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Arts Overlay Districts, Gentrification, and an Ever-Changing City

No one wants to use the dreaded g-word (g-g-g-gentrification) when it comes to the happenings on St. Claude Avenue. So, about that rejuvenation going on downtown, the stretch between Poland Avenue and Press Street was officially zoned as an arts and culture overlay district last week. The overlay distinction is to "preserve the small to medium-scale commercial uses currently in the area while encouraging a balance of daytime and nighttime uses," oh, and to keep the arts scene amped up. Eve Abrams, local public radio queen and author of "Preservation Hall," did some serious documentation in "Along St. Claude," which will hit the air waves of WWNO soon. She noticed the transformation of St. Claude and started interviewing on "both sides of St. Claude Avenue, [asking] folks to share stories of their neighborhood, what it's like now, how it's changed, and how they feel about those changes." Abrams might want to keep that project going, as a slew of new businesses could stake claim on the corridor.

Uptown's Freret Street between Napoleon and Jefferson Avenues is another overlay district. Once all but forgotten, ho-hum, just another street – it's now a bustling firecracker of a strip, full of restaurants, bars and hip little shops. It goes without saying that the housing market is doing more than all right there. Uptown Messenger's Robert Morris hits on all the points of Freret Street's revival in a very thorough examination of the neighborhood. It's New Orleans' Little Engine That Could, okay?
· Palmer supports Bywater and Upper Ninth Ward neighborhoods in establishment of St. Claude Arts and Cultural Overlay District [City Council, official site]
· Talkin' On St. Claude With Eve Abrams [St. Claude Main Street]
· Good neighbors: Freret's revival has largely avoided the issues that often accompany gentrification [Uptown Messenger]