Symbolic groundbreaking at St. Roch Market

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St. Roch Market as it appears today.
At a groundbreaking ceremony this afternoon for the historic St. Roch Market on St. Claude Avenue, Mayor Mitch Landrieu called the market’s reconstruction a “wonderful preservation of an iconic, historic site.” The building was destroyed in the floods following Hurricane Katrina and has since sat vacant.

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.

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