Editor’s Note: This year for GiveNola Day, we are focusing on our Hit List. These are the articles, columns, and pieces that citizens in New Orleans have loved throughout our 5 years as a non-profit. Scott Gold, our renowned food porn writer at NolaVie, always has a special angle when it comes to this city he has always called home. With wit and a great knowledge of history, he offers some possible name changes for the city’s streets at a time when monuments, streets, and changes were up for debate.
Recently, Mayor Mitch Landrieu made the controversial stand to remove various public monuments that many local citizens consider offensive, such as those commemorating Confederate General Robert E. Lee and President of the Confederacy Jefferson Davis. In that same vein, others wonder if we should continue to have prominent streets named after these people (Robert E. Lee Blvd. and Jefferson Davis Parkway, respectively).
Extending that logic, many of the streets and neighborhoods in New Orleans were named after slave-owners — or even slave-killers, such as Claude Treme — which might be considered offensive as well. If this slippery slope results in the re-designating of famous thoroughfares named after plantation owners like Bartholomew, Delachaise, Foucher, Burthe, Antonine, Dufossat, Valmont, Bellecastle, Robert, Soniat, Avart, Egania, Lizardi, Hurst, Roman, Eleanore, Joseph, Millaudon, Peniston, Poeyfarre, Villere, Clark, and Toledano (among others — thank you, Sally Asher, author of the edifying Hope and New Orleans: A History of Crescent City Street Names), we’re going to need some new street names.
Here, then, for your consideration, are some options of famous Louisianians (both real and fictional) we can use to rename our streets, and what kinds of streets those might turn out to be:
Allen Toussaint Way
Also known as “Lover’s Lane.” Excellent for making out.
Bobby Jindal Blvd.
Caution: Runs backward.
Mac “Dr. John” Rebennack Ave.
Street dedication ceremony to occur at the right place, wrong time.
William J. Jefferson St.
Leads directly to jail.
John Larroquette Court
Because we must NEVER FORGET “Night Court.”
Edwin Edwards Loop
A traffic circle: Promises to take you somewhere, just goes round and round, seemingly forever. Still, better than the alternative.
John Boutte Mews
A short street, but universally beloved.
Lafcadio Hearn Place
To be known for its Creole, Greek, Irish, French West Indian and Japanese restaurants.
David Vitter Ave.
Site of a red light district, but refuses to acknowledge itself as such.
James Michalopoulos Way
Beautiful, but contains dramatic bends.
George Rodrigue Drive
To include a popular dog park.
Ignatius Reilly Blvd.
Hot dog carts shall be placed variously throughout.
Al Copeland St.
Smells like fried chicken and biscuits for miles; no speed limits for exotic vehicles.
Captain Benjamin Sisko Way
To be installed in the 24th century, after the development of warp technology and the subsequent founding of the United Federation of Planets.
Harry Connick Jr. Promenade
Immaculately maintained, generally well-liked, and your mother absolutely adores it.
Walter Williams Place
It’s perfectly fine and safe to drive here for … OHHHHH NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
Chris Owens Ave.
Immediately repaired upon any visible signs of age. Also, great Latin restaurants here.
Mary Matalin St.
Turns very hard to the right.
James Carville St.
Turns very hard to the left. Also, kinda freaky-looking, but a whole lot of fun.
Josef Lascaux Road
The future site of various dental practices, and, ironically, cotton candy vendors.
Drew Brees Way
Straight as an arrow, with a Jimmy John’s on every corner.
Rickey Jackson Turnpike
You will not move forward on this street. Don’t even try.
What do you think? Further suggestions? Because, judging by the backgrounds of some of the people for whom this city named streets, we might well need more. A lot more.