New Orleans officials kicked off a renovation project to return the St. Roch Market into commerce. The historic building is considered an essential anchor to improve the neighborhood.
Rain moved the ceremony inside the market that’s been empty since Hurricane Katrina. And a downpour at the conclusion showed holes in the roof as evidence that work is sorely needed to refurbish the market, first built in 1875. Mayor Mitch Landrieu says the goal is to return the structure to offering fresh food and becoming a community gathering spot once again.
“This building is going to be a symbol of the rebirth of the city," said Landrieu. "It’s a $3.7 million repair. As you can look at this beautiful shell, it’s a wonderful renovation of an iconic, historic site. And this is what historic preservation, when it’s done the right way, really looks like.”
FEMA spokesman Joe Threat says the market on St. Claude Avenue is one of several projects getting under way.
“What you’re seeing right now is progress. We’ve still got a lot of work to do. But right now, we’re trying to catch up with a few years where we lost momentum.”
Officials say the market should be finished by next spring.