In New Orleans, documenting history of iconic Black street

Louisiana News

FILE – In this Sept. 19, 2012, file photo, traffic is diverted down the Esplanade Avenue exit following an accident on the elevated Interstate 10 expressway that runs above Claiborne Avenue in New Orleans. The expressway was built directly on top of Claiborne Avenue in the late 1960s — ripping up the oak trees and tearing apart a street sometimes called the “Main Street of Black New Orleans.” (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A New Orleans street that was vital to the city’s Black community is getting renewed attention.

Claiborne Avenue was an oak-tree lined avenue where Black families lived, did business and celebrated Mardi Gras.

Then an elevated expressway was built on top of it in the late 1960s. Two New Orleans area activists, Raynard Sanders and documentary filmmaker Katherine Cecil, head the Claiborne Avenue History Project which aims to document and publicize the street’s history.

The street was also mentioned in President Joe Biden’s recently announced infrastructure proposal that includes a $20 billion program to “reconnect neighborhoods cut off by historic investments.”

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