THe city promised to clean up Linclon Beach and they did.
City Hall officials have made good on their promise to clear trash out of Lincoln Beach, which is technically closed to the public but was adopted by community activists who have worked to make it more accommodating for visitors. Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s administration, which is pursuing redevelopment plans at the site on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans East, has tried to walk a fine line between encouraging the work of volunteers while discouraging trespassing. The site, officials stress, is not safe for recreation. Tensions boiled over last month between officials and activists, who complained that City Hall has been dragging its feet on plans and failing to communicate with residents who care for the beach themselves. After a couple of raucous meetings in City Council chambers in recent months, administration officials promised to clear out hundreds of trash bags that volunteers had collected at the site but lacked the means to remove themselves.nola.com
After a fluff piece in the paper, I did not post, on the rich White guy fueling Pontchartrain Beach the old Black beach needed some help.
City workers followed through on Sept. 17. They drained an access tunnel, which allowed vehicles to make their way into the area, and hauled away the bags in a Department of Public Works dump truck, according to Blyss Wallace, president of the Lincoln Beach Community Advisory Committee. Meanwhile, about 30 volunteers picked up garbage elsewhere on the site, Wallace said. She said it marked a renewed spirit of cooperation with the Cantrell administration. “It was a real good act of faith,” Wallace said. “Everybody really got to see each other and understand how hard each other works.” The advisory committee, which Cantrell helped initiate as a conduit for residents, also recently held community workshops to gather input on a final design. Those plans are expected to go out for bid by the end of the year. A public presentation to review that public input is scheduled for October.
Opened in 1939, this was the only beach Black residents could visit.
Opened in 1939, Lincoln Beach was the only recreational beach option for Black New Orleanians during the Jim Crow era. It shuttered after the 1964 Civil Rights Act ushered in integration of public facilities, and while city officials have made halting attempts to redevelop over the last two and a half decades, it has long been known as an unsanctioned gathering spot. Community members, led by Wallace, activist Sage Michael and Reggie Ford in particular have stepped up efforts to maintain it since the COVID-19 pandemic started. They regularly cut grass and pick up litter, and have also set up trash cans and built places for people to sit. Those efforts have sometimes conflicted with officials’ desires for the site, and, while showing off the recent cleanup effort, the mayor’s Twitter account on Monday was careful to note the beach is “NOT open to the public at this time.” Cantrell has committed $5 million in bond money for a redevelopment project, a little more than half the anticipated cost. The administration wants to secure BP settlement money for the remainder. A construction timeframe is not expected until some time next year.
Where is the guardian angel for this project?