NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Councilman Oliver Thomas wants people who view New Orleans East as dangerous with little development, to take a closer look as positive stories are happening in the new year.

“What better way to end the year than with this December crime map, you’re looking at it? It’s not my map but the map of what’s happening with crime in our city and the fewest reports of violent crime is where District E so when that story gets out?” said Oliver Thomas.

Councilman Thomas says the New Orleans Police Department Crime map revealed the amount of violent crime offenses was lower in the East than in other parts of the city.

A new development site along Chef Menteur Highway exhibited some of the positive things happening in the area.

“Infinity fueling, Henry Consulting is doing a multi-million dollar development here that’s not only going to take care of this corner but help spur investment and development,” said councilman Thomas.

One significant problem the East is facing is blighted property. Some locations have not been touched since Hurricane Katrina, almost 20 years ago. Councilman Thomas says the mayor’s office is funding an aggressive plan to address the city-wide problem.

Thomas says the blight removal has already started with the demolition of the old Laquinta Hotel and other properties that are now in the plans for landscaping and beautification.

“We came together around a $20-30 million a budget line item to deal with blight and blight removal,” said Councilman Thomas.

The intersection of Downman and Chef Highway has been a hotspot for criminal activity. Thomas sees the corners as critical to commerce and requiring more attention than just law enforcement.

“That’s an area that deserves the state’s attention, the Lakefront Airport’s attention, and the city’s attention, it’s a point of entry,” said Councilman Thomas.

According to Thomas, the perception of the East doesn’t match the reality of the people that live there, who want what’s best for their community.

“Yes, this entire city has a lot to overcome, but New Orleans East is making a lot of strides,” said Councilman Thomas.

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