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Sunday, June 28, 2009

NorthWest Carrollton Resident, sees dead people at Borders

Chris Rose
Haunting memories

At the former House of Bultman, now a Borders, not all of the stories are between the covers of a bookSunday, June 28, 2009 Chris Rose

I was having a conversation with an old friend this week about a book that is enjoying current popularity and she said to me: "I'll have to go to the funeral parlor and get a copy."

Now there's something you don't hear every day.

Then again, they don't put bookstores in funeral homes just anywhere. In fact, if you Google the phrase "bookstore in a funeral home," there's only one and that's the one in the former House of Bultman on St. Charles Avenue. Established 1883. Generations ago.

Now it's Borders.

New Orleans writer Christine Wiltz admits to feeling a little wobbly every time she walks into the store. "I always think of my mother," she says. "I feel kind of melancholy for a moment. Then, once I get in here, after a few minutes, the books kind of take over my consciousness and I'm OK. There's always some comfort once I see the books."

That's the thing about putting a bookstore in a funeral home. When they walk in, some folks see books. Other folks see dead people.

"When you walk in there, you get the feeling of people floating above you," local book lover Elizabeth Hutton says. "It's like a cloud of witnesses. It's spooky. But they're not malevolent spirits. It's a benevolent presence I feel each time I walk in."

It's not necessarily a universal experience these folks have, the dead people/book thing. It's only that way, I suppose, for folks who attended funerals at Bultman over the years, the decades -- which I never did.

But Wiltz and her husband, Joe Pecot, they went to many. And adjusting to the sight of bargains, best sellers and baristas where you said good-bye to your nearest and dearest can be a discomfiting enterprise.

"My mother was right there under the Seattle's Best coffee sign," Wiltz says, leading me into the café that lines the Louisiana Avenue side of the building. "My father and I had an argument over whether it should be an open or closed casket. He's Catholic. Catholics like open, for the most part. But she had specifically said: Do not open the casket. So he and I are standing right here having an argument over my mother's dead body."

Right here, under the Seattle's Best sign, where a woman who no doubt never knew Wiltz's mother eats a cherry Danish and reads Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat, Pray, Love."

"My daddy was over in this room," Pecot says, moving us toward the cash register and muffin display counter. "There was a chapel, pews. They could do an altar right there by the sign that says, 'It's Summer, Get Happy.' And he was laid out right under 'Smooth Roasted Coffee.' "

For Wiltz and Pecot, and lots of folks like them, this is not a bookstore, it's a journey. Reverie and sorrow where Harry Potter lords over the aisles.
"This place was so grand," Wiltz says, looking around. "The foyer was huge."

"The atrium," Pecot says. "It was gorgeous!"

They tell the story of a funeral for a friend. The place was packed, out the atrium door, through the foyer and out the front door of the building.

"There was such a hush in this room," Wiltz continues. "It was so sad. It was so untimely; we were destroyed by it."

She pauses, then says: "He would have been right about here, between 'Gifts for Dad' and 'Our Staff Recommends.' "

Behind that, in the back of what was once the grand atrium, between "Aviation" and "Civil War," there was the door through which caskets were loaded into and out of vehicles. The casket showroom, however, was up a large staircase that is no longer here. So we ride up the escalator. And Wiltz seems a bit bewildered.

"I think this is the place," she says, doubtfully. "Right here between 'Travel' and 'Humor.' This was the casket room. It was huge, dark and lush, and the caskets were all open so you could see the plush interiors."
By Wiltz and Pecot's reckoning, the casket room stretched past "Fitness" all the way to "Cooking," passing over, fittingly, "Bereavement."

We're standing there, soaking in the meaning of it all. An employee stacking books in "African-American" hesitates, fumbles some "Politics and History." "Sorry," she says. "I'm trying not to listen."

Aside, she confides in us: " 'Children's Reading' is haunted."

At the top of the escalator, Wiltz takes in the broad view of the store below. "When I stand right here, I could absolutely forget this was Bultman's," she says. "This is new and modern, and that was old and grand. There is nothing left of that place. And this escalator being here is completely bonkers. An escalator in Bultman's?"

A place like this can't help but tug at your own worn and tenuous threads of mortality. So much history, family, tears.

"I feel sad not only about what happened inside here during my lifetime, but I feel sad that this is no longer a funeral home," Wiltz says. "So many of my friends and family always thought they would be buried from here. I always thought I would be. And it's kind of upsetting to me that that's not going to happen. I would have loved to have exited from that beautiful atrium."

She looks down from the second floor to where the atrium was, all flagstone and ferns and mourning and memory -- and now it's just shoppers.

She shrugs. She says: "Just lay me out in 'True Crime.' "

. . . . . . .

Columnist Chris Rose can be reached at, or 504.826.3309, or 504.352.2535. Comment or read past columns at

2nd District eMail Blast Carrollton @ Claiborne

Zone T Subzone 1

On Sunday, June 28, 2009 at approximately 7:35 pm the victim was standing in the neutral ground area awaiting the arrival of the public transportation bus. As the victim was standing there he was approached by a black male clad in a brown "Saints" jacket and brown shorts with a dark colored basebal cap on. The subject pushed the
victim to the ground and then removed the victim's wallet from the left rear pants pocket. The subject then fled on foot in a southbound direction on S. Carrollton Ave and then unknown.

The subject is described as a black male 30-40 yrs. old, 6'2" tall weighing 170# wearing a brown jaket with large Saints logo on the front, brown shorts, dark colored baseball cap

If you have information on this incident please call Second District
Detectives at 658-6020 or notify CrimeStoppers at 822-1111.

Remember to report any suspicious persons or activities you see in
your neighborhood by calling 821-2222. In an emergency, call 911

Major Bruce Little
Second District

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

NorthWest Carrollton resident activist speaks out on Health Care

Times Picayune Front Page Article June 23, 2009
Obama health plan earns La. disdain.

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama insists that offering Americans the choice of a government-run alternative to private insurance is indispensable to health care reform.
That public option, Obama wrote Sens. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and Max Baucus, D-Mont., earlier this month, would give Americans "a better range of choices, make the health care market more competitive, and keep the insurance companies honest."

Liberal activist groups last week began bombarding Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., with negative ads -- online to start, with radio and TV ads to follow -- for opposing the public option.

In fact, no one in the Louisiana congressional delegation supports the public option as envisioned by Obama, and only freshman Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao, R-New Orleans, remains undeclared on the question.

"At this point, I'm not sure where I stand on it, " Cao said.

The other Republicans in the delegation, including three medical doctors -- Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, and John Fleming, R-Minden -- all say they think a public option would ultimately destroy the private insurance market.

They agree with Mike Reitz, president of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, who made the rounds on Capitol Hill last week, visiting every member of the delegation except Cao and Boustany.

Reitz said that inserting a public plan in the market would rig the process. The tax-supported system, he said, would be able to artificially lower premiums and shift costs to private insurers, cutting away at any competitive advantage they might have.

"The government makes the rules, so they are always going to win the game, " he said.

Reitz predicted that employers would drop private coverage en masse, forcing employees in huge numbers into the public system.

"What employer is going to want to cover their employees if the government will do it?" Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-Quitman, asked.

Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, said consumers who move to the public plan won't realize until it's too late how limited their health care choices will be.

Landrieu and Rep. Charlie Melancon, D-Napoleonville, the delegation's only two Democrats, said they think a government-sponsored health care option should be introduced only under certain circumstances.

Melancon said a public alternative should be "an option of last resort" if market forces fail to lower health care costs.

Landrieu spokesman Aaron Saunders said the senator supports a "predominantly private system that features a federal backup plan that serves as a safety net." While she is "open to compromise, " Saunders said, Landrieu "does not believe that health care reform starts with a public option."

Landrieu's Republican Senate colleague, David Vitter, recently congratulated her for agreeing with him.

But activists supporting Obama's effort are incensed, especially because Landrieu signed a letter on the eve of her re-election last fall pledging her support for overhaul that included the choice of a "public health insurance plan." Saunders said his boss hadn't read the letter carefully.

An advocacy group called Change Congress has launched $10,000 in online ads, focused in New Orleans, asking: "Will Mary Landrieu sell out Louisiana for $1.6 million?" The dollar figure refers to the sum Landrieu has received in political contributions from health and insurance interests over the course of her senatorial career.

By week's end, MoveOn.Org announced it would air similar 60-second radio ads this week in New Orleans, while Democracy for America, a sister organization of Change Congress founded by Howard Dean, was creating a Landrieu-focused TV spot.

Besides the political donations to Landrieu, the Change Congress campaign features a testimonial from Carrollton resident Karen Gadbois, founder of the Web site "Squandered Heritage" and a breast cancer survivor who has no health insurance coverage for herself or her teenage daughter.

Later in the week, Change Congress promoted the story of Zach Hudson, a senior at the University of New Orleans who volunteered in Landrieu's re-election campaign but is now "disillusioned."

Hudson was most recently in the public eye as the young man who launched the campaign to persuade adult film star Stormy Daniels to run for the Senate against Vitter. Hudson said he is no longer involved in that effort

To Fleming, what supporters of a public option really want is a single-payer system. "It's just the first step to what their ultimate objective is: the elimination of competition, " he said.

But Alex Lawson, a health care researcher with the Institute for America's Future, said "health insurance is a classic example of a market failure" that can only be jolted into real competition by a robust public alternative.

Lawson is an author of a recent report that found that in Louisiana, Blue Cross and Blue Shield controls 61 percent of the market.

"There is absolutely no competitive pressure to either compete by delivering better services to the customer or by driving down premiums, " he said. "They can set rates at whatever they want to -- and do."

But Reitz dismissed that notion, saying Blue Cross and Blue Shield competes hard for every dollar in Louisiana.

The fate of Obama's public option is very much up in the air. At the end of last week, House Democrats issued a plan that included a public option, but the draft of a Senate Finance Committee plan, more mindful of centrists such as Landrieu, did not.

. . . . . . .

Jonathan Tilove can be reached at or 202.383.7827.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The lessons were delicious

Take a look at today's article in the Times Picayune. It features a photo and comments from NorthWest Carrollton resident Ronnie Seaton.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Records from City Hall

Have you been challenged in your attempt to get records from the city? Or, to the contrary, did you find that your request was readily answered?

Whatever your experience, if you have a story about your effort to acquire records from the City of New Orleans, I'd like to hear it. I'd also like to hear what you needed the records for.

Since Hurricane Katrina, concerned New Orleanians, charitable organizations, academic researchers, real estate developers, and neighborhood associations have discovered a dire need for access to permit applications, code enforcement activity, demolition lists, blighted properties, infrastructure repairs, crime records, and much more.

To help relieve that need, I'm working on a package of policy reforms called NolaStat, which I hope will be adopted by every candidate in the 2010 municipal elections. The central feature of the NolaStat reform is a recommendation that City Hall create a Web site to host administrative data which can be freely downloaded. The most compelling precedent for this is President Obama's revolutionary new Web site, which was itself inspired by the innovative D.C. Data Catalog .

We can make this reform happen. There's a unique convergence of events in our favor. Your story -- which can remain anonymous if you prefer -- may be vital to documenting the public's need for records.

Please contact me if you have a story you'd like to contribute. Alternatively, if you prefer, you can document your story in a ten-minute online survey.

And by all means, if you know someone else who has a story to document, please forward send then a link to this post.

Thank you,

Brian Denzer

Sunday, June 14, 2009

District A Town Hall Meeting (18 June 2009)


Thursday, June 18, 2009
Faith Baptist Church Fellowship Hall
2318 Fern Street

New Orleans District A

6:00-6:30pm Social & Refreshments
6:30-8:30pm Town Hall Meeting

Featured Speaker:
City of New Orleans District A Councilperson Shelley Midura

Discussing Opportunities and Challenges on
• City Finances
• Public Safety
• Flood Protection
• Code Enforcement
• Neighborhood Improvements

Friday, June 12, 2009

New neighbor

Today, June 12, 2009 at 2:15 P.M.

Ms Chloe Reinhard Fitch made her first appearance.
She clocked in a few weeks early at 4 lbs. 13 ozs. with a length of 18 in.
and full head of black curly hair.

Congradulations to the Reinhard & Fitch Families on Claiborne.
Chloe & Family

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Andrew Young Speaking in Carrollton This Weekend

Andrew Young will be speaking at
Central/St. Matthew UCC (1333 South Carollton Avenue)
Sunday, June 14 at 10am.

Ambassador Young is a native Orleanian and United Church of Christ minister whose formative childhood and teen years in church life were spent at Central United Church of Christ as part of a family of lifelong members. (Central and St. Matthew are worshipping together since Katrina flooded Central's building in Mid City.)

Dr. Young is a graduate of Gilbert Academy, a prep school which provided top rate education to African-Americans in the segregated first half of the 20th Century. The occasion of his speech is a reunion of Gilbert Academy alumni. Those interested in the background of this man who became a top associate of Dr. Martin Luther King in the Civil Rights movement and later a member of Congress, Mayor of Atlanta, and Ambassador to the United Nations---or those who just want to hear a fine speaker---may want to be there when he comes to Carrollton next Sunday.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

June General Meeting - TODAY!


• When: Wednesday, July 8th 7:30pm – 8:30pm
• Where: Incarnate Word - 8326 Apricot Street

Come meet your neighbors,
& discover what is going on in our area!

• Patrice Collins - Neighborhood Assistance Corp of America on YOUR Financial Fitness
• Chritian Roselund - Solar Tax Credits

• Volunteer Projects for July
• Planning for August's Night Out Against Crime
• Monthly magazine exchange
• Discussion of any other neighborhood issues important to you!

Night Out Against Crime is August 4th!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

'nuf said

What if China kept Nagin?

Too bad...
They let Nagin go to Austrailia...
now he'll eventually find his way home

Monday, June 8, 2009

2nd District Thefts

Between May 25, 2009 and present, the Second District has experienced
several thefts spread throughout the Second District. In the majority
of the incidents the thefts have been ornamental pots and flowers
taken from the lawns and porches of the victims.

The suspect responsible for the crimes is described as a white male,
25-30 years of age, approximately 6' in height with a medium build.
On one incident the subject was seen in a gold colored pickup truck.

If you have information on this suspect please call Second District
Detective Gore at 658-6422 or notify CrimeStoppers at 822-1111.

Remember to report any suspicious persons or activities you see in
your neighborhood by calling 821-2222. In an emergency, call 911

Major Bruce Little
Second District.

Where is the sidewalk?????

From: NorthWest Carrollton

To: Safety & Permits Faciane ; Edward J. Horan; Jared E. Munster; Winston H. Reid; Lennell Smith; Wesley P. Taylor; Andrew Holbein; Enrico J. Sterling; Shelley S. Midura; Amy E. Chandler; Robert Mendoza
Cc: NWCarrollton Board
Sent: Mon Jun 08 11:49:05 2009
Subject: Re: We'd like to see the sidewalk on Fig

I have not seen a response to my previous eMails.
We are having a General Neighborhood Meeting on Wednesday (June 10) and I am hoping for an update.

The property address is 2940 Joliet and it is owned by Greater Bibleway Baptist Church. The sand height on the lot alone is a code violation. But the sand has been allowed to spread and it now covers the sidewalk and the drains on both Joliet and Fig. We would like to property owner to be sited for ALL code violations associated with this location. We would very much like to have the sand that is covering the sidewalk removed. The sand that covered the drain on Fig has been scraped away by recent S&W Board work on Fig. BUT the drain will be completely closed over again, if something is not done to remove the source (on the lot) and if Public Works does not address cleaning off the sidewalk and the sand from the curb.

Where's the sidewalk?
Where's the sidewalk?

As a reminder we are planning a large tree planting on Fig in November and are hoping this issue can be addressed before then.

Jenel Hazlett for NorthWest Carrollton

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Taming the Dragon: Air Conditioning and Heating Equipment”

Tuesday June 9
5:30 - 7:00 PM
Community Center of St. Bernard
1107 LeBeau St.
Arabi, LA

Presenter: Andre Olagues, LSU AgCenter Associate

What to do when the AC goes out? Take time to consider the options of different heating and cooling systems for your home before your unit needs replacing. Consider the energy efficiency ratings of home cooling systems, and learn how the requirements for efficiency ratings are established. By selecting the most efficient and comfortable home environment systems you can reduce soaring energy costs.

For some quick tips on “Reducing Summer Utility Bills” visit the LSU AgCenter website.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Repairing your Sash Windows

Saturdays in June
10 AM – noon
The Green Project
2831 Marais St.

"Sash Window Repair Class"
Presenter: Bill Robinson, LSU AgCenter Associate

Join Bill Robinson for information and hands-on training on how to repair your historic windows. This class will run every Saturday in June. Space is limited, so sign up now with Angie Green at The Green Project:

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Mr. Beasley ... One of a kind

Mr. worries
Our friend and neighbor Mr. Beasley was a one of kind personality. I don't think that he ever met anyone who didn't fall completely for his warmth and charm. Mr. Beasley was one of the first members of NorthWest Carrollton's new organization. He came to our meetings even when we were meeting vagabonds. Anyone who knew him always hoped to be able to see him on his porch whenever we drove or walked by because a smile from Mr. Beasley was like getting a deposit in your personal happiness bank. We will miss him.

Services will be held Friday morning at 10 am at the Broadway Mission Baptist Church at 121 Alvin Calendar, in the Black Pearl Neighborhood. Alvin Calendar runs parallel to Milaudon and Lowerline and connects between Prytania and Pitt Streets. Phone number is 861-8835.

Hike the Lafitte Cooridor

Fifth Annual Hike of the Lafitte Corridor

WHO: Friends of Lafitte Corridor is a local grassroots group advocating for the creation of a greenway along three miles of (mostly) decommissioned rail line in the heart of New Orleans

WHAT: A three-mile hike down the Lafitte Corridor

WHEN: Saturday June 6th, 10:00 AM (National Trails Day)

WHERE: The hike begins at the front gate of Armstrong Park and continues along the Lafitte Corridor (between Lafitte and Saint Louis Streets). We expect to be crossing Carrollton Avenue around noon, stopping for lunch at Massey's Professional Outfitters and will finish at Canal Blvd around 1:30 PM.

WHY: Our annual hike is designed to raise awareness of the greenway project and demonstrate the widespread support it enjoys in the New Orleans community. This year we will be joined by Rebecca Leonard and Kurt Culbertson from Design Workshop, the firm recently awarded the greenway contract by the City of New Orleans.

A flyer with map is available here.

May 26, 2009

Bart Everson, President, Friends of Lafitte Corridor
Office: 504-520-5164
Cell: 812-391-0818

Also see this GOOD NEWS!
State of Louisiana Approves $2.6 Million for Lafitte Greenway in New Orleans

BATON ROUGE, La. - The state of Louisiana has approved $2.6 million
for the Lafitte Corridor Revitalization Plan and Greenway Trail Design
and Construction project in the Treme and Mid-City neighborhoods,
allowing the New Orleans Office of Recovery and Development
Administration to access federal Community Development Block Grant
funds needed to implement the project.

The 3.1 mile greenway corridor stretching along a former shipping and
railroad canal will be anchored by a bicycle and pedestrian trail that
connects Armstrong Park with City Park via Bayou St. John and the
Wisner and Marconi bike routes. The greenway will provide open space
and recreational, educational and cultural features to enhance the
lifestyle and economic vigor of surrounding neighborhoods.

The funding comes from the Long Term Community Recovery Program, a
$700 million pool of federal CDBG money set aside by the Louisiana
Recovery Authority and Office of Community Development to help local
governments rebuild and implement long-term recovery plans.

Both the Treme and Mid-City neighborhoods were badly flooded by
Hurricane Katrina, leaving the area residents with blighted and unused
open spaces. The Lafitte Greenway project will provide an attractive
recreational and mixed-use corridor that will serve as an economic
development stimulus for the area, as well as meet alternative
transportation needs and offer some services and jobs.

The project costs nearly $3 million in total, and will include design
elements such as intersection improvements, landscaping, lighting,
signage and drainage, as well as an analysis of land use, neighborhood
access to the corridor, business clustering, economic incentives,
neighborhood stabilization and blight reduction.

In addition to $2.6 million in CDBG disaster recovery funds, another
$398,248 in state funds will be dedicated to the project from the
Louisiana Transportation Enhancements program and the Governor's
Recreational Trail program.

LRA Executive Director Paul Rainwater said, "This greenway project
will transform the inner city corridor from an industrial to a
mixed-use space that will improve the economy of the area and enhance
residents' quality of life. The investment of disaster recovery funds
into public green spaces with biking and hiking trails will help
stimulate additional recovery and rebuilding efforts in the heart of
the city."

New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin said, "The city of New Orleans seeks to
implement national best practices in our rebuilding efforts. Notably,
urban planners of today advocate mixed-use developments that
incorporate retail, residential and recreational spaces tailored to
meet the daily needs of residents. The Lafitte Greenway project
captures the essence of this approach."

The state's LTCR program supports implementation of local governments'
long-term recovery plans in the most heavily impacted communities in
the state. In 2008, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban
Development approved LRA's request to reallocate $500 million in CDBG
dollars to the program, bringing to $700 million the total amount of
long-term recovery funding available to the parishes. Funds are
distributed among the parishes through the LRA/Office of Community
Development according to a formula based on estimated housing and
infrastructure damages inflicted by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

In total, the LRA has allocated $410,720,016 of CDBG funding to the
city of New Orleans for L TCR projects.

Created in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita in
2005, the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) is the coordinating and
planning body leading the most extensive rebuilding effort in American
history. The central point for hurricane recovery in Louisiana, the
LRA works closely with the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and
Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) and partners with state and federal
agencies to oversee more than $20 billion worth of programs, speed the
pace of rebuilding, remove hurdles and red tape and ensure that
Louisiana recovers safer and stronger than before.

Monday, June 1, 2009

South Claiborne Avenue (Napoleon to MLK) Streetscape

South Claiborne Avenue (Napoleon to MLK) Streetscape*
Open House
WHAT: Open house to view the schematic design of upcoming streetscape enhancements.
WHERE: Second Zion Baptist Church #1, 2929 Second Street (just off S. Claiborne Ave)
WHEN: June 8, 2009 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

*A streetscape is a public improvement project that will enhance the public area and trigger subsequent recovery and investment in surrounding neighborhoods. This development is designed to help create additional and continued private investment in the City’s key recovery areas. Streetscape projects enhance the area surrounding the actual roadway, but do not include roadway repair or reconstruction. Project options include improvements to sidewalks, walkways, bike paths, vehicular and pedestrian signalization and signage, landscaping and public art.

Similiar streetscape work is to be done on the Napoleon-Parish Line segment of South Claiborne in the near future.

Insulation Choices for New Orleans Homes

Tuesday, June 2
9:15 – 9:45 AM
St. Gabriel's Community Center
4700 Pineda St.

Presenter: Andre Olagues, LSU AgCenter Associate

Brief half-hour presentation on selecting insulation for your home. Keep your utility bills lower by understanding the choices in insulation types. Learn about the pros and cons of the different insulation types and select the best insulation for your budget. The presentation covers the types of insulation on sale in the New Orleans market, a comparison buyer chart and other related areas such as understanding R-values and effective R-Values, and consumer protection laws related to insulation.