This week, NolaVie is publishing responses to Voices on Violence. The series arose as a response to the Mother’s Day shootings in New Orleans that injured 20 people. Comprised of one-on-one interviews with a diverse group of residents, it explores why and how people live here, how they assess risk, and what specific things they believe can help change the cycle of violence in New Orleans. Please join the conversation; send commentary, responses and interview suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. This email is from reader April Leigh.
My name is April Leigh and I am a pedestrian. I was born and raised in Jacksonville, Fl., lived for four years in Atlanta, Ga., and now live in the wonderful New Orleans.
Jacksonville and Atlanta are among the least pedestrian-friendly cities in America — Jacksonville, I believe, being somewhere around the worst as was rated recently. New Orleans is a special city for many reasons, but one that stands out to me is the walkability of it. In the South, its unusual to have a densely built, walkable/ bikeable city. Much of the landscape is sprawling and highway heavy.
Although New Orleans is walkable, there are not so many resident pedestrians. Sure, the tourists love a good stroll, and if you are lucky enough to live near your favorite watering hole, taking a night walk to it is common.
However, the real “get out and go walking to where you are going” seems left to the “absolutely have to” category. There are various reasons why people don’t walk, but what I want to write about is a very important factor that keeps people from going out, as well as the effect I believe more people on the sidewalk would have on our city.
These are but a couple of theories I have on how society can be saved through walking and biking. Viva la Feet!
April Leigh submitted this commentary to NolaVie. Voices on Violence: Conversations about life in New Orleans is a NolaVie/WWNO series that features individual interviews with the city’s residents. If you would like to be interviewed, or to comment on the series, email email@example.com