Board Member Amy Stelly Recognized Internationally

2015: Underneath the Claiborne Expressway, which looms over the historic Tremé neighborhood. Photo credit: Christine Carlo, Tulane School of Architecture

The Urban Conservancy’s Amy Stelly has been fighting for the removal of the Claiborne Expressway since she moved back home to Tremé nearly a decade ago. Stelly has been struggling to get the support of local leaders for some time, but on Wednesday there was a promising development: the White House named the Claiborne Expressway an example of historic inequity that President Biden’s new infrastructure plan looks to address.

“It’s the same in many Black communities, not only in Louisiana,” Stelly said. “It’s great the federal government and this administration is recognizing that this is something that must be corrected if we are to be fair and just in America.”

Support in Washington for taking down highways or mitigating problems they caused has grown in recent years. Senate Democrats included $10 billion for highway removal in an economic justice bill introduced late last year.

“We can’t remove highways in neighborhoods that would otherwise have been very desirable and leave it to the real estate market to govern,” Stelly said. “The people of Tremé should have the right to return when it’s beautiful.”

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