A substantial public and private effort is underway to make West End materially better than it was before Hurricane Katrina. The FEMA process will bring many facilities back. Further improvements are planned and will be planned in future months to make the area even better than it was prior to the storm. Private citizens have become very involved in this process and will be involved in the development of funding.
Friends of West End, Inc.
“Friends” organizations have been formed around the country for decades, with their mission being improvement of public parks and property through a partnership between business, citizens and government. Those relationships have proved to be very successful by virtue of joint planning, augmenting government funding with private funding and through volunteer community efforts. Friends of West End, Inc. is a Louisiana corporation formed by virtually all of the community and business organizations in the West End area – focused on the area between the 17th Street Canal and the New Basin Canal, north of the floodwall/levee. The IRS has granted 501(c)(3) status to the Friends of West End, Inc.
Constituencies Forming the Friends of West End:
Linear Park and Wetlands on Breakwater Drive: The dredge spoil from the harbor, once harbor restoration commences, needs to be placed somewhere. It is hoped that sufficient funding can be developed to turn that dredge spoil into a linear park along the North/South run of Breakwater Dr. and to have a constructed wetlands immediately off of that. Considerable work is being undertaken by MYHMC, the Friends of West End, Inc. and the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation in order to try and make this into a reality.
Pedestrian/Bicycle Bridge: The Bucktown Bridge was removed in connection with the new pumping station activities. It may be possible to put a pedestrian/bicycle bridge across the 17th St. Canal, at a location yet to be determined – north of the Hammond Hwy. Bridge and south of the pumping structures. Both Orleans and Jefferson Parishes are working with the Army Corps of Engineers in connection with that. If the bridge becomes a real possibility, the necessary paths connecting Bucktown to the West End area will need to be planned, funded and built. This is an exciting potential work in progress.