St. Roch, New Orleans

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Coordinates: 29°59′06″N 90°03′13″W / 29.98500°N 90.05361°W / 29.98500; -90.05361
St. Roch
New Orleans Neighborhood
StRochsCampoSantoArch.jpg
The Shrine and Cemetery of Saint Roch gave the neighborhood its name
Country United States
State Louisiana
City New Orleans
Planning District District 7, Bywater District
Elevation 0 ft (0 m)
Coordinates 29°59′06″N 90°03′13″W / 29.98500°N 90.05361°W / 29.98500; -90.05361
Area 1.25 sq mi (3.2 km2)
 - land 1.25 sq mi (3 km2)
 - water 0.00 sq mi (0 km2), 0%
Population 3,255 (2010)
Density 2,604 / sq mi (1,005 / km2)
Timezone CST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Area code 504

St. Roch is a neighborhood of the U.S. city of New Orleans. A subdistrict of the Bywater District Area, its boundaries as defined by the City Planning Commission are: Lafreniere Street, Paris Avenue, I-610, Benefit Street and Dahlia Walk to the north, People's Avenue and Almonaster Avenue to the east, St. Claude Avenue to the south and Elysian Fields Avenue, Hope, Frenchmen, Duels, St. Anthony, Industry, Allen, and Agriculture Streets, A.P. Tureaud Avenue, Abundance, Republic, Treasure and Dugue Streets, Florida Avenue and St. Bernard Avenue to the west.

History[edit]

The city of New Orleans was founded by the French in the 1700s, ruled for 40 years by the Spanish, and declared territory of the United States of America in 1803 with the Louisiana Purchase.[1] New Orleans is known for its Creole culture and history. This association came under the Spanish rule starting in 1763 that allowed for a free people of color or the gens de colour. Being near many waterways, New Orleans was able to easily import and export goods to and from the Caribbean, South America, and Europe. With New Orleans still striving as a main city, many neighborhoods within the area began to develop as people migrated to the most promising areas.

One of these neighborhoods that began to develop and come into play was the St. Roch neighborhood. Originally called Faubourg Franklin, the neighborhood began to develop in 1830 when the Pontchartrain Railroad connected the Faubourg Marigny with the settlement of Milneburg on the lake.[2] “The area has a proud history as home to one of the country’s largest populations of free people of color before the civil war” GNOCDC. By the 20th century, St. Roch had grown considerably with new technologies of sewage and water services. By the late 1920s, St. Roch was considered a “low-key”, serene, racially mixed residential section of New Orleans.[2]

The early St. Roch had many recreational aspects. A huge baseball field is remembered for its many baseball enthusiasts such as, George Davis[disambiguation needed] and many more. St. Roch was also known for its blacksmith shops, dairies, and small farms. Being a racially diverse area, St. Roch was once home to many Creole and black families which led to private schools being founded in the area for the children.

Although the neighborhood has lost some of its diversity - now being prominently African American because of construction of the splitting I-10 interstate - the neighborhood is home to Independence Square and the St. Roch Playground, which was renamed the Harold Sampson Jr., St. Roch Playground in honor of the late coach of the New Orleans recreation department. One known aspect associated with the St. Roch neighborhood is the St. Roch Market,[2] a fish market that is responsible for serving some of the best gumbo and po-boys in the city.

St. Roch got its current name in 1867 with the dedication of the St. Roch shrine and cemetery. In 1867 as the Yellow fever epidemic was on the rise, a German priest, Rev. Peter Leonard Thevis, arrived in New Orleans, turning to St. Roch, the patron of good health. Promising that if no one in the parish died from the epidemic, he would build a chapel in honor of the Saint, Rev. Thevis brought healing to the community - nobody from the Holy Trinity died from the fever in either epidemics of 1867 and 1878. To give his thanks Thevis built a chapel as a shrine, and a cemetery as the resting place for his followers. The St. Roch shrine, cemetery and chapel has served as a landmark and place for many New Orleanians to continue traditions.

Geography[edit]

St. Roch is located at 29°59′06″N 90°03′13″W / 29.98500°N 90.05361°W / 29.98500; -90.05361 [3] and has an elevation of 0 feet (0.0 m).[4] According to the United States Census Bureau, the district has a total area of 1.25 square miles (3.2 km2). 1.25 square miles (3.2 km2) of which is land and 0.00 square miles (0.0 km2) (0.0%) of which is water.

St. Roch is part of the district of the Bywater. In the early years of St. Roch, the boundaries were never clearly defined. As time went on, the city of New Orleans placed clear boundaries on the neighborhood. The City Planning Commission now defines the boundary of St. Roch using several streets which include Elysian Fields (west), St. Claude Avenue (south), Franklin Avenue (east), and Florida Avenue (north). In the past, citizens knew of the whereabouts of the western, eastern, and southern boundaries; however, it was not until recent years that the city clearly defined a northern boundary for this neighborhood. Some of the neighborhoods that surround this neighborhood are Gentilly Terrace, St. Claude, Faubourg Marigny, and the 7th Ward of New Orleans. Also, the I-10, the most frequented highway in this city, cuts right through the heart of this neighborhood. According to the United States Census Bureau, “this district has a total areas of 1.25 square miles.” All of these square miles are on land which means that St. Roch does not have any bodies of water in its boundaries. St. Roch is home to several landmarks which includes parks and churches. The most famous of these locations are the St. Roch Park, the St. Roch Market, and the St. Roch Church and Cemetery. Both of these played an important role in the creation of the neighborhood. These landmarks and their importance to the establishment of St. Roch will be further discussed in the Landmarks section of this page.[2][5]

Adjacent neighborhoods[edit]

Boundaries[edit]

The City Planning Commission defines the boundaries of St. Roch as these streets: Lafreniere Street, Paris Avenue, I-610, Benefit Street, Dahlia Walk, People's Avenue, Almonaster Avenue, St. Claude Avenue, Elysian Fields Avenue, Hope Street, Frenchmen Street, Duels Street, St. Anthony Street, Industry Street, Allen Street, Agriculture Street, A.P. Tureaud Avenue, Abundance Street, Republic Street, Treasure Street, Dugue Street, Florida Avenue and St. Bernard Avenue.[6]

Landmarks[edit]

St. Roch Market

The St. Roch neighborhood of New Orleans has many landmarks that can be considered to hold significant historical value. One of the older landmarks of St. Roch is the market in the neighborhood known simply as the St. Roch Market. It was built in 1875 as an open-air market on St. Claude Avenue and began to struggle by the time the Great Depression had came around. During 1903, it was valued at only 2,000. By the 1930s, the city owned market was cited for demolition because the building was in disrepair. In response to this, the residents of the area protested heavily in order to stop the city from tearing down the market. Their protests worked and in 1932, San Stone Jr. & Co. was issued to renovate the market. These renovations included full enclosures, refrigeration, and plumbing.

The market was further improved in 1937 by the Works and Progress Administration. It was later turned over to private ownership and housed Lama’s Seafood Market for several years. The market was doing well, selling fresh seafood for years and having one portion used as a restaurant at the Chinese immigrants who operated it desires until it was practically destroyed in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina. The interior and exterior of the building were damaged significantly due to the tropical cyclone’s brutal nature. Years after the destruction, the city of New Orleans began their attempts to rebuild the market, and restore it to its previous state or beyond that.

In recent times, the market underwent a $3.7-million renovation. These renovations were expected to be finished by the end of March[when?] and would extend beyond the market’s backdoor and on the St. Roch neutral ground. The restoration includes roofing replacing, exterior masonry repair, and replacement of electrical, plumbing, and mechanical systems. The flooring of the market would also be replaced as well as the exterior doors, interior doors, and windows. Businessmen from several different companies came together to create St. Roch Community Partners Inc. and made it known that they had an idea for the St. Roch market. They wanted to use a dozen stalls in order to provide space so local vendors could sell their fresh foods along with kitchen staples at affordable prices. They would also like to open a restaurant in the back of the market. They have a non-profit structure for the market and would invest revenues into the market themselves for things such as maintenance. The goal the group is trying to achieve is to create a market that will be open six days a week where residents of the St. Roch neighborhood and the surrounding area could go buy both seasonal local produce.

Cemetery/chapel[edit]

The St. Roch chapel is located in a cemetery. It is filled with prosthetics and the crutches of those who visited the chapel to ask St. Roch for help with their disease or deformities. People would come to the chapel and leave behind things such as eyeballs. Their reason for leaving these crutches and prosthetics is to show a sign of gratitude to St. Roch.

Schools/education[edit]

The St. Roch neighborhood is home to the Our Lady Star of the Sea School. It is a private, catholic institution with the majority of its students being of African American descent.

Demographics[edit]

As of the census of 2000, there were 11,975 people, 4,336 households, and 2,885 families residing in the neighborhood.[7] The population density was 9,580 /mi² (3,742 /km²).

As of the census of 2010, there were 6,632 people, 2,604 households, and 1,505 families residing in the neighborhood.[7]

Although it was once a racially diverse neighborhood, the majority of the l population of St. Roch is African American. The total area of is 1.255 square miles with a population of 6,575 with 5,239 individuals being African American based off the 2011 census. The population consisted of 3,097 males and 3,478 females; with the median age of males being 34.7 and females 39.5. The average household size is 2.3 people with the percentage of family households being 34.4%. The percentage of married families is 19.6% while the percentage of married families with children is 17.7% and the percentage of single mother households is a significantly larger 39.0%. Percentage of never married males 15 years and older in the area is 24.8% while the percentage of never married females 15 years and older is 30.2%. Although most of St. Roch is African American, there is 1.1% of the population that do not speak English well or at all. The percentage of individuals that live in St. Roch and were born in New Orleans is 87.8%, with foreign born residents being 2.6% of the St. Roch population. The education attainment of the neighborhood fluctuates as the level of education increases. The percentage of residents that achieved less that an high school education is 42.3%. Residents that achieve a high school education or equivalent is 8.5%, less than one year of college is 6.6%, 1 or more years of college is 12.1%, percentage of residents that have an associates degree stands at a 2.3%, bachelor degree is at 6.9%, residents who have a masters degree is 9.6% professional degrees stand at a 9.6% as well, and residents who have attained a doctorates degree in the area is at 2.2%.[8]

Recent developments[edit]

thumbnail raising several millions of dollars to renovate most of the landmarks in the neighborhood. They have already spent over $3 million working on the St. Roch Market which is not done yet. The St. Roch Market was originally devastated by the flood waters of Hurricane Katrina, but in July 2012, Mayor Mitch Landrieu initiated the remodeling of the abandoned marketplace. Hurricane Katrina did plenty of structural damage to the building and the foundation itself. This damage had to be repaired before the contractors could begin remodeling the structure. Also, the electrical and plumbing systems had to be replaced, because they were severely damaged by the flood waters. The market was originally opened in 1875, and it was where farmers went to sell their fresh fruits and vegetables. Over the years, farmers have stopped going to the market to sell their good; other vendors such as crawfish sellers and po-boy makers have taken their place. When the remodeling process is over, the marketplace will be left as an empty building with several stalls, so it can be used to house a variety vendors, offices, and maybe even a cafe. The newly renovated marketplace will also feature an art walk which guide visitors to the St. Rock Park. As the remodeling process commences, the city of New Orleans is also holding several meetings to see who will run the marketplace once it is complete.[9][10]

The city of New Orleans is also trying to are also trying to revitalize the St. Roch Park which has become desolate and bare in recent years. During the months after Hurricane Katrina, the park was converted into a parking lot which housed FEMA trailers. After the FEMA trailers were removed, this once beautiful park was left abandoned. However, in early 2013, Mayor Landrieu cleared almost $2 million to renovate the park and return it to its original glory. On July 1, 2013, the Mayor Landrieu led a ribbon cutting ceremony which officially reopened the park. The St. Roch park now possess a new baseball diamond and a repaved basketball court. There will also have organized sports leagues for all ages; these leagues will include football, basketball, baseball, and cheerleading. The park also hosts several activities such as Zumba and CrossFit to help people stay active.[11][12]

St. Roch was once a beautiful and welcoming neighborhood. However, after having the I-10 built right through the center of it and being hit by one of the worst hurricanes this city has seen, St. Roch experienced a period of great decline. The wind and flood waters from Hurricane Katrina damaged most of the structures in the neighborhood. The City of New Orleans has begun several projects to repair the damage done to this neighborhood by Hurricane Katrina. The majority of these projects involve cleaning up this neighborhood and ridding it of the debris left by Hurricane Katrina. The City plans on repaving the roads in St. Roch because the flood waters left the pavement uneven with countless potholes. There are also organization such St. Roch CDC which are helping to restore old buildings in the neighborhood. The organization has already helped restore several old houses and office buildings in the last few years. Also, the City of New Orleans has hired landscapers to plant flowers and trees through the neighborhood in an attempt to return this neighborhood to its original state of beauty.[13][14]

The city is also doing everything in its power to help reduce the amount of crime that neighborhood has been experiencing recently. In the last few years, the amount of crime and murders in this neighborhood has increased greatly. Many people do not let their children go play at the St. Roch park because of the amount of violence happening in the area lately. Many are also confused as to what has caused this recent increase in violence. The NOPD has finally decided it is time to work on reducing the amount of crime in this area. They have teamed up with other law agency to try and find any pattern of violence or anything that can link these crimes together. They have also increased police detail in the area to try and prevent any criminal actions from taking place. They are not having much success, but the citizens of this neighborhood still have hope that one day the amount of crime in this area will decrease.[15]

The population of St. Roch has decreased by 56 percent between 2000 and 2010. Most of the houses in this area are vacant. Many of the residents of this neighborhood moved out after evacuating for Hurricane Katrina. The City of New Orleans believes that by restoring and cleaning up this neighborhood, people will want to return. The city is also in the process of performing slight restoration some other landmarks in the neighborhood. The city has decided to clean up the St. Roch Firehouse and the St. Roch Cemetery and Chapel.[16]

Politics[edit]

The St. Roch neighborhood is in District 7/Bywater district. The Senator of District 7 is David Heitmeier. The Bywater district is located along the Mississippi River down from the French Quarter and the Faubourg Marigny. Its boundaries are a bit unclear. People of the New Orleans area usually describe the area as being bordered by the St. Claude Avenue, the Industrial Canal, and Press Street. The bywater district is also known as the Upper Ninth Ward.

New Orleans is also in the 2nd Congregational district. Representative Cedric Richmond represents this district. Richmond began serving as representative in 2011, and is to serve until 2015. US Senator Mary Landrieu is from the Democratic party; she was elected in 1997 and is to serve until 2015. Senator David Vitter is for the Republican Party; he was elected in 2005 and is to serve until 2017.[17]

Mitchell J. Landrieu holds the office of New Orleans mayor. He was sworn in as the 61st Mayor of New Orleans on May 3, 2010. As Mayor, Mitchell Landrieu has worked to make the city safer environment for its residents by creating reforms to reduce murders. The Mayor also created the New Orleans Business Alliance in order to enhance the New Orleans economy. Mayor Landrieu revealed a five-year plan called Prosperity NOLA that targets five sectors to drive economic growth.[18]

The governor of Louisiana is Bobby Jindal. Born in 1971, Governor Bobby Jindal became interested in politics while attending Brown University. Governor Jindal continued his education at Oxford University where he went on to study health care systems. Jindal began later working for the state of Louisiana. In 2001, Jindal became the assistant secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services for former President George W. Bush. In 2007, Jindal made history for being the first Indian American to be elected as governor in the United States of America.[19]

See also[edit]

References[edit]