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Friday, January 30, 2009

We will miss you Bob

Mr. Cerasoli, You offered us hope. You showed us that what we want to do to build the New New Orleans can be done. It is up to us to keep going. With luck you can come back and consult.
We wish it had been possible to make you less lonely in our hopeful city. We won't forget you or your contributions. We are grateful and wish you only the best.

Mr. Cerasoli spoke at NorthWest Carrollton's 2008 Night Out Against Crime gathering that was held at the "park" on the corner of Carrollton and Pritchard Place.

See TP Article online & below in full
New Orleans Inspector General Robert Cerasoli quits post, citing health issues
by Brian Thevenot, The Times-Picayune
Thursday January 29, 2009, 10:22 PM

Robert Cerasoli, the veteran Massachusetts investigator who navigated a maze of bureaucracy and politics to found the New Orleans inspector general's office, will resign today to reunite with his family and prepare for surgery to remove potentially dangerous growths.
This morning, he plans to hop in a rental car packed with a few belongings and drive home to Quincy, near Boston.

For the city, the loss of Cerasoli will set back the arduous task of establishing an independent watchdog over City Hall. His hiring 17 months ago, and a subsequent City Charter change that solidified permanent financing for the office, were coups for a city long impervious to reform.
For Cerasoli, 61, the resignation marks an anxious end to a four-decade career in public service, but also allows him to lay down a heavy burden. In interviews before and after recent surgery to remove growths in his neck, and leading up to his decision to resign, Cerasoli agonized over the pressure to meet the lofty expectations of corruption-weary New Orleanians.

"I keep feeling this vicious guilt, " he said. "I've never given up on anything before in my life."
His Blackberry buzzed with an e-mail: "Don't give up -- we need you." It came from a person he had met once, and who had no inkling of Cerasoli's predicament, or the emotional wallop her message would deliver.

Cerasoli started pondering his health and his future in December, after doctors removed two growths from his neck they had feared were cancerous. The growths were benign, but he and doctors discovered two more growths, also potentially cancerous. Those will have to be removed as well.

Before that first surgery, a stranger had approached Cerasoli in one of his favorite haunts, the ornate lobby of Le Pavillon hotel. She told him how much the city needed him.
As she walked away, Cerasoli hid his face and broke into a quiet sob. Such praise has both touched and distressed him.
"It's just so hard, you know, the pressure, " he said, wiping away tears. "It's enormous. It's onerous. I get that all the time, people walking up to me on the street. . . . It's wonderful, seeing the rising expectations of the people here. But the last thing I want to be is the next 'last, best hope for New Orleans.'

"It's not about me. It's about building the office, " he said, repeating what has become a mantra even as he has become an unlikely celebrity in a job that in many places would be held by an anonymous functionary.

Building the office has proved far tougher than Cerasoli envisioned. And the challenges that remain -- even the basic work of clearly defining city agencies, budgets and policies -- are more daunting than a successor might suspect. After 17 months, Cerasoli said, the office still needs to double its staff and garner basic tools and access to records. Still, Cerasoli's experience here has opened a valuable view into the inner workings of a mysterious municipal apparatus.

"On a difficulty scale of one-to-10, it's a 10. I would compare it to governments I've looked at in the developing world, " said Cerasoli, who has given lectures about corruption in such Third World countries as Sierra Leone and Swaziland. In New Orleans, he said, "information technology is in a terrible state. Getting access to information people regularly access in other places is a major problem. Public documents aren't being made public, if they exist at all.
"And I don't think the city government truly understands what the inspector general is supposed to do -- and might provide more resistance as it becomes more clear, " he said.
'Nothing's on the level'

In mid-2007, when New Orleans first advertised for an inspector general, Cerasoli blew off suggestions that he seek the job, arguably the toughest challenge in an arcane profession that operates in the space between auditors and prosecutors.
"Nothing's on the level in New Orleans, " he recalled telling one fellow inspector. "How am I going to get a job there?"

He had just recently accepted a similar job in Philadelphia, then declined it because his ailing mother told him she would die and never forgive him if he left. And Cerasoli always listened to his mother. She had raised him and his sister on a beautician's salary in the hardscrabble community of Quincy Point, near Boston, after his father died when Cerasoli was 10.
Cerasoli continued to get calls about the New Orleans job. He gave the same answer: I'm retired. My mother's dying. I'm not going anywhere.

He had already slogged through an accomplished but high-stress career in public service that started when he was elected as a Democrat to the Massachusetts legislature during the Watergate era. During a 15-year political career, he helped lead bruising efforts to establish a state ethics board, campaign finance rules and other strictures on politicians accustomed to operating in private, and with impunity. In the 1980s, he led an investigation into the prison weekend furlough policy that allowed murderer Willie Horton out of a Massachusetts prison; Horton then committed armed robbery and rape.

After getting appointed as Massachusetts' inspector general, Cerasoli spent a decade probing corruption and inefficiency, capped by several investigations into Boston's over-budget, graft-laden "Big Dig" tunnel.

Cerasoli grew into a workaholic, obsessing over a job he viewed as crucial, even intrinsic, to the public good. When the stress built to a peak, Cerasoli turned to a unique outlet: volunteering at a suicide hot line.

"I wanted to juxtapose my own pressures with those of people under far more extreme pressure than me, to put my problems into context, " Cerasoli said.

Advice at a funeral
After retiring in 2001, Cerasoli tried to decompress. He stayed busy, teaching at a college, compulsively lifting weights at a local gym and giving anti-corruption seminars across Africa and India on the U.S. State Department's nickel. Then New Orleans came calling. And soon, his reason for spurning the job -- his mother's illness -- ceased to be a factor. Mary Cerasoli died of cancer and complications from botched radiation treatments on May 19, 2007. Cerasoli had always kept the New Orleans job in the back of his mind. The advice of a woman at his mother's funeral pushed him to take the prospect seriously.

"You should go someplace and give the knowledge, wisdom and tools you have to somebody who really needs them, " the woman said.

Cerasoli applied, along with 20 others. A few weeks later, he got a call from the Rev. Kevin Wildes, president of Loyola University and chairman of the city ethics board that hires the inspector general. Cerasoli was the unanimous pick. Cerasoli did not respond at first. His mind wandered. He thought of his mother. If she hadn't wanted him to go, he figured, he wouldn't have gotten the job. He replayed the prescient comments from the woman at the funeral. He recalled how, while watching Hurricane Katrina's aftermath on TV, he had told himself, "I want to do something for the people of New Orleans, " and he wondered whether he really meant it.
"I'll take it, " he said finally, not even asking about the salary.

A monk's existence
In New Orleans, Cerasoli was driven by the same unstinting work ethic that fueled his career in Massachusetts. He began to view the new job as a career capstone. He rented a one-bedroom apartment in the Central Business District and outfitted it with an inflatable mattress, a chair, a vacuum, cheap racks for his suits and three suitcases. No art. No TV. No computer.
"It keeps the edge, " Cerasoli said of his spare digs, peculiar for a man who rakes in a $95,000 Massachusetts pension on top of a $150,000 salary. His quarters reflect an almost maniacal avoidance of entanglements, anything that could even hint at a conflict of interest. If he enjoyed himself too much, or got too close to anyone, Cerasoli said, he would become compromised. So he just worked, rarely socialized, and returned to his cubbyhole of a home.

"He's a monk, " Wildes said of Cerasoli. "When I think of Bob and the way he works and lives his life, I think of a member of a religious order: Everything he does and thinks about is in terms of how it helps or hinders the work." Wildes recalled a meeting at Harrah's New Orleans Casino: Cerasoli, he said, refused to cross the floor without an escort, worried that someone might assume he had a weakness for gambling.

Everything a fight
Though Cerasoli had fully expected the challenge of his career in New Orleans, he was in for a few shocks. The Nagin administration at first offered him a $250,000 budget -- a ludicrously low figure, he said. In Massachusetts, he had overseen a budget of $3 million and a staff of 49.
He spent his first four months working alone in university offices Wildes provided. Eventually, he secured a $3.2 million appropriation from the City Council; permission to hire his own attorneys, a move fought by the Nagin administration; and, most important, a charter change guaranteeing a permanent revenue source.

"But every one of those things was a big fight, " Cerasoli said. "And after we got the money, we couldn't spend it, because everything we bought had to go through the city's purchasing process."

Requests ranging from pencils to lease agreements took weeks or even months to snake through the Nagin administration's approval process. Inquiries often produced excuses: "The computers are down, " or "So-and-so is on vacation, " or "We can't find your paperwork."
"There was always that mysterious hand there, that made you wonder if somebody was trying to stop it, " Cerasoli said.

Unable to spend but two-thirds of his allotted $3.2 million for 2008, Cerasoli shocked and delighted the City Council by returning the rest, a rare move for any city agency.

'Shadow government'
As Cerasoli started luring a pedigreed, experienced staff, he also started trying to understand the machinery of New Orleans municipal government. He found few answers, and an ever-growing list of questions. Just figuring out who runs what has proved an immense challenge, with a government splintered into scores of agencies, commissions and quasi-governmental nonprofit groups, some with separate dedicated tax-revenue streams, their own auditors and scant scrutiny. So far, Cerasoli has put together a list of 140 such city entities, including such curiosities as the Delgado-Albania Plantation Commission. His inspectors found records of a New Orleans Planetarium Commission, created in 1986, but couldn't confirm whether it still exists, or ever did.

"One main goal has just been to simply identify the entity that is the city of New Orleans, " Cerasoli said. "Nobody can give you an organizational chart."

So Cerasoli and his team have started one on a wall inside their office in the Federal Reserve building, a project he said might take years to accurately complete. Cerasoli cannot say whether the "vastly decentralized" structure, unlike any city Cerasoli has ever come across, leads to any specific wrongdoing or failures. But he said it surely makes it tough to track government and thus provides countless opportunities for chicanery.

"I call it the shadow government, " Cerasoli said.

Cerasoli's office finally issued its first report in December, which said the city violated its charter by granting employees 273 take-home cars rather than the legally allowed 60, and could save up to $1 million with reforms. Cerasoli attributes the slow startup to the obstacles he had establishing his office. He said he has launched other investigations that he cannot yet publish or talk about.

"We finished the crime camera investigation on the same day as the take-home cars, " he said, referring to the city's expensive and often inoperable surveillance cameras. "But it's no longer in my hands, and I can't say where it is."

But he offered a hint, noting that the inspector general's office, as a matter of practice, turns over investigations that unearth potential crimes to law enforcement agencies, mainly the U.S. attorney's office and the FBI. Some of the other probes could result in published reports; others may follow another path, Cerasoli said.

A tough decision
As the new year approached, Cerasoli prepared to go under the knife. In early January, doctors cut two large growths from near his neck. He choose to forgo general anesthesia, so he was awake as doctors cut out one white, egg-sized oval and then a smaller one.
After the surgery, he asked to see the larger growth.

"It looked like a piece of haddock, or codfish, " he said in his heavy New England accent. The tests came back negative for cancer. He came back to New Orleans, hoping to put his office on a firmer footing.

He returned to another tussle with Nagin, this one over Cerasoli's recent attempt to buy guns for investigators. The administration refused to process the request; Nagin questioned the right of the inspector general to create a "paramilitary operation" armed with "submachine guns."
Last weekend, another trip to Boston brought the discovery of two more growths. His doctors gave him a reality check.

"You're 61 years old. You had a career. You retired, " one doctor said. "You're not young anymore. Why do you want to put yourself through this kind of stress?"

Cerasoli couldn't argue the point. That night, he sat down with his wife and adult children and made the decision. On Monday, he returned to New Orleans for perhaps the last time.
"I can't stay in this faraway place, working against tremendous odds, trying to shape something that will take several more years to shape, " he mused. "I feel a need to get home and deal with this. It's just so lonely here."

. . . . . . .
Brian Thevenot can be reached at or 504.826.3482.

Also see Gambit Weekly "Being Bob Cerasoli"

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Reporting Off-Campus Behavior to Tulane

From Karen Celestan of Tulane, as shared with our other Carrollton neighbors:

I have noticed a slight uptick in the number of complaints about students living in off-campus housing. I just want to share with everyone the proper methods of reporting poor and/or negligent behavior of students living off-campus (if you haven't already heard my presentation at recent neighborhood association meetings).

Please be aware that all Tulane students are bound by a Code of Student Conduct, but also have rights as private citizens on private property. The university is actively working to create a Town & Gown code for landlords and student tenants to alleviate some of the allegations and abuses that have been reported. We are also consistently negotiating with area business and bar owners to bring them into compliance with existing Alcohol Control laws and regulations. (We had a somewhat productive meeting with the owner of The Boot yesterday.)

Here are the official vehicles for reporting directly to Tulane administrators (Student Affairs):
Phone: 862-NABR (6227)

Of course, you can always call me on my cell or send an e-mail, and I will forward it to the Office of Student Affairs for any disciplinary action (if warranted). The neighborhood is a critical priority and your concerns are at the top of our list.
Please feel free to share this information with your neighbors and/or association members.
Karen Celestan
Manager, Community Relations and Policy
Office of Government Affairs
Tulane University
(504) 988-3394 [office]
(504) 214-9640 [cell]
(504) 988-3388 [fax]
200 Broadway, Suite 126
New Orleans, LA 70118

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tree Planting in NorthWest Carrollton

NorthWest Carrollton continues to work with Monique Pilie of Hike for KaTREEna to rebuild the tree canopy of our neighborhood. We have now planted over 50 trees inside our neighborhood boundaries. Our last planting was January 24th. Many thanks to our neighborhood volunteers!
We would like to have one more planting this season in April. If live in NorthWest Carrollton (bounded by Earhart-Carrollton-Claiborne-Leonidas) and you want a form to request free trees, leave a comment and we’ll get back to you!

We can improve our neighborhood by adding trees to our homes, keeping our streets cool and green. Please join us in this exciting effort.
Trees can be planted on your private property or city property in front or beside your home. We only need a few things from you if you would like a tree for your home:
1) Your agreement to keep the tree/s well watered for the first year.
2) Fill out the permit application, if you want the tree(s) planted on city property (between the sidewalk and street). Trees can also be planted in your front yard or side yard as long as these trees benefit the sidewalk public area as well.

Hike for KaTREEna will provide the trees at no cost. Monique will also clear the permits with city government and work with the urban forester to determine the best tree for each location.
Stay tuned for other posts on why TREES are good for our neighborhood, your property values, your energy bills and your health and even help to fight crime.

Hollygrove Market & Farm

The Hollygrove Market and Farm (HM&F) is a non-profit retail store selling locally-grown and organic produce, as well as a training location for residents interested in organic urban farming. Centrally located in the heart of the Carrollton-Hollygrove community at 8301 Olive Street (formerly Guillot's Nursery), this unique store provides healthy and affordable fruits and vegetables to residents of Hollygrove, adjoining neighborhoods, and New Orleans.

For $25 a week, box assortments of local and organic produce are available. Members are welcome to buy a box however often they like.

NorthWest Carrollton Blog has MOVED

In 2006 we were totally new to blogging. Our 1st blog was essentially free. Our current blog space is sponsored by one of our board members. We have found BLOGSPOT and it is FREE.
So we have moved our Blog to will still be available for archives (for now) but future posts will be on the new blogspot site.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Arts Market in Palmer Park

the last Saturday of every month
From 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
No admission charge.
Art Market at Palmer Park
Located in Carrollton at the corner of S. Claiborne & S. Carrollton Avenues.

"Discover a vibrant market brimming with exciting pieces from the region’s best artisans. From paintings, photography, ceramics, glasswork, jewelry, woodwork and printmaking to handcrafted clothing, soap and candles. The Arts Market truly offers something for every person and every budget. Adding to the festive outdoor gallery is live music, creative activities for kids and foods to satisfy every craving. Whether you’re out for a day of family fun or a serious art collector in search of that next special piece, this is an event you won’t want to miss!"

Thank you,
Michelle Levine, Arts Market Manager504.373.6332
Presented by the Arts Council, the Arts Market of New Orleans (formerly Mid-City Arts Market)

Resturants that deliver in NorthWest Carrollton

The following resturants deliver in the NorthWest Carrollton Area:

Red Star - 8330 Earhart Blvd - 504-861-1933
Mikimoto - 3301 S Carrollton Ave - 504-488-1881
Mona’s on Carrollton - 1120 S Carrollton Ave - 504-861-8175
Roman Pizza - 7329 Cohn St, New Orleans, LA - 504-866-1166
Pepperoni’s Cafe - 8120 Hampson St. - 504-865-0336 or 865-0337
5 Happiness - 3605 S Carrollton Ave. - 504-482-3935
Fresco’s Cafe 7625 Maple St - (504) 862-6363

Key Contact Numbers

Issues can be reported to 311 online using this link.

Abandoned Cars: 658-8219

Broken Street Lights: 525-5871 or or 1-800-369-3749,
Changing light bulbs is the City of New Orleans responsibility also report outage to 311

Curfew Center: 658-0369

Department of Streets: 658-2489

Drug Hotline: 581-2878

Health Department: 658-2596

Housing: 658-4215

Housing/Code Enforcement: 658-4300

Illegal Dumping/Litter: 658-3840

LA/SPCA: 368-5191

Parkway & Parks: 658-2176

Public Advocacy: 658-4015

Safety & Permits: 658-7100

Sanitation: 658-3800

Mosquito, Termite & Rodent Control - (504)658-2400 or OR

Sewerage & Water Board: 529-2837 ,
OR use the online reporting tool.

Zoning: 658-7125

Illegally Parked or Abandoned Vehicles

Any illegally parked car can be reported to Parking Enforcement.Call 658-2299. Make sure you have:- the exact location, street address if possible- the vehicle’s License number, if there is a license- Make & Model and Color of vehicle

The more people that call about a specific vehicle the better the response from parking enforcement. If you report a vehicle to parking enforcement. Please leave the details here in the comment’s section so that we can follow up.

Please help us report Abandoned Vehicles inside NorthWest Carrollton so that they can be removed from our neighborhood. Just leave a comment on this Page and someone will followup and take a picture of the vehicle and work to get city services to remove it.

Please provide
Address: Street Address or 100 Block or Cross Streets
License Plate: Number or NO Plate
Parked illegally: pointing in the wrong direction on the street, or obstructing the sidewalk or street.

Statistics show that Criminals don’t like Clean!!!!

To create a 311 Report on this or any other Quality of Life or Code Violations use this link.

Garbage collection Wednesdays & Saturdays

Please see this Map for details

About NorthWest Carrollton, from original web site

NorthWest Carrollton is a New Orleans neighborhood bounded by Leonides, Earhart, Carrollton and Claiborne. We are the “northern” (aka lakeside) peninsula of Carrollton, a historic neighborhood on the National Historic Register.

We are a Post Katrina organization formed to celebrate the fact that postKatrina we still had neighbors and to advocate for our historic neighborhood and its people. We feel it is important to address all issues of planning, recovery, rebuilding and quality of life. We revel in the diversity of our neighbors and the diversity of our historic housing stock. We have homes for every taste and income level. We have been gifted with commercial neighbors who respect the fact that they border our historic neighborhood.

We were one of the neighborhoods that the BNOB commission said had to “prove our viability”. There are many out there who have been reminded to: “Be careful what you ask for.”

We started organizing in January of 2006 because on New Year’s Eve neighbors were out on the street talking to each other as we had never talked before, sharing champagne and being hopeful (and irritated with BNOB). We wanted to do everything we could to have our neighborhood come back stronger than ever before and we wanted the rest of our neighbors to want to come back. We registered with the Secretary of State as a non-profit neighborhood organization in June 2006. We held our 1st neighborhood wide meeting in June and by September 2006 had close to 100 members. December 17th, 2006 we held our 1st fund raiser for the firehouse at the corner of Carrollton & Dublin via a Holiday Home Tour of historic housing that survived Katrina. We held our 1st very succcessul PostKatrina and PostFeb13Tornado neighborhood cleanup March 10th, 2007. We were certified by the NOPD as a Neighborhood Watch Neighborhood at the August 2007 Night Out Against Crime gathering in Palmer Park.

We like to think that we are the next coolest neighborhood in New Orleans. We’ve come to understand that it while “it takes a village”, first you need a few determined individuals to wake up the rest of the folks in the village.

We thank Alan for teaching us the power of the blog and technology.

You can contact us via
Jenel Hazlett - President

NorthWest Carrollton Blog Moves to BlogSpot

NorthWest Carrollton Civic Association is moving from to

Those of you who have followed us on know that this site is now owned by an Italian casino. The site has all the posts from the original .com site but it costs us to maintain this site so we are in the process of moving to blogspot.

We will move as much history and useful information from the .org site as we possible. We are working to archive our blog history.

Please stay tuned.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Silence is Violence RED FRIDAYS

Perhaps you remember January 2008's Silence is Violence March on City Hall.

On January 9th, 2009 we were asked to wear Red to Strike against Crime. To quote the website: Striking means refusing to go through the motions of normalcy.

Those of us concerned about crime aren't just doing things one day a year. We are actively working throughout the year to do everything we can to reduce crime. So EVERY WEEK, EVERY FRIDAY of 2009 should be a Silence is Violence RED Friday. When each Friday we see more and more RED we will know that support is building and people are watching and care about what is happening in the City. Silence is Violence says speak out, act to stop the killing.

Every RED Friday will remind us that we are all in this together.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Thank You Landis!

Please join me in welcoming Landis Construction to the neighborhood. Landis shares the old Bubblegum Factory with Hopkins Imports.

In case you haven't noted the Bubblegum Factory looks GREAT these days. The old Bubblegum Factory is individually listed on the National Historic Register as the American Chicle Company Building at 8311 Fig Street. Chicle is said: chick-lee. Remember that?

Landis gave NorthWest Carrollton a great start to 2009 when they donated AND PLACED! and total of 20 new Neighborhood Watch Signs on Fig, Carrollton & Leonidas.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Request for update on Apple Street

Subject: Apple Street work - detailed update requested
Date: Jan 7, 2009 9:25 PM

We are hoping that you can put us in contact with someone who can give us details on the work that has been done and seems to be ongoing on Apple Street. While it is obvious that there are significant infrastructure repairs occurring, the current conditions are dreadful (and were much worse). The street is significantly torn up and is now essentially a dirt road. The drainage is worse than before. There is obviously much more work to be done but we have no idea what the end results will be, how many stages we will have to go through until we get to the end result and what the ETA of "the end" of the project will be. There are also significant concerns that we will be stuck with a dirt road environment for a long time and that this horror will expand to other areas in the neighborhood. Any information that you can provide is much appreciated. We are scheduling (our next general) meeting and know that our neighbors will expect a detailed and accurate accounting of the "progress" on Apple Street. Our hope is that if we can explain what is happening that the current horror will feel a little more like progress we want this to be.

Thanks again,
Jenel Hazlett - NorthWest Carrollton

Recycling update


We are hoping to have a January NorthWest Carrollton meeting. We are currently working with Catholic Charities to arrange use of their Community meeting room in Incarnate Word on Apricot Street (which is appropriately inside our neighborhood boundaries.  Unfortunately we do not yet have confirmation that we can use the room.  

We have provided information on Phoenix Recycling at our neighborhood organization meetings and Phoenix Recycling offers a slight discount (a $14/month fee) for anyone who is a member of a neighborhood organization.  Unfortunately this still means that many of our neighbors will choose for financial reasons not to participate.  We do not have enough money as a neighborhood organization to offer financial assistance for recycling.  But we look forward to hearing and testing any ideas that anyone comes up with to encourage and increase recycling in the city. 

When we set the next meeting notice we will let you know date and time.  You are welcome to attend any of our meetings.

Jenel Hazlett

From: Walker Hines <>
Sent: Jan 7, 2009 2:41 PM
To: NorthWest Carrollton <>

Subject: Re: Correction Regarding SDT Recycling Services

Thank you for your endorsement of Phoenix Recycling.  Despite the
initial misinformation, I am happy that I sent an e-mail out raising
awareness of recycling services and efforts in our city.  In fact,
many residents of our District were not even aware that anyone offered
to pick up recycling post-Katrina.  Many have expressed interest in
paying for recycling.  I have forwarded contact information for
Phoenix to anyone expressing an interest in recycling pickup.  As I
previously mentioned, I would like to meet with neighborhood group
leaders and devise a strategy to increase the number of households
that participate in the recycling program.  I would also like to look
into creative financing efforts by neighborhood groups.  We have a
very active and engaged District.  I am confident that with the right
messenger and planning, we can become the most green district in the
State.  I look forward to working with you in this endeavor.

Walker Hines
On Wed, Jan 7, 2009 at 2:34 PM, NorthWest Carrollton <> wrote:
Thanks for keeping attention on this issue.

I have used Phoenix Recycling for the last year.  Phoenix provides excellent curbside service for $14/month.  I realize that $14/month is not affordable for everyone.  But considering the services that Phoenix Recycling has provided to the PostK city I hope that every effort will be made to ensure that Phoenix Recycling has a place in our increasingly GREEN city.
Jenel Hazlett - NorthWest Carrollton
From: Walker Hines <
Sent: Jan 7, 2009 11:26 AM
Subject: Correction Regarding SDT Recycling Services

Thank you for many of your e-mails indicating an interest in
recycling.  Unfortunately, some of the details were unclear regarding
SDTs services.  As many of you know, if you go to the link I
previously provided, SDT mentions a limited offer for curb-side
recycling pickup for any zip code with 500 or more registrations
requesting residential pickup.  The 70118 Zip Code had already
received well over 500 registrations prior to my e-mail going out.
I, along with other State Legislators, was under the impression that
SDT would offer FREE recycling pickup for the few Zip Codes that
reached 500 or more.  I mentioned that I didn't know how long they
would provide free services.  It turns out, the recycling pickup was
never intended to be free for any amount of time.  For anyone
interested in pay-for-service monthly recycling, Phoenix Recycling has
already established a successful recycling pickup.  Many residents in
our neighborhoods use Phoenix.  In due time, SDT may also offer a
monthly fee for recycling pickup in certain neighborhoods.  If you
would like more information on either company, feel free to e-mail me
and I'll send you their contact information.  Phoenix's website is:

I apologize for not verifying all information with SDT and other
companies via phone prior to sending out a mass e-mail to neighborhood

I am hoping to lobby the City Council to appropriate funds to make
recycling a city wide public service (as is the case in the vast
majority of major urban areas).  Furthermore, I am hoping that we can
find a company that will recycle materials to help rebuild our

Coastal erosion can help be reversed with recyclable materials.  I am
confident we can use recyclable materials as a barrier against future
storms.  If the City Council does not find the funds to provide
city-wide recycling, I will ask for an appropriation from the State
for our Legislative District.  If successful, I will negotiate prices
and sign a contract with one of the waste and debris companies
offering recycling.  I am requesting that neighborhood organizations
consider raising funds if they feel recycling is a priority in their

Thank you for your interest and attention to this important matter.

If I can be of any further assistance please let me know.

Walker Hines
State Representative - District 95
Legislative E-mail:
Legislative Mailing Address:
5500 Prytania St. # 626
New Orleans, LA 70115
Legislative Office:  504-756-4675

From: Walker Hines <>
Sent: Jan 6, 2009 2:52 PM
Subject: SDT To Offer Free Recycling - Please Sign up and Forward to Neighbors

SDT Waste and Debris will begin offering free curb-side recycling
pickup beginning January 1 to any current or new SDT residential
customer living in a Zip code with 500 or more registrations.  To
request recycling pickup in your neighborhood, please visit:

I want to thank those of you living in the 70118 Zip Code.  We were
the second Zip Code in the City to reach 500 registrations.

Regardless of where you live, if you would like the opportunity for
recycling pickup, please register as soon as possible.

As always, thank you for your attention to this matter.

May each of you enjoy a healthy and prosperous New Year!


Walker Hines
State Representative - District 95
Legislative E-mail:
Legislative Mailing Address:
5500 Prytania St. # 626
New Orleans, LA 70115
Legislative Office:  504-756-4675

New Orleanian of the Year - 2008

Gambit's New Orleanina of the Year - Karen Gadbois!

We done Karen and WELL DESERVED! We are proud of you!

Karen is on the board of NorthWest Carrollton.

See GAMBIT's article on Karen below:

JANUARY 5, 2009

Home Checker
Karen Gadbois' crusade to save the city's architectual heritage brought down a public program riddled with problems.
Photo by Cheryl Gerber

For Karen Gadbois, the city's recovery and her own have become inextricably linked, and she has fought hard for both. On New Year's Eve 2005, Gadbois finished her final chemo treatment for breast cancer and flew from Austin, Texas, to New Orleans, so she could be here for the last day of the tragic year.
  That night she sat on the porch of her raised, side-hall shotgun house in northwest Carrollton with a friend and her husband. Newly installed streetlights illuminated the neighborhood wasteland of flooded homes, and Gadbois' pile of ruined artwork and other possessions sat on the front curb. Drinking wine, Gadbois began throwing rocks at the bright, invasive lights.
  "And I was really happy," Gadbois says. "I was so happy to be back."
  Gadbois is still happy, but she isn't content. She has battled against those, including Mayor Ray Nagin and other bureaucrats, who have attempted in the name of progress to destroy and squander our city's heritage. With little more than a digital camera, a computer, a blog and her green Honda Element, this indefatigable 53-year-old mom has shown that it is the average citizen — not government — that's leading New Orleans' recovery.
  By the time Gadbois first heard about the New Orleans Affordable Homeownership (NOAH) program in early 2008, the Boston, Mass., native had been taking on City Hall to save homes from demolition for more than two years. Nevertheless, she initially was optimistic about the program because she thought the city finally was making a gesture to help people get back into their homes by creating a program that was supposed to gut and board houses for poor and elderly homeowners.
  "A number of people were questioning why we were spending millions of dollars gutting and boarding homes when there were volunteer groups," Gadbois says. "It didn't make sense in terms of using government, but it could be used to leverage volunteer work to get people back in homes."
  It was in May when Gadbois saw a Central City house — dilapidated and the yard with knee-high grass and filled with junk — supposedly remediated by NOAH.
  "Someone put up a (NOAH) sign," Gadbois says. "It was a joke."
  Sarah Lewis, who was co-director with Gadbois of Common Knowledge, an organization promoting governmental tranparency, requested a list of "remediated" properties from NOAH. Lewis and Gadbois scrutinized the list and found it riddled with problems: nonexistent houses and remediated homes that were owned by slumlords and people like former U.S. Rep. Bill Jefferson's brother Mose Jefferson, who clearly were not poor or elderly.
  "It's like finding 700 pounds of gold on your front lawn," Gadbois says, displaying her Yankee wit. "It can't be gold; it's sitting in my front yard. This is so ridiculous it can't be as bad as it looks."
  Gadbois was so flabbergasted that she put her findings aside for a while until another blogger, Eli Ackerman, convinced her the story was more dynamite than gold. Gadbois turned to WWL-TV investigative reporter Lee Zurik, who broadcast her findings in an exclusive special report on July 21. The next day, Mayor Nagin held a news conference — besides city officials, only Gadbois, Lewis and Zurik were in attendance — and decried Zurik and Gadbois' investigation, accusing them of hurting the city's recovery.
  "I was not prepared to be single-handedly destroying the recovery in New Orleans," Gadbois says. "That was a lot of insult, a very loaded insult."
  Nagin's attempt at intimidation wasn't enough to deter Gadbois. Although she had only moved to New Orleans from a small Mexican village in 2002 with her husband, Jon Schooler, and their daughter, Ida, Gadbois had already become a dedicated New Orleanian. She had her hands full trying to renovate the house they bought, but says the family was comfortable and found New Orleans' open and accepting environment similar to what they had experienced in Mexico: "I loved that you could be poor with dignity in New Orleans. The first issue of the day was not what you had on."
  In the days following Nagin's news conference, Gadbois, Lewis and Zurik continued to build a case against NOAH. City officials claimed Gadbois and Lewis were working off the "wrong" NOAH property list, and the correct list would prove NOAH had delivered services for the $1.8 million contract it had with the city. So, Gadbois, Lewis and Zurik pored over the new list; this time they found even more problems.
  Besides listing houses on blocks that don't exist in the city, and charging the city for work done by volunteer groups, NOAH had used a list of contractors that included Cedric Smith, the mayor's brother-in-law, and Trellis Smith, a business partner of former NOAH director Stacey Jackson. More allegations came forward — Jackson had business relationships with other NOAH contractors — the City Council held hearings, NOAH closed its offices and a federal investigation was launched. And it was Gadbois who had first spotted NOAH's leaky ship, but all Nagin would say at the time was, "I love that we have professional investigators involved now."
  What he didn't know, or refused to believe, was that he had been dealing with a professional investigator all along.
With her cancer in remission in 2006, Gadbois became involved with her neighborhood organization, Northwest Carrollton Civic Association (NWCCA). The group argued that a proposed Walgreens drugstore at the intersection of Claiborne Avenue and Carrollton Avenue broke zoning laws. Refusing to budge, NWCCA pushed City Councilwoman Shelley Midura to broker a plan for the new Walgreens that conformed to zoning regulations and included space for a much-needed supermarket.
  "So that was sort of the beginning of my paying attention," Gadbois says.
  Still, it was more of a desire to preserve memories than anger that kept Gadbois focused on the city's recovery. Realizing a number of buildings would be demolished as New Orleans rebuilt, she wanted to start an online memory book of photographs of those structures. It was the genesis of Gadbois' blog,
  As Gadbois began driving around the city in June of 2006 shooting photographs of houses, however, she noticed many of them appeared salvageable.
  "The city seemed to have taken the stance of, 'If you want your house demolished; you can get your house demolished,'" Gadbois says. "End of conversation."
  Even if an owner didn't want a home destroyed, the city could find a way to raze it. Gadbois discovered this when she started tracking — along with Matt McBride, another New Orleans activist — the city's Good Neighbor Program, which was ostensibly set up for residents to notify the city of blighted houses. Gadbois says McBride began crunching housing statistics and determined the program was being used to feed into the city's demolition plans. And if a house wasn't reported as blighted, the city could inflate the structure's damage assessment.
  The city's approach didn't sit well with Gadbois, and with a small grant from the Blue Moon Fund, she (Lewis signed on later) has probed deeper into the city's demolition lists than any investigative agency or reporter.
Nowadays, Gadbois is back to being a solo act — the Blue Moon grant money is nearly gone, so she and Lewis had to part ways — and she is still driving around the city and documenting houses slated for demolition. She thinks there is more to the NOAH story than the public is aware, but she believes the truth will eventually come out.