Jan 9, 2024 - Business

12 New Orleans projects we're watching in 2024

Rendering shows people eating at picnic tables along the riverfront.

Audubon wants to build a riverfront park with places to gather and eat. Rendering: Courtesy of Audubon Nature Institute

New Orleans metro has another big year of projects planned, with a new hospital in the works, along with parks, a beach, hotels and and more.

Why it matters: We love shiny, new things.

Here are a few of the projects we're watching this year.

Ochsner Children's Hospital

Rendering shows the exterior of Ochsner Children's Hospital
The Gayle and Tom Benson Ochsner Children's Hospital is slated to open in 2027. Rendering: Ochsner

Ochsner plans to break ground this year on a standalone children's hospital on its Jefferson Highway campus, complete with a children-only emergency room.

  • The facility is expected to open in late 2027.

Zoom in: Gayle Benson donated an unspecified amount for the five-story building.

Six Flags redevelopment

Rendering shows a waterpark at the former Six Flags park in New Orleans
The master plan calls for an outdoor waterpark at the former Six Flags property. Rendering: Courtesy of Bayou Phoenix

Bayou Phoenix is moving forward with its $500 million plan to redevelop the abandoned Six Flags property in New Orleans East into sports fields, waterparks, hotels, restaurants and shops.

What's next: The New Orleans Redevelopment Authority signed a lease with Bayou Phoenix last year. A technical assessment and demolition work are expected next, Troy Henry of Bayou Phoenix previously told Axios New Orleans.

By the numbers: The developers are seeking about $100 million in government funding for the project they envision as a public-private partnership.

Lincoln Beach master plan

Mayor LaToya Cantrell was joined by Councilman Oliver Thomas and other dignitaries on Thursday, Nov. 30., 2023, to sign the contract for the Lincoln Beach master plan.  The photo shows them standing behind a podium with a sign about the master plan.
Mayor LaToya Cantrell was joined by Councilman Oliver Thomas and other dignitaries on Thursday, Nov. 30., 2023, to sign the contract for the Lincoln Beach master plan. Photo: Carlie Kollath Wells/Axios

A master plan for reopening Lincoln Beach is in the works.

Why it matters: Lincoln Beach, a historically important Black beach, will be the city's first public beach in decades once it reopens.

  • It will take several years before the full plan is implemented.

Meanwhile, the city is moving forward with a "quick open" plan to create safe access to the beach by 2025, says Cheryn Robles, the city's environmental affairs administrator in the Office of Resilience and Sustainability.

River District construction

Rendering shows a map of the projects involved in the River District in New Orleans
The River District includes a New Orleans headquarters for Shell. Rendering: Courtesy of River District Neighborhood Investors

Construction is underway on the River District near the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

  • The project will include Shell's new building, a Topgolf facility, greenspace, retail, at least one hotel and housing, writes Axios' Chelsea Brasted.

Audubon's Riverfront park

Rendering shows an open-facility called "The Wharves" on the Mississippi River in New Orleans
Audubon's plan includes places to gather and eat at a riverfront park. Rendering: Courtesy of Audubon Nature Institute

Audubon Nature Institute hopes to begin construction this year on a $30 million project called Riverfront for All that would create one of the country's longest contiguous riverfront parks.

  • It would convert the Governor Nicholls and Esplanade Avenue wharves into open-air spaces.
  • The project also will create a contiguous 2.25-mile walkable and bike-friendly park from Bywater to the Warehouse District, Audubon says.

Yes, but: Audubon had to secure the full funding for the project as of last summer, when the plans were submitted to the city.

Timing: The goal is to have a portion of the project done before New Orleans hosts the Super Bowl in February 2025, Audubon says.

Separately, Audubon Nature Institute will begin looking for a new CEO this year to replace Ron Forman, who is retiring after 50 years with the organization.

  • He's expected to step down at the end of the year.

Habitat for Humanity neighborhood

Rendering shows the Rising Oaks development in Terrytown
New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity will break ground in January on a large community called Rising Oaks in Terrytown. Rendering: Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity will break ground this month in Terrytown on a walkable community aimed at first-time homebuyers.

  • The neighborhood, called Rising Oaks, will have 150 energy-efficient homes plus mixed-used buildings, according to Habitat.

New Orleans-themed ride to open at Disney World

Image is a rendering of the inside of Tiana's Bayou Adventure ride with a critter band
"Tiana's Bayou Adventure" will be a log flume ride that lasts about nine to 10 minutes, complete with the famous splashdowns. Rendering: Courtesy of Disney

Disney is converting Splash Mountain into "Tiana's Bayou Adventure," an attraction that will highlight the company's first Black princess and be a "love letter to New Orleans."

  • The ride is set to open this year at Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California.

Zoom in: Chef Leah Chase inspired Princess Tiana and Disney has been working with the Chase family and other New Orleans culture bearers during the ride's development.

Harrah's hotel tower to open

Photo shows an aerial view of harrah's hotel in New Orleans.
An aerial view of Harrah's New Orleans Hotel and Casino in 2011. Photo: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Harrah's is expected to complete a $435 million project this year to expand, renovate and rebrand the casino, according to New Orleans & Co.

  • Some of the exterior branding has already changed to Caesars as of this month.

What's next: The 340-room hotel tower is expected to open later this year, along with upscale sushi restaurant Nobu.

Plaza Tower demolition

Photo shows Plaza Tower against a blue sky with clouds
Plaza Tower has been vacant for years. Photo: Infrogmation of New Orleans/Wikimedia Commons

Will city officials move forward with plans to demolish Plaza Tower, one of New Orleans' most prominent blighted properties?

  • Or, will the proposed sale go through and the city's oldest skyscraper return to life? Hopefully we'll see some progress either way this year.

New plan for City Park

Photo shows someone walking through City Park with live oaks towering over them
City Park leaders want to make it easier and safer for bicyclists and pedestrians to get around the park. Photo: Courtesy of City Park Conservancy

A new master plan for New Orleans City Park is expected in December.

  • The plan will focus on the northern half of the park: Couturie Forest, the golf courses, the lagoons and the acreage on the lakeside of Interstate 610.

Why it matters: About 16 million people visit the park annually, according to the City Park Conservancy, the nonprofit that oversees the park.

Clearview City Center making progress

Rendering shows the open-air concept for Clearview City Center
Clearview City Center is at the corner of Clearview Parkway and Veterans Memorial Boulevard in Metairie. Rendering: Courtesy of Greenleaf Architects

Metairie's Clearview City Center, the shopping center anchored by an always-busy Target, is in the middle of a $100 million renovation to convert the aging mall into an open-air shopping and dining destination.

  • A five-story, $55 million apartment complex called The Metro at Clearview is expected to open in May. Rents start around $1,500.

Giraffes return to Audubon Zoo

Photo shows a sign advertising the new giraffe experience coming to the zoo
The zoo has been renovating the giraffe habitat after the last of its four giraffes died in 2023. Photo: Carlie Kollath Wells/Axios

Audubon Zoo this year is expected to reopen the giraffe habitat, which has been empty since the last of the zoo's giraffes died in 2023.

Editor's note: This story was corrected to note the 2025 Super Bowl will be in February, not January.


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