“No cars in the Quarter”: Mayor Cantrell sends team to research turning French Quarter into pedestrian mall

(Photo: JasonParis | CC)
The idea of turning the French Quarter into a pedestrian mall is the focus of a new city task force formed by New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, who is considering the elimination of automobile access to the neighborhood.

During a virtual town hall meeting on Thursday, Cantrell said she formed a tiger team, or specialists in a certain field, several weeks ago to research a set of designs that would repurpose French Quarter public space to include broader pedestrian access and allow businesses to expand along streets.

Additionally, the plans would eliminate automobiles from the neighborhood, except for commercial and delivery traffic.

The details came in the social media town hall meeting in which Cantrell answered questions from the public on several topics, including COVID-19, phased reopenings, hurricane evacuations and an out-of-commission water turbine that exploded in December.

Using the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity, Cantrell said it was time to “re-imagine” how public spaces are utilized in the 300-year-old historic district.

“I see it,” Cantrell said. “From that Joan of Arc, I want it all open.

“I call it the no-cars Quarter.”

Officials are also evaluating “policies and procedures” to reduce competition among street performers and musicians and they’re also introduced a proposal to city council for restaurants to provide additional outdoor, curbside seating with “parklets,” according to Cantrell.

Cantrell said her team will put forth several “exciting” recommendations for consideration. Watch the entire town hall below: