April 19, 2024 | From City of New Orleans

City of New Orleans Partners with UJAMAA Economic Development Corporation to Celebrate Completion of Claiborne Corridor Cultural Innovation District Marketplace

Claiborne Corridor


NEW ORLEANS — On Wednesday, April 17, the City of New Orleans joined Ujamaa Economic Development Corporation, to celebrate the completion of phase one of the Claiborne Cultural Innovation District (CID), “Backatown Plaza.” The CDI is an area underneath the I-10 expressway along North Claiborne Avenue between Toulouse Street and Orleans Avenue, and phase one stretches from Saint Louis Street to Orleans Avenue. This space is designed to serve as an economic and cultural haven for residents along the Claiborne Corridor.  

"The Claiborne Corridor Cultural Innovation Project is a reminder of a promise the City of New Orleans made, to rebuild and build back better, than she has been in generations," said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. "This project is 50 years in the making, and the City of New Orleans is righting wrongs of the past, in partnership with the New Orleans City Council. Lincoln Beach, Gordon Plaza, and now the Claiborne Corridor, are true examples of partnership. This is for us and let us demonstrate the love and respect we have for our community and one another through how we take care of our community." 

The $2.4 million Phase One portion of the project was funded by a generous grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Department of Economic Development (EDA), and City of New Orleans Bond Funds. Phase One known as, "Backatown Plaza” includes increased lighting for public safety, green infrastructure, stormwater management capabilities, vendor kiosks, and public restrooms. Through the Arts Council of New Orleans, murals of legendary New Orleanians were painted down the corridor. This space will serve as a marketplace on weekends where local vendors can sell their products. The netural ground portion will also serve as an educational and entertainment space for the residents spanning the entirety of the corridor. 

“This project will not only be transformational for the City of New Orleans and this neighborhood, but the entire country,” said Jorge Ayala, U.S. Dept. of Commerce, EDA Regional Director. “This project is an example for other communities around the nation who have similar issues, and we will continue to highlight this project as an inspiration. We are your strongest cheerleaders, and I look forward to the future phases of this project.”  

CID has overcome many hurdles since its inception during New Orleans’ Tricentennial celebration six years ago. The Claiborne Corridor Cultural Innovation District represents the historical legacy of the North Claiborne commercial corridor and the tenacity of this community, who had a vision to reimagine this space.  

“I have watched this project move and grow and adapt to the challenges,” said Senator Royce Duplessis, District 5. “I appreciate them staying true to community goals and being creative with often limited resources. I support the CID project, the beautification, the marketplace enhancements, and am proud to see our local people go after state and federal investment resources to make our city better.” 

“People use to come to New Orleans from all over because there was a black business corridor unlike any other in the country,” said Councilmember Eugene Green, District D. “Over 300 restaurants, insurance companies, and funeral homes filled this corridor, but that changed with the construction of this interstate. I am so pleased that we are bringing back that desire to come to this corridor. This is a historic day for the City of New Orleans, we are reversing that change and moving forward as a city.” 

“Being a community-led initiative, the CID just had to come to fruition,” said Nyree Ramsey, Executive Director, UJMAA Economic Development Corporation. “This is collaboration at work, this is a commitment to this community, and we are not going to let them down.” 

The CID celebration continues as the marketplace opens on April 20 and 21, from 11 a.m., to 7 p.m., with retail vendors, live music, and a variety of food vendors.  

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About the Claiborne Cultural Innovation District (CID) 

Funded in part by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration (EDA), the CID marketplace offers custom kiosks, green infrastructure for stormwater drainage, enhanced lighting for public safety and sewage connections, and convenience sinks for its vendors.  As a culture-based economic driver, the Claiborne Corridor Cultural Innovation District represents the historical legacy of the N. Claiborne commercial corridor and the transformational vision of community-led solutions. Backatown Plaza is Phase One of the project. For more details on the CCID MasterPlan, see here: 

Media Contact:  Malaika Moran or Micah Theodore,