by Matthew Hose
While rain prevented anyone from physically breaking the ground at the site, several public officials praised the construction as a symbol of the improvement of the St. Roch neighborhood. District C Councilwoman Kristin Gisleson Palmer, in whose district the market stands, called the market a “sign of the revitalization of the neighborhood … to bring more economic development and investment to the area.” She also praised the Faubourg St. Roch Improvement Association, which spearheaded the idea by conducting door-to-door surveys. Landrieu and Palmer added touches of nostalgia, reminiscing about buying po-boys and crawfish in their childhoods when the store was known Lama's St. Roch Market.
The $3.7 million project, funded by FEMA and Disaster Community Development block grants, begins this month and is set to be completed in March 2013. It includes renovating the market, constructing a six-block-long “Art Walk” along the St. Roch Avenue neutral ground from Marais Street to North Roman Street, and renovating St. Roch Park.
Also present at the groundbreaking were District A Councilwoman Susan Guidry and Councilwoman-at-Large Stacy Head, as well as U.S. Attorney Jim Letten, who called himself “just a cheerleader” for the project.