Under construction

Published 7:56 am Sunday, March 10, 2013

Louisiana Avenue has been closed to traffic this week as a major transformation, which could give a glimpse of the Bogalusa to come, gets under way.

While development continues at Cassidy Park, where a splash area and more are in the works, and numerous other projects are in process throughout the city, the work on Louisiana Avenue is expected to provide an immediate upgrade in the appearance of Bogalusa.

But the changes are more than cosmetic. Mayor Charles Mizell said parking spaces in the area should double, and that he hopes the project encourages the restaurants and other businesses in the area to also make upgrades.

“We hope to excite some to spend money on their buildings,” he said. “We need a show place.”

In fact, the city plans to bring in a professional on color and architectural design to offer suggestions.

The basic project involves the restructuring of one block of Louisiana Avenue between Masonic Drive and Memphis Street, in front of the old Charity Hospital.

In keeping with the general city determination to fix any underlying problems before making surface-level changes, drainage upgrades are under way.

According to the plans, a brick walkway and planted seating area, with angled parking on both sides, will run down the center of the street. The space will include tables and benches, lighting, trees and shrubbery, and a spot for flags and banners.

Mizell said that, before the project is completed, there will also be sidewalks and angled parking on both sides of the street in that block, as well as in the center. Parking will be eliminated on Louisiana Avenue between Memphis and Austin streets, he added.

The work is expected to be done within a couple of months.

Mizell, who said that planning is a vital but time consuming part of any project, is looking forward to seeing the finished product.

“This is for the whole of the city,” he said. “It’s not only about architecture, it’s about economy.”