WELCOME to “The Boulevard” —Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, a New Orleans Urban Main Street and Cultural District located in historic Central City, at the edge of New Orleans’ Central Business District and Superdome complex.
Since the late 1990s, the O. C. Haley Boulevard Merchants and Business Association (OCHMBA) has been the lead organization engaged in a strategic plan to revitalize the Boulevard. OCHMBA has facilitated significant investment for the corridor over the years, especially in the post-Katrina environment, and the Boulevard is poised to make a spectacular come-back.
Since hiring its first executive director in 2007, OCHMBA has strengthened existing businesses and organizations; developed financial and other resources; procured technical assistance and university partners to assist property owners with redevelopment; and recruited new businesses identified as desirable by the community’s residents.
Once a thriving mecca for New Orleans’ African-American community, Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, formerly known as Dryades Street, is on its way to once again become a beacon for culture, history and commerce—and so much more.
The Boulevard is home to cultural and business anchors such as Ashé Cultural Arts Center, Good Work Network and Café Reconcile. Other socially conscious organizations have made the Oretha Castle Haley Main Street commercial district home, like HOPE Community Credit Union, whose mission is to improve lives through wealth creation and access to financial resources in marginalized communities.
The corridor was renamed in the late 1980s for Oretha Castle Haley, a civil rights pioneer and Central City resident. Mrs. Haley was the founder of the New Orleans chapter of CORE, the Congress of Racial Equality, and dedicated her life to social justice issues including education and healthcare.
Today, new restaurants and other culture-oriented businesses are opening, and streetscape enhancements are underway, including markers of historic and culturally significant landmarks to complement the existing community art murals.