St. Claude in Common *
Once a vibrant commercial corridor known for its furniture stores, seafood market and social clubs, the district struggled to come back after Hurricane Katrina. The St. Claude Main Streets organization sought help in meeting a number of challenges.
- How can four communities—St. Roch, Marigny, St. Claude and Bywater—come together to envision a commercial corridor that serves the needs of all residents?
- How can the district develop a strong image in the context of declining population, a preponderance of first floor vacancies, and unattractive physical environment?
- Is it possible for a commercial district to balance its dual role as a state truck route and pedestrian-friendly main street?
- How can a plan be implemented with the community capacity and population to bring dreams to reality?
Challenges were met by conducting extensive community outreach to understand the concerns and goals of members of all four communities served by the St. Claude corridor. Community and organizational capacities were also explored and tangible steps outlined for plan implementation. Four “threads” were identified as “sub-districts” or themes that allow niche markets to flourish in the district and that provide branding and promotional opportunities for merchants and developers.
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MIT Class Info
- Identified and supported common threads in the district, including traffic calming measures, tree planting and landscaping, and public art street furniture
- Supported common clusters along St. Claude Avenue: entertainment, arts + culture, food, convenience, and home + garden businesses
- Crafted a plan for common action that addressed the need for community capacity building and strong leadership by increasing the Main Streets board membership, creating a business advisory committee, and developing and enhancing key public-private partnerships
- Created an implementation plan that lays out step by step action items for short and long term goals and identifies the major players and partners to make it happen
* MIT “Revitalizing Urban Main Streets” Practicum: Susan Silberberg and Karl Seidman, Lecturers