Local Woman Throws Birthday Party for an Entire Year of Road Construction in Front of Her Home

Natalie Naquin Harvey was frustrated when she took to Facebook. It had been a year since her street in Lakeview had been under construction, so she attacked the issue in the only way she knew how: with humor. Due to the road work she has been dealing with, she made a cake.

The confection boasted a street in disarray, complete with a “Road Closed” sign and construction equipment.

“Happy first birthday to our street construction! It was one year ago this week when they first began to rip up our street. One year later, half the street is impassable — just last week, we had a massive, 6-foot-deep hole! To celebrate, I created a replica of the street scene in cake form: two layers of chocolate sponge with peanut butter frosting,” her Facebook post read.

Harvey, a labor and delivery nurse, has spent the last year rearranging her life, thanks to street construction. We can all identify with the annoyance of dealing with potholes or road work, but this was something more. Harvey decided to take her annoyance and channel it into a chocolate and peanut butter cake, that she made from scratch, in an effort to lighten the mood about the situation.

“I think everyone on the street has been frustrated,” she said.  “All of us have lost driveway access at some point, for months at a time. But the message was more to just give the neighbors a reason to chuckle. It’s been a rough year for everyone, so to see my neighbors laugh, and enjoy a piece of cake, was nice. Plus, I just love any reason to make cake. I saw this recipe online a couple weeks ago, and when I found out that our one-year anniversary was this week, I knew it’d be the perfect cake for a model street.” 

Periodically, Harvey has reached out for an update on the road work.

“I emailed them once in September regarding driveway access,” she explained “We hadn’t had access on my side of the street for 3 months, and it looked like they built a makeshift ramp to get in and out of the driveways. They got right back to me saying it was okay for me to park in the driveway. I know that some of my neighbors have contacted the city much more frequently.”

The West End Group A project is being done by Beverly construction and was to originally to include: 

  • Repaving the asphalt roadway from curb-to-curb 
  • Patching the roadway with asphalt or concrete 
  • Repairing damaged sidewalks and driveway aprons
  • Installing Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant curb ramps at intersection 
  • Replacing / repairing damaged underground water, sewer, and/or drainage line 

Due to all of the troubles and delays the roadwork has caused, the city had this response, online:

“First and foremost, thank you for your continued patience. We recognize that there have been numerous delays and understandable frustration with the West End Group A Project. Obviously, temporary inconveniences do tend to accompany infrastructure upgrades; however, in this case, the delays have been unacceptable. In recent weeks, leaders from the @cityofNOLA Infrastructure Team have been conducting site visits and working closely with the combined @SWBNNO/ DPW project management and construction contractor team. We are committed to holding all members of the team accountable, to finding solutions for the issues holding up construction, as well as to getting this work completed with an improved quality of life for residents.”

At different times, Harvey hasn’t had access to her driveway and parts of the street, while the work is completed. On top of dealing with road work, she’s juggling her newborn and two older sons. Harvey said that she’s contacted the city about the issue, especially since access to her driveway has been blocked.

She explained, “It was while they were ripping up the street and replacing it with asphalt, which makes sense, but it was 3 months without access (and I had a newborn, so I had to buy a stroller frame for his car seat so that I could get to and from my car with him in the car seat). Now the other side doesn’t have access. I can’t remember exactly when they lost it, but it’s been a while. We also have no street parking.”



It was estimated that construction on the West End Group A Project was supposed to have been completed by Summer 2020, and Harvey says she has a letter that said that the work would be completed by January 15, 2021. That obviously hasn’t happened. Now, the estimated date for completion of the project is July 2021. A letter to the neighborhood says that crews will continue to work, until the project is completed. 

How much longer the city plans on inconveniencing the neighbors of West End is anyone’s guess. In the meantime, Harvey is doing her best to keep a positive attitude, and enjoy her cake.

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