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Derelict retail signs on Read Blvd. in New Orleans East. (Photo by Chris Granger, The Times-Picayune)

As the city embarks on 500 infrastructure projects in anticipation of the Super Bowl, we hope New Orleans East will not be forgotten. While leaders emphasized the focus will be on downtown, the CBD and the French Quarter, seeing Downman Road in New Orleans East included in the infrastructure improvement efforts was encouraging. The reconstruction of Downman Road will be a tangible benefit for the East that will outlast the Super Bowl because it is the primary access road from the Lakefront Airport and used by residents of nearby neighborhoods. Notwithstanding this investment, leaders should prioritize cleaning up Interstate 10 in New Orleans East in anticipation of the big event.

We, the members of New Orleans East Matters Coalition, call on Mayor LaToya Cantrell, Gov. Jeff Landry and Super Bowl coordinator Michael Hecht to include the improvement and beautification of the I-10 neutral ground through New Orleans East since it serves as a gateway into the city. While long-term reinvestment in The East will take years and coordinated planning, the landscaping and beautification of I-10 is low-hanging fruit. We appreciate that the interstate lights are finally being repaired, but the perception and image of the I-10 neutral ground, rights of way and interstate cross-sections matter. Having officials clean up I-10 in anticipation of the Super Bowl will demonstrate that The East is not forgotten and included in the citywide benefits of hosting such an enormous and significant event.

Specifically, we seek a new and modern welcome sign and beautification of the neutral ground, including dead bushes removed, trees trimmed, new landscaping planted, consistent grass cutting and litter abatement. We believe this is not an unreasonable ask. If there was ever a time to finally spruce up I-10 in the East after years of neglect, it is now.

TANGEE WALL, president

DESHA GREELY, secretary

CHARLES MILLER, member

New Orleans East Matters Coalition

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