MARSALA: Residents Oppose Developing West End Lake Shore Park

Minutes of Regional Planning Commission meetings in 2012 show large opposition to developing West End Lake Shore Park. Residents questioned if efforts by elected officials to convert the Park are being done to legal criteria for the City of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana.

Ten years later, at the recent December 5th meeting at the New Orleans Municipal Yacht Harbor the same concerns and objections to converting an historic park to mixed-use commercial development were expressed.  Approximately 85% of the 50 residents opposed the current proposed development plan.

New Orleans City Council Member Joseph Giarrusso remains firm in his desire to develop the park. Also, in favor of developing the park are State Representative Stephanie Hilferty and Jefferson Parish Council Woman Jennifer van Vranken.

Van Vranken spoke on December 13th at the Regional Planning Commission meeting. She noted that residents of Bucktown do not want Commercial development in Bucktown Harbor, so the alternative is to develop bars, housing, retail and “other improvements” in West End Lake Shore Park. Van Vranken’s protection of Bucktown residents has residents living near West End Lake Shore Park wondering why their council member, Joseph Giarrusso, does not take the same position of van Vranken and argue for not putting commercial businesses in West End Lake Shore Park.

In 2018, van Vranken noted that the lease Jefferson Parish has with the state does not allow commercial uses for its Bucktown Harbor Park.  At the December 5, 2022, New Orleans Marina residents meeting, Giarrusso was asked if ACT 209 of 1906 which states that uses of West End Lake Shore Park are restricted to “a public park and amusement park” apply. He replied that he supported State Representative Hilferty revising ACT 209 of 1906 to allow for other uses in the park. Van Vranken did not ask Hilferty to pass a bill allowing for commercial in Bucktown Harbor.


Van Vranken held meetings with Bucktown residents in 2018. This was the first meeting Giarrusso had with Marina residents.

Numerous questions went unanswered at the December 5th meeting. Included in the list were:  The 2017 Feasibility Study noted that the area was saturated with restaurants, so why push to open four more restaurants?  …. Once the restaurants are open, will more park space be taken for parking?…. The New Orleans Master Plan calls for retaining open space and park space, why go against the Master Plan?

At the December 5th meeting Joe Giarrusso stated he had switched his position and no longer wants residential in the commercial development. However, at the December 13th RCP meeting, Jennifer van Vranken called for housing in the development. Giarrusso was asked to rescind his 2019 increasing the allowable height to 65’ and return it back to 60’. He declined.   The extra 5’ allows for a 4th floor of living space.

Many of these still unanswered questions were raised in an April 2022 Hayride article.

Research documents are being posted on the web site



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