Does anyone remember the gas station on the corner of North Rampart and Esplanade? I don’t but from what I understand it was an Esso station that actually made the transition over to Exxon in the early 70’s. A short time after that though, the gas station closed. So, for about the last third of a century, the sight has sat, abandoned.
Recently a New York restaurant owner, who obviously admired the property, found the owner, offered to buy it, and did. He also bought a house on Esplanade right down the street from his new proposed restaurant. Problem is, the neighborhood doesn’t want him, or more specifically, his restaurant. I’m not kidding.
The French Quarter Neighborhood Association doesn’t want this guy’s restaurant in the long-abandoned gas station at the crusty corner of North Rampart and Esplanade. The neighborhood would rather see the empty gas station than a thriving restaurant.
A petition has circulated around the French Quarter showing a picture of the new owner’s Brooklyn restaurant with a big crowd. The neighborhood folks fear that a successful restaurant could interfere with their goal of keeping that corner of the Quarter blighted.
Right around the block on the equally crusty corner of Elysian Fields and Decatur, neighborhood activists stopped Sean Cummings’ proposed apartment building. Down the street, Fauburg Marigny residents are blocking a proposed CVS pharmacy. And now the French Quarter folks are stopping a redevelopment of a building that has sat empty for over 35 years.
This selfish neighborhood group obviously prefers blight over a vibrant business, and their own needs over the city’s.