Today, the Lafitte Corridor is a wide, out-of-service rail corridor through the
heart of New Orleans.
Years: 2009 to present
This project is part of RTC's Urban Pathways Initiative. Learn more about this work.
New Orleans, La.
Friends of Laffite Corridor; Urban Conservancy; University of New Orleans Center for Urban and Public Affairs
Community engagement process; trail amenities recommendations and assistance.
The Lafitte Corridor and Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's Urban Pathways Initiative: An Emerging Opportunity to Connect Neighborhoods to Healthy Living (3.6MB)
The Lafitte Corridor is a largely derelict strip of land along the old Norfolk Southern corridor from Basin Street to Canal Boulevard, connecting the French Quarter to the Bayou. Residents in the surrounding neighborhoods have been working to preserve this open space by creating a multi-use linear greenway. The path of the proposed greenway follows a corridor which has been critical to transportation throughout New Orleans history, first as a waterway and later as a rail line. There is no other direct route between Mid-City and Tremé, the French Quarter and the Central Business District that is publicly owned and generally undeveloped. In post-Katrina New Orleans, with land use being re-examined throughout the city, supporters have realized the urgency of putting their idea into action. RTC is building upon its previous involvement in this corridor to help move the project forward for the neighborhoods and local businesses along the route.
2011 was a big year for RTC and its many partners in furthering the development of the Lafitte Corridor. The Urban Conservancy and a local design firm, FutureProof, constructed the first of 16 planned public art installations, called Green Rooms, which will all be made from salvaged materials and will serve as information kiosks along the trail. Ken Salazar, the Secretary of the Interior, held a press conference at this first Green Room in December to talk about the Obama administration's commitment to the revitalization of the Lafitte Corridor.
RTC and the Friends of the Lafitte Corridor (FOLC) developed a Greenway Ambassadors program to train local residents on the history and greenway planning process of the corridor, so that they could share their knowledge with friends, family, and neighbors at community meetings and events. During FOLC's annual Lafitte Corridor Hike in April, Greenway Ambassadors served as tour guides for local residents and RTC provided fun activity stations along the hike, leading to a record-high turnout of 369 local residents. RTC also assisted the city of New Orleans with outreach for community design workshops for the greenway in August and provided a pass-through grant from its Metropolitan Grants Program (in partnership with the Coca-Cola Foundation) to FOLC to conduct a strategic planning session to discuss the organization's evolving role as the project moves forward.
Finally, RTC released its report on the Lafitte Corridor (linked above), which provides recommendations for design and infrastructure, greenway attractions, and suggestions for creating interest and coalition building. Looking forward to 2012, a second Green Room was completed in January and plans for a third are currently underway. The greenway is slated for completion in Spring 2014.