The announcement that New Orleans City Planning has agreed to support changes in the street names of certain blocks of Lasalle and Carondelet are disturbing and bewildering. The historical integrity of a 300 year old city lies in its street names. To change centuries old street names for present local figures is as big an affront on our culture as building brick ranch-style homes in Treme. Ignoring rules that have been in place specifically to prevent such an affront, such as waiting 5 years after the death of any individual before eligibility of consideration, is dangerous precedent. Common sense will tell you that confusion for emergency responders and other public services is inevitable.
If certain congregations wish to honor individuals they deem important to a particular area, place some marker or statue in the area where they had their positive effect, don’t change historical street names. Catholics would not be clamoring to rename Carrollton Avenue for Archbishop Hannan, nor the Jewish community to rename St. Charles Avenue for Rabbi Cohn, not because such individuals did not positively affect our community but because it is inappropriate and disruptive to the community.
I ask the City Council and the Mayor to step back and think about this can of worms we’re opening if we start changing historical street names for Congregation leaders.
Preserve our street names and find other appropriate methods to honor present day local figures. Thank you.