An agreement reached between the city of New Orleans and the state paves the way to move City Hall to Duncan Plaza, according to a press release .
The swap was authorized by state legislation passed in the 2023 Regular Legislative Session (ACT 313) and signed by Governor John Bel Edwards this summer. Following this authorization – the City of New Orleans, Civil District Court judges and the State of Louisiana continued negotiations through the summer.
The deal was negotiated by the New Orleans Building Corporation, Civil District Court judges, Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration and the New Orleans City Council and ttransfers the balance of the property on Duncan Plaza to the City in exchange for the Civil District Court site and the surface parking lot behind current City Hall.
“After years of negotiations, I am proud to announce that the City of New Orleans has reached an agreement with the State of Louisiana for a property exchange that would place all of Duncan Plaza under the city’s control for the first time in decades,” Mayor LaToya Cantrell said in a statement. “Since I was first sworn in as mayor in 2018, my goal has been for the city to regain ownership of Duncan Plaza on behalf of the residents of New Orleans. I am grateful for all the partners at the local and state level that came to the table to make a fair deal, allowing the city to utilize this central location in the heart of downtown. This exchange presents exciting development opportunities that will benefit the city, residents and the business community for years to come.”
The land swap puts Duncan Plaza back under city control, but must be approved by the City Planning Commission and the New Orleans City Council.
“We would have never reached this agreement without the teamwork between Governor Edwards’ Administration, the Civil District Court judges, the Cantrell Administration, the NOBC and the City Council. This was truly a team effort and took everyone’s dedication to bring home,” City Council Vice President Helena Moreno said in a statement. “It has long been in the city’s interest to unite the divided Duncan Plaza site, and due to the complexity involved, many doubted it could ever be done. Yet, thanks to the cooperation and commitment of our partners, we can proudly announce this important site will be transferred to the people of New Orleans.”
A state office building and the former Supreme Court building occupied nearly half of Duncan Plaza for years, although both buildings have been demolished in the past two decades. Since those demolitions, the land directly across Perdido Street from the current City Hall has sat vacant but under state ownership.
“The agreement is a tremendous win for all parties and secures the whole of centrally located Duncan Plaza for future city use,” said NOBC Board Chair Tracie Boutte.
Several state lawmakers are calling the deal a win for the city and state, as well.
“I am proud to have carried the legislation that made this agreement possible,” State Rep. Candace Newell said in the statement. “This deal is a win-win for the people of New Orleans and Louisiana alike.”
And in the printed statement, State Sen. Royce Duplessis said “This agreement ensures that our city and state governments and Civil District Court all have room to grow right in the heart of our city. This is a prime example of what city-state government collaboration should look like.”