MARSALA: Burned-Out, Burned-Down, And Burned-Up At West End

A parked boat stolen on Easter Sunday from a street bordering West End Lakeshore Park recently turned up stripped and burned out in New Orleans East. The $50,000.00 boat was parked along the park and stolen Easter Sunday between 1pm and 6pm. On Easter Sunday normal patrols in West End were allocated to Lakeshore Drive to assist with crowd control.

NOPD was not able to respond until Monday at 4pm to meet with the boat owner. Previously cars and boats have stolen in West End. Residents are concerned that the vision of Council Member Joseph Giarrusso and the MYHMC Board to develop West End Lakeshore Park with bars and gaming will lead to more crime at time the NOPD is short staffed and not likely to be at adequate levels for some time.

The bars and speakeasys of West End flourished during the Prohibition Era offering gaming and prostitution at a location that was difficult to police due to its distance from police stations. Complicating enforcement is that the last 100 feet of West End Lakeshore Park is in Jefferson Parish and most of the former bars West End were over the water in Jefferson Parish. Therefore, NOPD had no jurisdiction.

During a prior interview, Barbara Chifici, the former matriarch of Deanie’s Seafood, remarked that Bucktown received is name because of the young “Bucks” that frequented the area looking for alcohol, gaming, and prostitution.

Twenty-Five years ago, Hurricane Georges took out Fitzgerald’s and Bruning’s restaurants. Fifty years ago, a fire destroyed Kirsch’s and the My-O-My Clubs.   Thirty-five years ago, a fire destroyed Augie’s Delago. All these bars were over the water in Jefferson Parish. Since Hurricane Katrina took out the pedestrian bridge that allowed people to park in Bucktown and walk to the West End bars, traffic access today will be problematic.

The new Pumping Station took the place of Retif Park and Coconut Beach and prohibits re-opening the bars over the water near the pumps.  The former restaurant pilings and foundation have served as a bird sanctuary this is often covered with drawing pelicans, eagles, and turtles.

However, Council Member Giarrusso and the MYHMC are pushing to remove the wildlife habitat and heritage oak trees to build bars, commercial, and retail in the park. Giarrusso is trying to sell the idea by romantically talking about the “good ole days” of 40 to 60 years ago.  However, he has not addressed the concerns of 2023 during in his interviews and has not held a fully open meeting to hear residents’ objections.  After having a meeting with Bucktown residents in 2018, Council Member Jennifer van Vranken made sure the former Jefferson Parish restaurants were not re-developed in Bucktown Harbor.


As recently reported in The Hayride.

More than 90% of the respondents of a recent on-line survey want West End Lakeshore Park to remain a park, to save the heritage oak trees, and to become a bird sanctuary.  However, some favor creating a special tax district in West End and using any revenues from developing the park to offset expenses of the West End Municipal Yacht Harbor. Others want the Park returned to the New Orleans Parks and Parkways Budget with a bike path and possible recreation.

The On-Line Survey is still open to the public.

Two previous studies by the Regional Planning Commission and MYHMC reported that in the 25 years since the former Jefferson Parish restaurants over the water closed, the area is now saturated with bars and restaurants and that new hurricane building standards make development too expensive to justify construction, unless retail, commercial, gaming, and housing are part of a massive development of West End Lakeshore Park with Federal funding assistance.

It has been offered that if development is going to be forced in West End, that Breakwater Park makes more sense as it is bigger in acreage, adjoins the boat launch parking lot (that is empty after 9pm), has a better view of the lake, allows for facilities and docks over the water, has no heritage trees that must be cut down, there is no revenue split with Jefferson Parish, and music could be directed out into the lake as opposed into Bucktown or West End.

Rather than Burned-up boats and Burned-downed bars, ninety percent of the people responded in the survey that West End Lakeshore Park is their place to visit to avoid being “Burned-out” and would prefer to have it remain a park with green space than be transformed into “a major new attraction and a source of economic (and criminal) activity.”



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