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Streetcar Expansion Could Help Local Communities

The Loyola Avenue streetcar line is now operating from the Union Passenger Terminal at Howard Avenue to Canal Street. While much has been made of it serving merely to shuttle tourists to the Superdome, it could serve residents as well.

University of New Orleans history professor Michael Mizell-Nelson has studied the city’s streetcar system, and he says it provides a view of society and how it changes. At its height in the 1920s, the New Orleans streetcar system had more than two dozen lines.

The Loyola Avenue spur is only about a mile-and-a-half long, but Mizell-Nelson says it still has a significant impact.

“Since the cars can go all the way down to the foot of Canal Street, it will have greater purpose. I think it’s also going to allow things like the New Orleans Public Library to really shine again. People will go by it and I think it’s going to reawaken parts of that neighborhood for residents as well as visitors.”

The city has plans to extend the line up Rampart Street to Elysian Fields Avenue, but funding the line through to St. Claude Avenue is not yet in place.

Find out more on the history of the New Orleans streetcars in the stories section of New Orleans Historical.

Eileen is a news reporter and producer for WWNO. She researches, reports and produces the local daily news items. Eileen relocated to New Orleans in 2008 after working as a writer and producer with the Associated Press in Washington, D.C. for seven years.

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