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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

4 Corners

There has been a war on the corner of Carrollton and Claiborne. The enemy has shifted at times, and there was never a Peace or Resolution. Just an uneasy cease fire.

Our Neighborhood was never much of a player in this war. We live in the Territory but we had always figured it was someone elses fight. That we were powerless to effect a change and that the outcome would be one that we would have to live with.

As is said so often “Katrina changed everything”, it changed our landscape and it reinvigorated our desire to save our Neighborhood.

Jenel…..One of the quickest thinkers ever, she walked the Neighborhood and passed out flyers till she assembled the beginings of a Team. She wrote the letters and spoke up when perhaps Silence was what was expected.

Scott… One of the first ones back, no gas, no hot water, no heat. His first fight was with Entergy and our then Council Person. He is The Architect, and the quiet force who balances our strident yells with a quiet firm no.

Kim…. The Bow Tie Man, he is the Yin to our Yang and flew the Flag. Before we met I would silently salute the Flag on the front of his house on Carrollton. “DON’T GIVE UP THE SHIP” it said. He has taught me a lot.

Morrey…. The passionate pragmatic actress. See her now at Southern Rep. [shameless plug] She kept us on point with paperwork and membership and remebering to dot the i and cross the t. It made all the diffrence.

Our last recruit. Debi…. She lives at the corner of Blight and Despair. Her house overlooks the 4 Corners. When we met she was worn to the nub from this fight and sure that the outcome would be one that was inevitable. She brought reality to the situation. When ever I thought that the fight was over I drove to the Parking Lot and looked at her house. I thought about being a single mother and trying to make a home for a 11 year old. As the piles of trash and gas tanks and flooded cars grew I thought about what it was like to live there. As I write this I am listening to “Room with a View [of the Blues} by Johhny Adams. That is her theme song.

Me…All I know is that there is a right way and a wrong way, and my list of gratitude is long. Alan at Think New Orleans he pointed me in a the direction of Civic Activism that has forever changed the way I see things. Maitri the Magnificent and Ray from New Orleans relocated to Austin and back again with a shovel and broom.

All of this is an introduction to the announcement this week that Walgreens will be working with the City, and the residents of our Flooded City. They are planning on building according to the Carrollton Overlay and including a much needed Grocery in the equation. Marc Robert is on board with this and we are as well.

For the first time in a long time the residents of the 4 corners are working together for a better community.

We have Shelley Midura to thank for that. Shelley did not even have time to hang her hat in her City Hall office, and she was meeting with us, and other residents in the area. She and Alex Morgan worked tirelessly and dogedly to resolve this issue. At a time when there are nothing but issues, she gave this one her full attention and we can not say enough about her even handed approach.
So Thanks to all those who made it happen. Walgreens, Gordon Kolb, Justin Schmidt, Marc Robert and all those that care about the future of this City. And not to forget, Mid City, Neron Place, Marilyn Barbera [The Sage], Richard Layman in D.C. Michelle and Peter, for gas when I was running low.

I have probably forgotten to thank you, my mind is now hampered by chemo and Double Post Traumatic Stress, and the relentless sound of jack Hammers in my Neighborhood.
So Thanks… Karen Gadbois

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