Press Park, Gordon Plaza and Liberty Terrace

Parish: Orleans Parish

The town home development Press Park, the neighborhood Gordon Plaza and the apartment complex Liberty Terrace were built in 1978 as part of a redevelopment project, championed by local politicians, aimed at helping to give low income African-American residents of New Orleans a piece of the American Dream. By 1986 residents began complaining of trash popping up through the soil in their yards and health problems. The developments had been built on the old Agriculture Street Landfill, a landfill for the City of New Orleans from 1909 to 1952 and that was reopened to dispose of waste from Hurricane Betsy in 1965 - 1966. In 1994 the area was put on the Superfund list by the EPA and a cleanup was conducted; removing contaminated soil, installing fabric barriers and placing new soil. However, the residents remained in place. Hurricane Katrina devastated the area, and its flooding is thought to have allowed contamination to seep to the surface. The town homes and apartment complex(which was being used as a retirement home) remain abandoned but most of the single family homes(Gordon Plaza) are currently occupied. Residents continue to search for resolution, including relocation, filing a federal lawsuit in 2018.

This atlas is a working document developed by community members in partnership with LEAN as they work toward resolving the challenges they face. This content is under construction and continues to be refined as new data is compiled and community situations evolve. Please excuse any errors or omissions. It is our hope that documentation of these struggles allows a greater opportunity to learn from them and, ultimately, to improve the lives of residents across Louisiana who face these significant challenges.