Obama Boulevard: Saturday Street Festival Will Celebrate Renaming of South L.A. Roadway

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A public street festival will be held Saturday to celebrate the official renaming of a South Los Angeles thoroughfare as Obama Boulevard in honor of the 44th U.S. president. The free event will kick off at noon at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and what is now known as Rodeo Road, with the festivities culminating in an unveiling of the street’s new name at 5 p.m.
Obama Boulevard signs are seen in a still from a video released by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation on April 29, 2019.
Obama Boulevard signs are seen in a still from a video released by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation on April 29, 2019.
At that point, a 3.7-mile stretch of Rodeo Road, from Jefferson Boulevard to Arlington Avenue, will officially become Obama Boulevard. The L.A. City Council unanimously approved the change last August. The event will feature a slew of musical performers, including BJ The Chicago Kid, Sheila E., Battlecat, Kurupt, Doug E. Fresh and Yo-Yo, along with community vendors and food trucks. Though Saturday’s celebration is free, attendees will still need to reserve a ticket. There is a six ticket limit per household. Obama Boulevard will run from close to L.A.’s border with Culver City east into the Mid-City area, and past Rancho Cienega Park, where then-Sen. Obama held a 2007 campaign rally that drew out thousands. In an interview on KTLA Friday morning, City Council President Herb Wesson said the street’s location was chosen for its historical significance “He drove down it. He and I walked on it. He then gave a speech asking 20,000 people for their vote (and) became president — the first African American in history,” he said. “So I just think there’s a lot of history here, and we’re so excited about naming the street after him.” There will be around 100 signs bearing the former president’s name along the 3.7-mile stretch, Wesson said. The renaming will also further a “Presidential Row” of thoroughfares, from Washington Boulevard in the north to Adams Boulevard, Jefferson Boulevard and ending at Obama Boulevard. Previously, the state Senate approved the renaming of a portion of the 134 Freeway in honor of Obama near Occidental College in Eagle Rock, which he attended for two years as an undergrad. Some items, such as umbrellas, large bags and blankets, are prohibited at Saturday’s event. For more information and to reserve a ticket, visit the event page on Eventbrite.

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