“Many times when the idea almost went on the backburner there was always someone that came along and motivated me; kept me going,” says 72-year-old Lloyd Lazard.
Lazard has been dreaming of this since the 90’s and now several city leaders are on board. The New Orleans native plans to inject life back into an abandoned wharf by building the National Slave Ship Museum. He says there’s no place like New Orleans to house it.
“The reality of it is the fact that New Orleans was the cradle of the slave trade,” says Lazard, “New Orleans is one of the rare places that if you do the family tree you’re going to bring every ethnic group in according to how they came in because they kept records.”
The plan is to redevelop the Lower Garden District Riverfront turning it into an educational corridor. The museum would be built around a full size replica of a slave ship. It’ll include a lab to trace your ancestry.
“The slave ship museum would allow us to embrace not only the tragedy, but the cultural influences of the Atlantic slave trade agreement, and the impact that it had on not only the country, but theCity of New Orleans,” says Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell.
Councilwoman Cantrell put the plan before the Economic Development Committee this week. She says they are on board.
Lazard can’t believe his vision may be coming to life. He says there’s no better way to celebrate the city’s 300th birthday than to learn about its origins.
The project is expected to cost $170-Million. Lazard hopes to break ground in 2015 and have the museum up and running by the Tricentennial on 2018.