Fresh Foods Market in Central City New Orleans

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Health Impact Project

Once a vibrant commercial corridor, the communities along Claiborne Avenue in the Central City neighborhood of New Orleans have suffered economic divestment since the 1960s. Because Claiborne is a major transportation and commercial artery, the corridor is slated for investment and redevelopment, and the Livable Claiborne Communities Initiative (LCC) would like to ensure that health is incorporated into all relevant decision-making.

To that end, the New Orleans Health Department, LCC, the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, and Alembic Community Development conducted an HIA on the redevelopment of the former Myrtle Banks School in Central City, which includes a 65,000-square-foot site with nearly 11,000 square feet of open space. The property was purchased with plans to rehabilitate and transform it into a fresh food store and collaborative office space for the surrounding community. The HIA sought to influence programming on the site to ensure that the redevelopment benefits the neighborhood.

Central City residents have above-average rates of chronic health conditions, such as diabetes. The assessment found that affordability and cleanliness influence where residents shop for food and issued the following recommendations to maximize the redeveloped site’s potential health benefits for the community:

  • Prioritize hiring of Central City residents at the fresh food store.
  • Offer neighborhood residents a discount on produce to increase affordability and encourage healthy food consumption.
  • Provide outdoor space for community gardens, play areas, picnics and barbecues, and opportunities to socialize.
  • Offer free cooking classes.

 The HIA team analyzed data from the Louisiana Public Health Institute and the Tulane University Prevention Research Center; gathered qualitative data through surveys, small group conversations, and key informant interviews; and conducted a systematic literature review.

This effort is part of the National Association of County and City Health Officials’ Health Impact Assessment Mentorship Project. The mentor is Lauren Gase of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.


This Health Impact Assessment Report first appeared in The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health. The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health was originally developed by the Health Impact Project, formerly a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts. The creation of this resource was supported by a grant from the Health Impact Project. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Pew Charitable Trusts, or the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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