Mayor LaToya Cantrell today joined other City officials, along with business leaders, to mark the recent reopening of two-way vehicle traffic on several blocks of Canal Street near the Hard Rock site.
“The reopening of Canal Street has been a long time coming. There has been a lot of hard, thoughtful, and careful work put into this by all our agencies and partners. We wanted to get this done right. We're happy that one of the busiest and most important streets in the City has been reopened. Even as we faced all the challenges that have emerged since the collapse, including the COVID-19 pandemic and a historic hurricane season, we continued to push those responsible for the collapse to clean up their mess and return our streets to the people,” said Mayor Cantrell.
Two lanes of vehicular traffic on Canal Street are now open from Burgundy through North Rampart Street. The outside lane (closest to the collapse site) has been converted into a protected pedestrian pathway. City officials are actively working with ownership to ensure the sidewalk and streetscape is restored to its pre-collapse condition.
Mayor Cantrell was also joined by Jeffrey Schwartz, Director, Mayor’s Office of Economic Development; Richard McCall, Interim President, Downtown Development District; JoAnn Fischer, Fischer's Jewelry; and David Rubenstein, Rubenstein's.
Mayor Cantrell noted an expansive and coordinated effort between several City agencies and partners, most notably:
- Tammie Jackson, Director, Safety & Permits
- Miguel Viteri, Capital Projects Administration
- David Morris, Director of Special Projects
- Joe Butler and Allen Yrle, among many others, at Department of Public Works
- Collin Arnold and the men and women of NOHSEP
- The team at New Orleans Fire Department: Former Supt. Tim McConnell, Supt. Roman Nelson, Capt. Jason Dufrene, Capt. Danny Simon and Capt. Paul Martory
- Courtney Stuckwisch Wong, Margrett Magee and Jeff Schwartz for helping guide the impacted businesses through this trying time
- And the many impacted business owners for their patience as the City worked to resolve this crisis – with particular coordination and collaboration with the Downtown Development District
Mayor Cantrell also acknowledged the support from and collaboration with the New Orleans Building Corporation’s Board of Directors and the Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) operators, especially EP Miller of the NOBC/City-owned Saenger Theatre. ATG opened its doors to NOFD and the City by allowing the crew to use the arcade/facilities for their operations during the entire process. NOBC opened its offices to the City team and their consultants for on-site access and meeting space.
Ramsey Green, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Infrastructure, explained some of the next steps to bring the area back to full operational use, including repairs to the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans’ (SWBNO) sewer and water lines and the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority’s streetcar lines on Rampart and Canal streets. Full water and sewer line replacements are now underway; the RTA is working to restore service to the Canal Streetcar line by late summer 2021 and the Rampart Streetcar line by the end of the 2021. Buses will continue to utilize Duncan Plaza as the main bus hub until further notice.
As for the Saenger Theatre, repairs are underway and are expected to be complete in July. Repairs include roof replacement and repairs to the historic elements and other parts of the building damaged from the collapse. The Saenger is positioning itself to host its Broadway in New Orleans series that begins in November.