NEW ORLEANS— Memorial Day generally signaled the time that we headed to the beaches and outdoors, but one historic beach on 17 acres in New Orleans East has been closed for over 50 years.
Now there’s an effort to clean it up, and hopefully reopen it to the community. This effort also comes with lofty goals.
Peteh Haroon of the New Orleans for New Orleans Coalition said, “I want Lincoln Beach to be a place where we can address some of the financial burdens that people here in the city have by lack of job access.”
In it’s heyday, the beach offered recreation and entertainment for the African American community in the 1950’s and 60’s, as one of the few spots that were allowed for them along the lake.
It’s pretty much sat as it was abandoned over 60 years ago, but this motivated group is serious about the effort to revive Lincoln Beach.
Michael Pellet of the coalition said, “We need to get it cleaned up, first of all. Secondly, we need to organize. Get the community together to get a plan to offer our city leaders to help them in the development of Center Beach and Lincoln Beach. For the community and by the community.”
City leaders are supportive, in fact, they mayor and Councilwoman Cyndi Nguyen have commissioned a feasibility study, and they also see Lincoln Beach as an important component in protecting the city.
Mayor Latoya Cantrell stated, “I see an opportunity to do multiple things. Protect our city from storm surge, and provide an additional outlet for recreation for the public to enjoy. It’s the right thing to do and we’re going to see it through, but it starts with cleaning up the site and I’m excited about it.”
That clean up has already begun with this grassroots effort, but it’s such a beautiful natural site that a lot of the trash is from years of folks enjoying this abandoned space. The hope is to return this gem to what folks remember.
“My parents and my grandparents came here, and they talked about it my whole childhood. I would love to see this revived so that my family can enjoy this space. It’s right in our back yard, said Tricia Wallace of the coalition.
Whether this will ever return as an amusement park is in question, but the ability to purpose this space for other recreation certainly exists. What’s promising is that this group sees it as their responsibility to do some of the work and reclaim the area for this often overlooked community.
According to Torrence Taylor, “This is New Orleans East, where predominantly black people live and we need to take care of all of it”
The city hopes to complete their study by 2021.