The Second Battle of New Orleans: A History of the Vieux Carré Riverfront Expressway Controversy
Reprinted with new images and a foreword by Jed Horne
by Richard O. Baumbach Jr. and William E. Borah
About the book:
Today, one can hardly imagine a visit to New Orleans without a stroll through its famous French Quarter (the Vieux Carré), but this now national historic landmark was at the center of a two-decades-battle that pitted politicians against preservationists.
Mid-twentieth century shifts away from central business districts and public transportation, combined with the increasing sprawl of suburbs, resulted in a need for massive roadway projects to carry commuters. In 1946, such a project was designed for the city officials of New Orleans, which included a forty-foot-high, ninety-foot-wide interstate highway be built through the French Quarter district, the city’s oldest, and arguably most historic, neighborhood. The project was supported and pushed by politicians and business leaders around the city and state.
Supplemented by a wealth of photographs and maps, Baumbach and Borah provide a well-documented account of the expressway controversy in all its twists and turns, its ambiguities, and its acrimony. The Second Battle of New Orleansis not only an illustration of the planning processes in operation, it is the story of conflicting interests, both public and private, fighting for the future of a major municipality.
Praise for The Second Battle of New Orleans:
“This is a great story, and an important one that takes place in New Orleans but has ramifications that go far beyond Louisiana. It’s how preservationists took on multiple Goliaths—from virtually everyone in the city with power or money to the federal government—and slayed them all. Saved was the essence of New Orleans.”
—John M. Barry, author of Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How it Changed America
“The Second Battle of New Orleanshonors the maxim that we can learn much from history. The book chronicles in astonishing detail the years-long battle to stop the elevated expressway through the Vieux Carré—told as no one else can by two of the frontline fighters. All who truly care about saving the natural and built environment from ill-considered plans will find this book to be an essential guide for successful advocacy.”
—Dwight Merriam, FAICP, Attorney at Law, Past President of the American Institute of Certified Planners
“A landmark account of successful stakeholder-driven urban planning and consequential civic engagement across lines of class, race, and time. . . Required reading for preservationists, urban planners, environmental advocates, neighborhood activists, community organizers, and anyone who cares about equitable planning and policymaking.”
—Jacques Morial, public policy strategist, writer, and community organizer
Previously published 1981
Softcover, 426 pp., © 2019
Release date: November 12, 2019