Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Urban and Regional Planning


College of Urban and Public Affairs

Major Professor

Mickey Lauria

Second Advisor

Jane S. Brooks

Third Advisor

Arnold Hirsch


The construction of Interstate 10 on North Claiborne Avenue in the mid-1960s is seen by many in the historic downtown New Orleans neighborhoods of Treme and the Seventh Ward as a pivotal event in the life of their community. For many years, North Claiborne, with its broad, oak-lined median, had served as an anchor for the social, economic, and cultural life of this predominantly Creole and African American community.

The construction of Interstate 10 radically altered the physical character of North Claiborne. Many of the homes and businesses that lined the street were demolished to accommodate a series of access ramps. The parkway-like character of the median was destroyed by the construction of a six-lane elevated expressway within its right-of-way. Thirty-five years after the construction of the Interstate, only a handful of businesses remain on the street. The neighborhoods adjoining North Claiborne, which once exhibited the socioeconomic characteristics of a stable working class community, are now among the poorest in the city.

This thesis considers the story of North Claiborne as a case study in relationships between community and place. I employ methods of archival research and oral history to explore the role of North Claiborne in sustaining the downtown community's viability and identity, and to examine the impacts of the Interstate on those relationships. I also consider the extent to which conflicting narratives of place on the part of the community and the Interstate planners shaped the decision to locate Interstate 10 on North Claiborne, and how that decision in tum informs current efforts to rebuild a sense of communlty in the downtown neighborhoods.


The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.