Community Member

Claiborne Avenue Alliance

New Orleans, Louisiana

Looming over the historically rich Tremé neighborhood in New Orleans, the Claiborne Expressway section of Interstate 10 casts an ugly shadow. Once known for its grand oaks and azaleas, and bustling arts and business scene, North Claiborne Avenue is in crisis. Neighborhoods flood from toxic highway runoff, houses shake from the thundering trucks nearby, walls are covered in diesel particulate matter, and residents worry about their health living next to an urban highway. Claiborne Avenue Alliance (CAA) was founded in 2017 to restore and rebuild its predominantly African American working-class community by advocating for improved environmental, social, and public health conditions. CAA’s mission is to address these issues through initiatives such as conducting environmental studies and public health analyses. Ultimately, CAA seeks to reclaim the once vibrant community that was destroyed by the construction of the highway.

This video was produced by the Congress for the New Urbanism and tells the history of Claiborne Avenue.

Over 400 mature trees provided shaded walkways and neighborhood gathering spots in the wide median of North Claiborne Avenue until it was replaced in the 1960s by the Interstate. As a child growing up in its shadow, Amy Stelly told herself she would take down the highway someday. Today Stelly, an urban planner, leads CAA. The group has met with the Louisiana congressional delegation and City Council members, held citywide community meetings and input sessions, conducted a campaign to Bring Claiborne Back! and partnered with Thriving Earth Exchange and LSU School of Public Health to conduct a survey of I-10 neighborhoods to determine the extent and impacts of the highway’s pollution. More recently, CAA has inspired the founding of a nonprofit design firm, The Claiborne Avenue Alliance Design Studio, that is active in planning how to rebuild in ways that improve longtime residents’ quality of life. Anticipated elements include flood water drainage, mass transportation options, and greenspace in addition to historic restoration and a commercial corridor.

The Claiborne Avenue Alliance, in cooperation with the Thriving Earth Exchange, the LSU School of Public Health and Public Lab conducted a comprehensive study of the environmental and health impacts of the I-10 corridor.

For more information:

A New Orleans neighborhood confronts the racist legacy of a toxic stretch of highway – North Country Public Radio, December 2023

‘A devastation’: How infamous expressway sliced NOLA neighborhood in half – The Tulane Hullabaloo, October 2023

She grew up in the shadow of the Claiborne overpass. Now she wants it gone. –, March 2023

A divide over how to heal a community divided by a highway – Marketplace, March 2023

Episode 54: Over the Overpass – Activist Says It’s Time to Remove the Claiborne Expressway – Biz New Orleans, May 2021

A2 Staff

A2 Staff

This profile was compiled by a dedicated team of staff members who conducted interviews and gathered information from various outlets, including news articles, social media, and other sources.


Amy Stelly


Social Media

Climate Impacts

Air Pollution, Flooding, Water Contamination


Fighting Industrial Contamination, Halting Bad Development, Nature-Based Solutions

501c3 Tax Deductible


Accepting Donations