Updating street names


Annie Goodman

Signage has been implemented for the four streets renamed on campus. The four new street names are Union Avenue, Mane Street, Roomie Road and Lion Lane.

Four streets on campus have been renamed following the ratification of a new ordinance by the Hammond City Council.

Texas Avenue has been renamed to Union Avenue. Tennessee Avenue became Mane Street. Virginia Avenue is now Roomie Road, and Tornado Drive changed to Lion Lane.

New signage has already been installed.

Erin Cowser, executive director of public and governmental affairs, said that the changes were prompted by students after visitors expressed confusion over existing street names.

Cowser said, “The new names came about at the urging of students after several first-time campus guests using computerized navigation expressed confusion as to why a university named and located in southeast Louisiana would feature streets named for other states and a different mascot as was the case with Tornado Drive named for the HHS Tornadoes.”

Cowser consulted marketing students, the Student Government Association and university employees in communications, marketing and promotional roles to create a list of possible new street names.

60 members of SGA were polled to help choose the four new names.

“I think they’re very reflective of Southeastern, and I think it will bring a sense of pride to the campus and to the students as well,” shared Richard Davis Jr., president of SGA.

According to Cowser, authority for renaming campus streets rests with the Office of the President.

“Dr. Crain and the university have the right to make changes to campus street names,” relayed Cowser. “It’s the university, not the city, that officially approves such changes.”

From there, the university reached out to city officials to have the streets’ names changed on city records.

“We reached out to the city as a courtesy so that the changes would be known for future mapping purposes,” informed Cowser. “For example, so a fire truck would know where Union Avenue is should the fire department ever receive a call to come there.”

According to Tracie Schillace, planning coordinator of Hammond City, the process for changing the recorded name of a city street is usually simple.

Official requests brought through the Planning Office are submitted to the Planning Commission, and names are verified to ensure duplications do not occur.

An approved request goes to the City Council, and changes take effect if the council votes in favor of the new ordinance.

City street names are not often changed.

“You’re talking about building addresses for the new street,” explained Schillace. “Your Google Maps takes forever to update, GPS’s, 911, fire, police, ambulance. It’s very important to make sure all parties are aware.”

The new names are yet to be updated on the university’s website or in Google Maps.

Cowser shared that Google and other common electronic mapping systems have been notified but that these kinds of updates take time to go through.

“Past experience with a campus street name change saw it updated in approximately three months’ time if I’m remembering correctly,” said Cowser.

Aside from signage, the university has already begun making changes to accommodate the new street names.

“We’re asking employees to help make any appropriate changes to their respective departments’ materials and webpages,” stated Cowser.

Schillace noted the effects of changing a street name reach beyond typical daily activities.

“It’s not just about delivering a pizza,” expressed Schillace. “It’s about public safety and making sure everybody is aware of those street name changes.”