New Orleans Traffic: Then and Now

Our how-to today is inspired by A traffic survey of New Orleans metropolitan area, 1944-1945. This report located in the stacks of our Special Collections & Archives was produced in a time before I-10 existed and when the main airport for New Orleans was located on Lake Pontchartrain.

Be you on foot, driving a car, biking or taking a city bus… Traffic (and getting stuck in it), is (and was) inevitable. Whether it’s the junction of I-10 and 90 around the New Orleans landmark, the Superdome, trying to get ANYWHERE during Mardi Gras or navigating the overcrowding of cars and shoppers on Magazine Street…. Everybody gets stuck in traffic.

These days we have traffic information available on our smartphones that automatically re-route us based on real-time geolocation data. In 1944,  these were the results of the timely endeavor of gathering and mapping traffic patterns…

Versus the ease of getting the flow of traffic this morning…

So, how did traffic flow in 1944 New Orleans?

Here is what car traffic looked like…

And transit based traffic…

Currently, a section of I-10 called the Claiborne Expressway is on a list of Freeways Without Futures with active proposals seeking its removal.

This area was once a thriving commercial area and greenbelt that became decentralized through the bisecting of the neighborhood by the interstate.

“Claiborne Avenue: Past, Present, and Future” from Congress for the New Urbanism on Vimeo.

Good luck getting around and a here’s a lagniappe of Ringo Star making sure you take the time to stop and smell the roses!

A traffic survey of New Orleans metropolitan area, 1944-1945 is available for viewing at the Special Collections and Archives, Monday – Friday from 9:00 – 4:30.

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