New Orleans Rebuilds Five Public Libraries

Nancy Anderson
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After Hurricane Katrina devastated much of the Gulf coast, rebuilding in the region has been under severe scrutiny, with concerns being raised about prioritization and funding of projects. One project, however, that we can agree will benefit the city of New Orleans for years to come is the construction of five new libraries in the city, modernizing the public library system, and offering newly-enhanced services to the communities they serve.

The new libraries replace buildings that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) determined were more than fifty percent damaged by the storm, making them eligible for complete demolition and replacement. The libraries each are designed around a theme -- Music, Community, Wellness, Neighborhood, and Technology/Innovation. All of the new branches offer Wireless HotSpots, community meeting rooms, and computers for public use.

The construction contracts were awarded jointly to Gibbs Construction of New Orleans, and the architectural firms of Lee Ledbetter & Associates of New Orleans and Gould Evans Associates of Kansas City, MO. The city hopes to have four of the five new libraries completed by September of 2011, despite some construction delays, including zoning and land acquisitions hurdles.

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Mike Wrightly is mostly diesel fumes and duct tape; he grew up around heavy equipment, and holds a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering.

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