New Orleans City Council member Joe Giarrusso will move to allow the demolition of three, two-family houses on Tchoupitoulas Street, according to motions included in the agenda for Thursday’s New Orleans City Council meeting (Feb. 1). The hearing is the next step in the appeal process after the demolitions were denied by the New Orleans Historic District Landmarks Commission (HDLC) in December. HDLC staff’s inspection of the three vacant buildings concluded that they could be rehabilitated.
The row of buildings (5514-5516, 5518-5520, and 5524 Tchoupitoulas St.) is owned by Car Wash Blues, LLC, which also owns the Uptown Car Wash that surrounds the residences on three sides. The plan is to demolish the houses, re-subdivide the property to form a single lot, and apply for a conditional use to expand the car wash services to include a detail area.
The car wash has owned the doubles for more than 10 years, leaving the properties to deteriorate and applying for a previous demolition permit in 2012.
These six residential units are in a prime location and could be renovated for housing or commercial use – examples of such uses are plentiful along Tchoupitoulas. Demolition of this row will obliterate any possibility to maintain a mixed-use condition on this side of Tchoupitoulas between Arabella and Bellecastle streets. The owner is responsible for their current condition, and the City Council should require that the owner maintain these houses instead of rewarding negligence.
The PRC encourages residents who care about avoiding wasteful demolitions and maintaining a mixed-use setting in this section of Tchoupitoulas to comment in-person at the meeting on Thursday, which starts at 10 a.m. and will be held in the City Council Chamber at City Hall. Comments can also be submitted online until 2 hours before the meeting starts.
MaryNell Nolan-Wheatley is PRC’s Advocacy Coordinator & Public Policy Research Director.