After declaring an area beneath the Ponchartrain Expressway a "public health hazard" on Monday, city crews moved in Thursday morning to begin cleaning it.

The area between Claiborne Avenue and St. Charles Avenue had been home for many months to homeless people who were camping there.

With a police escort, workers showed up with brooms and a garbage truck to remove trash, old furniture and any remaining tents from the area.

Most of the homeless people who had been living there had moved on by late Wednesday night after being given 72 hours notice on Monday.

The executive director of the New Orleans Mission applauded the city for providing that notice rather than moving in without one.   He believes the mission will be serving an extra 50 homeless persons each night, raising the daily total to about 250.

Homeless people can still be found sleeping nightly in other public areas of the city, under the elevated I-10 near Canal Street and outside the main library on Loyola Avenue.