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Why the section between Calliope and First streets changed from Loyola Avenue to Simon Bolivar Avenue?

Blake Pontchartrain: The New Orleans N.O. It All


Hey Blake,

  After poring over old street maps dating as far back as 1852, I can't figure out the story behind Simon Bolivar Avenue. It has had several names through the years, but I can't find any reference to when and why the section between Calliope and First streets was changed from Loyola Avenue to Simon Bolivar Avenue, especially since the Simon Bolivar statue is on Canal Street.


Dear Stumped,

  In 1952, Mayor deLesseps "Chep" Morrison began reshuffling street names. He proposed the name Simon Bolivar Avenue for a six-lane boulevard from Louisiana Avenue to Second Street along LaSalle Street that would cut over to Loyola Avenue at Jackson Avenue and run along Loyola to Calliope Street, where it would connect to a proposed union station circle. It was only this part of Loyola that was renamed Simon Bolivar. The thoroughfare was intended to relieve congestion on St. Charles Avenue.

  Over the next few years, there was tremendous population and commercial growth in the city and many capital improvements, including the completion in 1955 of the LaSalle/Simon Bolivar/Loyola/Elk Place east-west artery. The same year, Venezuela gave New Orleans a statue of military and political leader Simon Bolivar to commemorate the man who liberated Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Panama and Peru. The statue originally was to be placed at the upper end of Simon Bolivar Avenue, but Morrison wanted it closer to the statue of New Orleans founder Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville (then near the railroad station), the new Mississippi River bridge (now the Crescent City Connection) and the Union Passenger Terminal. He proposed erecting the statue closer to Earhart Boulevard, but it ended up on Canal and Basin streets.

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