Mayor Mitch Landrieu has embraced the upcoming 300 year anniversary of our city. In less than 5 years New Orleans will celebrate its tricentennial and the mayor will try to establish his legacy. We know about the nearly $1 billion all-new terminal building at Louis Armstrong International Airport. We also know the mayor is about to decide on one of three proposals for the old World Trade Center site on the riverfront. Now the mayor wants to add to that legacy and move City Hall.
The mayor is right about abandoning City Hall and moving to a new facility. The present City Hall, built in the ’50s, costs about $1 million per year just for maintenance and upkeep. But the mayor is wrong about his choice for the new City Hall.
Landrieu wants to move City Hall and the Civil District Court down Lasalle street a few blocks to Tulane Avenue and the old Charity Hospital building. With the new VA and Charity Hospitals coming on line in the next few years, the old Charity building would most likely get gobbled up by private investors looking to add support facilities to the new hospital district. Doctors offices, laboratories, or even housing for nurses would seem like a natural.
Why not locate the new City Hall in a part of New Orleans near the CBD that needs a leg up, where no private investors would likely go? Like crime ridden Central City. It’s literally right next door to downtown and is an area that is in desperate need of investment. A new City Hall in Central City will immediately clean up that neighborhood and bring much needed outside investment into that area.
The mayor is right, a new City Hall is long overdue. Just put it in an area that needs help not in one that is already economically viable.