A Conversation With New Orleans Designer, Planner, Teacher and Activist Amy Stelly

The Louisiana native explains how cities can heal the wounds of racist development—without accelerating gentrification.

"When I was a kid, I vowed to take it down with my bare hands," says Amy Stelly about the hulking concrete I-10 overpass that towers over Claiborne Avenue in New Orleans’s storied Treme neighborhood. Speaking with her today, it’s clear she’s never lost that determination. Stelly worked as an architectural designer on residential projects for Andrés Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk’s firm in Miami and later spent several years as an urban designer for the City of West Palm Beach. Since moving back to her family’s 100-year-old home in 2012, just a block and a half from the "bridge," as locals call the overpass, she has become a prominent and uncompromising voice calling for its demolition.

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