The William J. Fischer Housing Development, better known as the Fischer Projects, was a project housing development in New Orleans, Louisiana, in the United States. It was the last conventional public housing development constructed in New Orleans and originally consisted of a 13-floor high-rise and fourteen 3-floor units. The area has been undergoing redevelopment since about 2004 and currently none of the original low-rise buildings remain. The development is located along Whitney Avenue in the Algiers area of the city's west bank, which is part of the 15th Ward and is named for William J. Fischer who served as chairman of HANO in the 1950s. The property is now converted to a small low-income housing development.
The Fischer Projects opened in 1965 on 48 acres (190,000 m2) of land adjacent to the Mississippi River Bridge and it approach roads. The development was isolated from other West Bank communities by the bridge, the Donner Canal and a Southern Pacific Railroad line. The 14 low-rise buildings were built in long parallel lines and positioned using the scattered site method resulting in large park areas covering approximately 60% of the 48-acre (190,000 m2) site. A 13-story high-rise building was constructed in 1966 and served as housing for the elderly. Upon completion of the high-rise, the development had a total of 1002 units. The development also included Murray Henderson Elementary School, constructed in 1965 and William J. Fischer Elementary School which opened in 1967. Over the years, the development became rundown and saw a rise in violent crime similar to other public housing developments in New Orleans and around the country.
Redeveloped into low-income housing
Starting in the early 2000s, HANO began planning a redevelopment of the complex. These plans included expanding the site to 73 acres (300,000 m2) by acquiring adjacent properties, phased demolition of the high-rise and low-rise housing units, and construction of at least 640 new housing units. Additionally, the plans included a new community for elderly residents, a community center and playgrounds.
The Fischer high-rise was imploded on January 25, 2004, drawing large crowds as New Orleans' first demolition by implosion. Replacing the highrise were numerous low-income houses.
Demolition of the last three low-rise buildings began in January 2008 as part of a $1.2 million project to remove the vacant buildings and construct the infrastructure necessary for redeveloping the area. Plans for this stage of redevelopment call for construction of approximately 70 homes and 26 rental units, most of which are intended for public housing and Section 8 residents.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,034 people, 506 households, and 425 families residing in the neighborhood.
As of the census of 2010, there were 849 people, 269 households, and 171 families residing in the neighborhood.
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