Calliope Projects

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B.W. Cooper Housing Development

Calliope Housing Projects
CP3, Da Calliope
B.W. Cooper Housing Development is located in Louisiana
B.W. Cooper Housing Development
B.W. Cooper Housing Development
Coordinates: 29°57′02″N 90°05′32″W / 29.95056°N 90.09222°W / 29.95056; -90.09222Coordinates: 29°57′02″N 90°05′32″W / 29.95056°N 90.09222°W / 29.95056; -90.09222
CountryUnited States
CityNew Orleans
Police DistrictDistrict 6, Central City
 • Total0.30 sq mi (0.8 km2)
 • Land0.30 sq mi (0.8 km2)
 • Water0.00 sq mi (0.0 km2)
0 ft (0 m)
 • Total1,100
 • Density3,700/sq mi (1,400/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
Area code(s)504

The Calliope Projects, also known as B. W. Cooper Public Housing Development, was a neighborhood of the city of New Orleans and one of the housing projects of New Orleans. This project of New Orleans gained notoriety for its extremely high violent crime rate and was known to be one of the most violent housing projects in the United States. It was completely demolished in 2014 and replaced with newer, mixed-income apartment buildings.


Officially called the B. W. Cooper apartments, the Calliope Projects (pronounced by New Orleans natives as KAL-ee-ope or sometimes KAL-lee-oh) is one of the Housing Projects of New Orleans located in Central City, New Orleans. There are 1,546 units on 56 acres (230,000 m2) of land (or 24 city blocks.) The project was built between 1939 and 1941. The original boundaries were South Dorgenois, Erato, Calliope (now Earhart Boulevard) and South Prieur Streets. In 1941, rents ran from $8.25 a month for a one bedroom apartment to $22.00 a month for a three bedroom. Until the projects were built, the buildings in the neighborhood were one- or two-story wooden shot-gun structures for the most part. The projects were sturdily made of brick with iron grill trimmings and manicured lawns. The floor plans of the project apartments allowed for more privacy for bedrooms than the traditional neighborhood residences. During the Calliope's early days, it was considered a means for working-class families to live comfortably, while saving up the funds to purchase their own homes. St. Monica's Catholic Church and School were considered anchors of the neighborhood, along with the local public schools like Booker T. Washington High School. Along with a steady stream of outstanding musicians, the neighborhood produced educators, including a Superintendent of Orleans Parish Schools, and politicians, who served city and state government. there were 690 apartments in the original development. In 1949, a gymnasium was added at Broad and Calliope Streets. In 1954, a twelve block expansion added 860 new units. The expansion pushed the western boundary of the Calliope back two blocks from Erato Street to Melpomene Avenue (now Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard).In May 1981, the Calliope was renamed the B.W. Cooper Apartments. Mr. Cooper worked for the Housing Authority of New Orleans for 33 years and served on several civic and social organizations until his death in 1974.


Since the early 1980s, rival drug dealing street gangs have operated in & around the Calliope area, spawning what the law enforcement community in New Orleans called "a seemingly nonstop cycle of retaliatory violence." According to NOPD the violence escalated into an high beginning of the early 1990's. After drug kingpin Sam "Sculley" Clay was gunned down in the Calliope in 1987 the drug trade spiraled out of control in a war over the drug trade in that area. From 1993-2004 88 people have been killed in the calliope.[1] In 1994 the Calliope Projects was the bloodiest housing project in Uptown New Orleans[2] and the United States. The drug trade and subsequent violence from it were two of the primary reasons New Orleans was nicknamed the "Murder Capital of the United States" (a dubious, year-end title given to the city in the U.S. with the highest per capita homicide rate - murders for every 1,000 people - the previous year) throughout the early & mid 1990s.[3]


In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, most of Calliope was closed and slated for demolition. In January 2007, a small section of the Calliope was reopened to residents. The development was completely demolished in 2014.[4] A "newer" BW Cooper development was opened in 2012, and was renamed Marrero Commons. With 175 units, it was named for Yvonne Marrero, a community leader and former president of the Cooper Resident Management Corporation.[5]


The Calliope Projects were located at 29°57′02″N 90°05′32″W / 29.95056°N 90.09222°W / 29.95056; -90.09222 [6] and have an elevation of 0 feet (0.0 m).[7] This is in the 2nd Ward. According to the United States Census Bureau, the district had a total area of 0.30 square miles (0.8 km2). 0.30 square miles (0.8 km2) of which is land and 0.00 square miles (0.0 km2) (0.0%) of which is water.


The City Planning Commission defines the boundaries of the B. W. Cooper neighborhood as: Pontchartrain Expressway, South Claiborne Avenue, Martin Luther King Boulevard and South Broad Street.[8]


As of the census of 2000, there were 4,339 people, 1,421 households, and 1,139 families residing in the neighborhood.[9] The population density was 14,463 /mi² (5,424 /km²).

As of the census of 2010, there were 806 people, all black, 318 households, and 181 families residing in the neighborhood.[9]

Notable residents[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ A Battle Without End
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ B.W. Cooper housing site's slow march to rebirth reaches finish line
  5. ^ B.W. Cooper housing site's slow march to rebirth reaches finish line
  6. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  7. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  8. ^ Greater New Orleans Community Data Center. "B.W. Cooper Apartments Neighborhood". Retrieved 2008-06-21.
  9. ^ a b "B.W. Cooper Apartments Neighborhood". Greater New Orleans Community Data Center. Archived from the original on 2012-06-10. Retrieved 5 January 2012.
  10. ^ Golianopoulos, Thomas (6 August 2016). "The Missed Shot That Was Master P's NBA Career". Complex. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
  11. ^ Pareles, Jon (13 September 2007). "Willie Tee, New Orleans Musical Innovator, Dies at 63". New York Times. Retrieved 29 May 2017.