COVID-19 pandemic may lead to changes in the French Quarter

City pushes to turn French Quarter into pedestrian only zone

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) -The Covid-19 pandemic may lead to changes in the French Quarter.

“I put together a tiger team several weeks ago actually, on looking at the French Quarter. I call it ‘no cars in the Quarter,’” said Mayor Latoya Cantrell during a town hall meeting on Nola.com Wednesday. “Exciting recommendations coming from that tiger team, multiple pedestrian malls that are being put forth for consideration.”

While there's no word on specifics yet, the Executive Director of the French Quarter Business Association, Brittany Mulla McGovern, says her group and others have been talking with the City about their ideas and concerns.

“These aren’t totally new ideas but definitely have a new spin and understanding when evaluating with the pandemic that is happening now,” said Mulla McGovern."Definitely, for food and beverage it would be a clear pro because you can seat people and on a beautiful evening who doesn’t want to sit outdoors. So, there is that. But, with that being said, there are many different kinds of businesses in the French Quarter which we need to keep in mind, retail for instance, their deliveries don’t come until the afternoon."

In a statement a City Hall spokesperson said:

"The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a unique opportunity to explore creative, pedestrian-centric approaches that have the potential to draw both locals and tourists to the French Quarter. The City is working alongside international mobility experts, representatives of French Quarter businesses and residents as well as District C Councilmember Kristin Palmer as we move through the planning process.

"Ramsey Green, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Infrastructure, is heading up the French Quarter Pedestrianizing Tiger Team, which was initiated by Mayor Cantrell earlier this month. Director of Special Projects Sarah McLaughlin Porteous and Mobility and Safety Program Lead Jennifer Ruley are overseeing the day-to-day and technical aspects of this work respectively. This team is taking a comprehensive and phased approach in looking at both near- and long-term solutions that support the full business ecosystem to reopen, recover and thrive as we move through and beyond COVID19 restrictions.

"The team includes representatives from NOPD; NOFD; EMS; NOHSEP; Department of Public Works; RoadworkNOLA; Sanitation; Parks & Parkways; Health Department; City Planning Commission; French Market Corporation; Safety and Permits; Office of Community Development; Mayor’s Offices of Transportation, Neighborhood Engagement, Intergovernmental Relations, Communications and Utilities; and the Vieux Carre Commission.

“The City will continue to engage with businesses and residents in the French Quarter around specific concepts that may be considered.”

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