot real estate property just like the Warehouse District is; after all, it borders both the French Quarter and the Central Business District, so there’s little reason to think real estate developers, restauranteurs and homeowners wouldn’t be teaming up to turn it into a cool neighborhood. If they’re trying to do it in the Marigny and Bywater, Storyville would be a no-brainer.
But naturally the federal government isn’t exactly bringing back Storyville for the developers to create a renaissance with. What’s coming is really more like a better version of Iberville…
There’s a website for the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative-New Orleans which touts a “one-for-one” replacement of all the Iberville housing units, plus “low- and mixed-income housing” as part of the new stuff going up in the area.
It’s worth wondering if more federally-funded high-density housing is actually a solution for the problems inherent in federally-funded high-density housing. But for now, at least we can rejoice that at least something is being done to eliminate the worst abuse of real estate in North America – which is what the Iberville Projects have been for most of the last 70 years.