New Orleans, La. – The 75-hundred seat Municipal Auditorium has been closed since Hurricane Katrina. Mayor Ray Nagin and other are proposing a revamped facility devoted to culture and emerging artistic technologies. The general plan was unveiled at an event held at Dooky Chase's restaurant. Owner Leah Chase has signed on to develop a culinary institute in the building. Part-time New Orleanian musician Lenny Kravitz was on hand, and said his involvement is still being finalized.
But among the crowd was Leo Watermeier, representing about 20 residents who have formed a group called Friends of Armstrong Park in opposition to the development.
Watermeir says there has been little public input to the plan, and few details on funding.
The project is being driven by jazz authority and musician Irvin Mayfield, as well as Stewart Juneau, owner and developer of the Ritz-Carlton on Canal Street. Juneau promised a public meeting will be arranged at the park next month.
He and Watermeir said they will both be lobbying the City Council, which has not weighed in yet on the plans.