Search This Blog

Saturday, October 31, 2009

NorthWest Carrollton Resident plays at VooBoo Fest

McGehee Orff Ensemble

The McGehee School Orff Ensemble will play VooDoo Fest's children's area, called VooBoo Fest, on Sunday November 1 at 11:00am.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Lagnaippe Rocky Horror Review

Courtesy of JPASJust in time for Halloween, JPAS stages 'The Rocky Horror Show, ' starring Richard Hutton, center, as Dr. Frank 'N Furter, and featuring, clockwise from top, Chris Wecklein, Marlene Thian, Helen Jane Planchet, Lara Grice and Diana Macera.


What: The musical cult classic finds a naive couple stumbling into the lair of the "sweet tranvestite from Transexual, Transylvania." Costumes encouraged for the 10:30 p.m., especially on Halloween.

When: Fridays at 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 7:30 and 10:30 p.m. through Nov. 7.

Where: Westwego Performing Arts Theatre, 177 Sala Avenue in Westwego.

Tickets: $30 for adults, $27 for seniors (65 and older) and $20 for students. No children's tickets will be sold due; parental discretion is strongly advised. Call 504.885.2000, or visit

Under the direction of Jerry Lee Leighton, the musical's ghoulish characters continuously gyrate and swirl around the perverse master of the house (Richard Hutton), a rakishly regal transvestite from the planet Transsexual who eventually seduces his two unwary houseguests. Every conceivable sci-fi and horror-story device, from hacksaws to lasers, from outer-space aliens to a laboratory-concocted muscle man, are compiled into this madcap Hitchcock-gone-haywire plot, set to boisterous rock ' n' roll.

Rocky Horror Show group

'70s campy cult classic does the time warp again in Westwego
By The Times-Picayune
October 30, 2009, 5:00AM

A naive young couple's car breaks down on a desolate road. Who do they turn to for help? Why, to the same mad transsexual scientist who has been "helping" stranded innocents for three decades, of course.

Dr. Frank-N-Furter, along with his cast of campy miscreants of "The Rocky Horror Show" have taken to the stage at the Westwego Performing Arts Theatre, and judging by opening-night audience reaction, the 36-year-old spoof of 1950s B-rated horror movies hasn't lost any luster.

Richard O'Brien wrote "The Rocky Horror Show" book, music and lyrics for the original, 1973 stage production at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs in London. The show had a U.S. preview at the Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles before a short Broadway run in 1975. Later the same year, "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" movie was released and became a cult hit.

The innocent couple wanders into a creepy castle where a transsexual convention happens to be taking place. Janet (Lucy Adair Faust), our Kewpie doll-faced, pony-tailed heroine, is initially reluctant to become drawn into the decadence. Her nerdy, bespectacled fiancé, Brad (Matias Grau III), is more game, if only for the chance to call for roadside assistance.

Like New Orleans college freshmen experiencing their first Mardi Gras, Brad and Janet are at first astonished and later liberated from their inhibitions.

Noting the silver-haired, conservatively dressed crowd at the Jefferson Performing Arts Society's early-bird show, I doubted I'd witness the essential audience participation that has traditionally accompanied both film and stage versions of "Rocky Horror." Since 1977, audiences have joined in by costuming, shouting favorite lines and doing the "Time Warp" again.

But I was wrong. Before Brad and Janet even stepped out into the stormy night, a rowdy, costumed group of 20-somethings, wearing black eye makeup and carrying props, jump-started the action. At the top of the second act, the theater's front row began denigrating the play's narrator (Jerry Lee Leighton). By the finale, the entire audience was on its feet, enthusiastically doing the pelvic thrust in a reprise of the "Time Warp" dance.

"The Rocky Horror Show" would not reach its comedic zenith without the strong performance of Hutton as the delightfully wicked Dr. Frank-N-Furter. He magnificently struts around the stage, outfitted in a black patent leather corset, pearls, fishnet stockings and crimson high heels, belting out "Sweet Transvestite." He displays a more dignified decadence than Tim Curry's lascivious screen personification, but delivers the carnal punch nonetheless.

His lively sidekicks Columbia (Lara Grice) and Magenta (Marlene Thian), handyman Riff Raff (Chris Wecklein) and the exceedingly buff Rocky (Brandon Sutton) contribute their own comically horrific hijinks.

An excellent small band with musical direction by Alan Payne keeps cast members rockin' and rollin'. A simple set with effective lighting and playful black costumes set the stage for chaotic madness.

The result is a lot of campy fun, no matter whether you're reliving youthful indiscretions or experiencing this nonsensical show for the first time.

-- Mary Rickard, The Times-Picayune

Thursday, October 29, 2009

NOPD - Preventing Auto Theft - newer vehicles

There have been a few cases in the last several months where people were victim's of an Autotheft or Burglary after they believed they locked there vehicles.

It has come to our attention that some newer model cars will not lock and/or trunk will not close if you have a valet key or a remote key fob inside the vehicle. Please be cognizant of the fact and check to see if your vehicle has this feature.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sex Offender Notification

Russel Counterman
Male - Caucasian - 5'8" - 180 lbs - Brown Hair (bald) - Hazel eyes - 48 years old

8422 Nelson St Apt 2

Date: 5/17/2006
RS Code/Description: 14.81.1 - Pornography involving juveniles
Federal Conviction - Possession Child Pornography - 18 USC 225(a)(4)(B)

City Budget Suggestions

My personal suggestion is that we cut garbage pickup to ONE DAY a week and cut the Sanitation Contracts in half. It takes our family 2 weeks to get close to filling the behemoth garbage can.

BGR Report - Master Plan - Citizen Participation

Click here to read the BGR's report

Key points in the BGR that I personally agree with:

- Develop a participation system that connects neighborhoods directly to the City Planning Commission.

- Redraw the planning district boundaries (as necessary) to better reflect neighborhood boundaries and interconnections.

- Deploy planning staff in a strategic manner. (AMEN! HALLELUJAH!, especially if this means that neighborhoods get a planner who will know the neighborhoods and the people and understand hot button issues and hopes because there is an existing direct relationship - see the first bullet)

- On matters that affect two or more neighborhoods, bring the relevant neighborhoods together. (We're probably talking to each other already, but YES please bring the affected neighborhoods together!)

- Require an official response to neighborhood concerns. (Yes, please make this required. It happens sometimes. It would be great if it were consistently done.)

- Either extend the comment period for the draft master plan or remove the community participation program from the draft plan. (Yes... a new layer of semi-elected, unofficials scare the bejessus out of me! Let the CPC work directly with concerned citizens and neighborhood groups. I know they, CPC, know how to do this.)

Thanks very much but the one thing that we have PROVEN, REPEATEDLY is that we can quite effectively speak for ourselves.

Jenel Hazlett

Nola Stat - reducing waste in the City Budget

From: Brian Denzer
Subject: [NolaStat] How do we live within our means without cutting essential city programs and services?
Date: Oct 27, 2009 10:38 AM

The public was been invited to City Council chambers last night to comment on what the city's budget priorities should be.

From my own analysis of the "Budgeting for Outcomes" process over the last two years, I intend to make the comment that the process of yearly performance reviews as part of an annual budget cycle is insufficient for managing government performance. We certainly will have to balance the budget this year, but severe budget imbalances are predicted for the foreseeable future. We have to ensure that budget adjustments don't adversely impact essential city services, or community priorities.

No family could ever live within a budget or fulfill its goals if it only reviewed its finances and priorities once a year. Government is no different.

How do we live within our means without cutting essential city programs and services?

Achieving annual performance goals while observing fiscal discipline requires regular review as part of a weekly or bi-weekly process. This is the lesson from a dozen other cities that have implemented “stat” processes. It's also essential that the entire community be invited to participate in an inclusive process of setting priorities.

Baltimore's CitiStat process reduced waste by $350 million over seven years. CitiStat didn't just reduce wasteful expenditures. It allowed mayors Martin O'Malley and Sheila Dixon to reinvest resources in improving access to affordable housing, reducing violent crime, moving blighted houses back into commerce, reducing lead poisioning in children with abatement activities, faster street repairs, building modern schools, improving equity in the city's economic progress, greening the city, and increasing drug treatment programs. And in order to keep the public informed of agency performance, all reports compiled for CitiStat meetings are posted on the city's Web site for the public to view.

Washington, D.C.'s CapStat process went even further, posting agency data on the city's Web site. Public access to city data became the basis for Apps for Democracy, allowing the community to tap city data to build new ways to inform themselves about government operations, including an iPhone application that alerts neighborhood residents of all building permit applications to help eliminate surprise land use changes.

I have been conducting policy research over the last several months to advance a NolaStat policy reform for New Orleans. NolaStat is envisioned as a process to manage the performance of city agencies, and to improve public access to city data. It is a policy that is completely consistent with community participation in the budget process, and that fulfills the vision of the Master Plan to improve community input in land use decisions. In short, a NolaStat reform offers New Orleanians the opportunity to create a better and more participatory government. It isn't just about changing the people we elect to office, but instead, it's about changing the operating system of New Orleans.

My hope is that all candidates for municipal office in 2010 will adapt their platforms to include the creation of a NolaStat policy, using the best practices in other cities to model a solution for New Orleans that improves the performance of city agencies, and that improves public access to city information.

Brian Denzer

This is my personal favorite part of Brian's report:
1) Many offices have no measurable outcomes indicated other than a description of what the office does. There were 62 offices in which no outcomes were offered. Instead, a disclaimer was used as a placeholder, “Measures to be developed in 2009.”

He is RIGHT. How can we know what to cut and where in the budget
IF we don't really know what each department does?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Rocky Horror Review

A review by Bradley Troll at theatrebelowsealevel

I was a Sophomore in college the first time I watched the movie version. My best friend Julie brought over this VHS with a big pair of lips on the cover, and she promised that my life would never again be the same. I settled in and watched–determined to find the meaning, understand the symbolism and waited for that moment when every odd thing I was watching would suddenly be explained, make sense. I didn’t heed Frank-N-Furter’s advice; I didn’t simply “give myself over to absolute pleasure.” When it ended, I was perplexed. I watched it again the next week, didn’t think too hard, and something finally soaked in. Julie was right; my life was never the same.

Forgive the indulgence of that story, but I promise it relates ot my most recent theatrical excursion–over to see JPAS’s production of Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show. Now I’ve been avoiding the stage play for many years because the movie (you know, with the additional word “Picture” in the title) is so unique and specific and special to me. And even though I knew the play was the predecessor and deserved artistic respect as such, I always believed that any staged production that I would see would attempt to recreate the movie experience and, ultimately, be a big disappointment. But on opening night at JPAS, I gave myself over to absolute pleasure once more and left with something unexpected: an entirely new love of the story.

At this point in the review, I usually try to give a brief synopsis of the plot, but for this story, I find that to be a somewhat unusual talk. What can I say? I could tell you, if you’re unfamiliar, that it is the tale of a young couple, a transvestite alien, and the creation of a human monster sex toy. Or I could say that it’s a mix of B-movie parody, rock musical, science fiction, and tragedy. Then again I could say it’s a fable, illustrating the consequences of unabashed hedonism. Or is it the ultimate story of self-acceptance? Perhaps it would suffice to say that it’s glam comedic theatrical spectacle overload. Let’s just leave it at this: if you don’t know the story by now, shame on you!

There are a few choices to make when staging something that has been made iconic by film: recreate the movie, do something entirely new and different, or find a happy medium between the two. Director Jerry Lee Leighton makes the latter choice in his production–a wise move. He captures the spirit of the cult film by incorporating just enough of the familiar to keep us connected (even encouraging audience participation) and just enough of the new to keep us surprised. Several audience members who had come prepared with costumes, props, and a rowdy spirit played along with what they knew and were delighted by the unfamiliar.

Leighton, aside from directing, leads us through the tale in the role of the Narrator, and serves as a wonderful guide. His irreverent sarcasm sneaks in through his academic rhetoric, making him a delightfully cantankerous storyteller who isn’t afraid to shoot the bird to the audience when they accuse him of having no neck; you don’t get that in the film. As the young lovers Brad and Janet, Matias Grau III and Lucy Adair Faust become progressively corrupted by the scandalous Dr. Frank-N-Furter. Grau goes full-force in his portrayal of Brad, cleverly pushing the nerd to the absurd. Faust, though she has a beautiful singing voice, is unfortunately a bit more subtle, and I’m not sure her transition from goody-goody to… well, you know what they call Janet… ever really happens.

Iconic characters Magenta (Marlene Thian), Riff Faff (Chris Wecklein), and Coumbia (Lara Grice) are played a bit differently from the film version, and we feel as though we’re meeting them for the first time. Wecklein, especially, creates a more sinister servant than one might expect and follows through with wonderful comedic timing and a great singing voice. Grice’s Columbia is wackier than the girl you may remember, and the zaniness fits her well. However, it is Armando L. Leduc who comes through as a real scene-stealer in his dual roles of Eddie and Dr. Scott. Especially in the latter role, Leduc puts a bad-boy intellectual spin on the stodgy character that makes for unexpected laughs; you will leave talking about it.

In the film, the doctor’s muscular creation, Rocky, had all of his dialogue removed from the script. For this reason, it was nice to see Rocky come to spoken life through the near-nude Brandon Sutton who gave Rocky a rarely-heard voice. And it would be a crime not to praise the amazing ensemble of Transylvanians that make this world truly come to life. Often draped around the set as voyeuristic eyes, each member creates a character for him/herself that is distinct and interesting. Beyond that, they nail the harmonies and rich tones of the deceptively simple musical score that is executed wonderfully by the orchestra/band under the direction of Alan Payne.

But of course the big question remains: what about Frank-N-Furter? In the make-it-or-break-it role of the show, Richard Hutton does not disappoint. His performance is reminiscent of Tim Curry , but he doesn’t set out to duplicate or imitate–if anything it is an homage. Completely comfortable in his skin-baring fabulousness, Hutton is funny, shocking, and ultimately heartbreaking as he sings of going home.

Minor technical issues aside, such as some microphone buzzing and auditory issues due to the onstage band, JPAS’s The Rocky Horror Show makes me a believer in the possibilities in tackling the iconic. With JPAS’s signature hospitality and encouragement of good-natured chaos, a time-warping trip to Westwego makes for an evening of near-absolute pleasure and the rediscovery of a classic.

The Rocky Horror Show runs through November 7 with Friday and Saturday showings at 7:30 and Saturday late-night showings at 10:30. For more information, call (504) 885-2000 or visit

Rocky Horror standing

Monday, October 26, 2009

Districts A and B Budget Town Hall


Districts A and B Budget Town Hall

Tuesday, Oct. 27 from 7 to 9 p.m. in City Hall Council Chambers!


- Educate citizens on 2010 Budget Crisis
- Encourage public engagement in budget process
- Elicit public input on priorities for budget expenditures and revenues
- Galvanize support for a democratic budget process

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Model City for the 21st Century

Shaping our image post-Katrina.
by Scott S. Cowen, President of Tulane University and co-founder of the Fleur de Lis Ambassadors program.

October 24, 2009, 7:00AM
Next summer, New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region will commemorate the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. This anniversary is likely to be the last one to garner considerable national visibility as Katrina fades from the American consciousness.

It is crucial that we take the time now to think about how we want others to perceive our city and our rebuilding efforts, and take the necessary steps to ensure that the anniversary message we send is the one we want people to hear.

After President Obama's recent visit, Amy Liu of the Brookings Institute aptly stated that the fifth anniversary of Katrina will be a major milestone in the city's projected long-term recovery. She asked: What will be the community's unified message about its progress and vision for the future? How we answer this question will shape the perceptions others have of New Orleans and establish expectations about the city's future.

Personally, I hope our message is that New Orleans is not only en route to a full recovery but is thinking beyond recovery, with the aspiration to become "The Model City for the 21st Century," a city defined by its resiliency and by a commitment to community transformation and civic activism.

New Orleans has the potential to become such a model. It has retained its distinctive characteristics while dramatically transforming itself in ways that can serve as an example for other cities. New Orleans has been resilient and is demonstrating the power of citizen activism as it converts tragedy into opportunity and positive change.

By the fifth Katrina anniversary, we must articulate a vision and describe it in an inspirational and credible set of powerful messages both for ourselves and the world. We also must hold ourselves accountable for achieving the vision.
If we do, we can proudly say that Katrina did not defeat us; it made us stronger and better as we went beyond recovery to community renewal.

During his visit, President Obama told us "change is hard, and big change is even harder." New Orleans knows this well.

The improvements in public education and ethics reform prove that we are capable of significant, positive change. Likewise, our desire to improve health care, the criminal justice system, neighborhoods, transportation, wetlands restoration and flood protection show that we recognize what is important as we look to our future.

Sadly, this opportunity for civic transformation would probably not have occurred absent Katrina. We owe it to those who suffered and sacrificed to take Katrina's tragedy and transform it into sustainable positive change.

If tragedy leads to a substantially better future for all of us, New Orleans will be "The Model City for the 21st Century" because our experiences -- positive and negative -- can inform others around the country committed to community revitalization. It will demonstrate our character as New Orleanians.

The key to defining, communicating and realizing our vision and community message lies in superb leadership throughout the community. With capable leadership, anything is possible. Each one of us has the responsibility to exhibit exemplary individual leadership in whatever we do and to support deserving political and organizational leadership in others. Let's embrace the people who can help develop a vision for our city, and who can passionately and persuasively communicate this vision to others while also demonstrating the courage and administrative experience to make the vision a reality. We should expect no less of ourselves and those who represent us.

Let's commemorate the fifth anniversary of Katrina as the rebirth of a city, a celebration of resilience, and a desire to succeed no matter the odds.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fermentating with Hollygrove Farm

At the Southern Food and Beverage Museum

FARMentation: Fermenting with Hollygrove Farm
Sunday, October 25
2 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Cost: $10 Early Bird Special Online, $20 at the door.
Limited to 50 people.
At the Southern Food and Beverage Museum

Cooking Demonstrations + Tastings:

2 p.m. - Cash (Donation) Bar Opens

2:30 p.m. - Satsuma Beer with Aaron Hyde of Brewstock

3:30 p.m. - Yeasted Breads with Mary Dixie of Emeril's

4: 15 p.m. - Kombucha and Herbcrafting with Jim Bremmer of Hollygrove Market and Farm

5:00 p.m. - Cash Bar closes

As Todd Price of the Times-Picayune observes, "A poboy loaf and a pint of beer are like two twins that took different paths through life. On Sunday, October 25th, SoFAB and Hollygrove Market and Farm team up to explore fermentation their first joint cooking event, FARMentation. The entire day will be devoted to showcasing new and interesting ideas for using the fall produce that will be showing up in the Hollygrove produce boxes.

Aaron Hyde from Brewstock will be there with his home-brewing equipment, making satsuma beer, Jim Bremmer will have an herb-crafting and kombucha demonstration, and Mary Dixie, the Pastry Chef at Emeril's, will make yeasted breads. Tastings are included!

Hollygrove Market is a non-profit enterprise that seeks to put local and fresh organic produce into the hands of the Hollygrove and New Orleans communities. What can be grown onsite in the growing farmland is sold in the market, but other suppliers are also found through backyard growers, community gardens, urban micro-farms in New Orleans, and rural farms throughout southern Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Every Saturday they hold a CSA-style market and boxes of produce are sold to the public. This event will help support the market as well as the Southern Food and Beverage Museum in their efforts to promote food knowledge and enjoyment.

Friday, October 23, 2009

2nd District NOPD - NONPACC Meeting

Thanks to Central Carrollton for typing up meeting notes
and posting them on their blog.


At the end of the meeting Fred Ratke, who has been erasing graffiti throughout the city for 10 years, spoke briefly about their program. For more about it, visit his website And he encouraged citizens to call him about graffiti in their neighborhoods. The number to call is 486-9694. It is a free service.

50% of the stop signs can now be cleaned. The amount of graffiti has tripled since Katrina. They will respond within 7 days of when you call.

Rocky Horror @ JPAS stars NorthWest Carrollton Resident

Rocky Horror Show
OCt 23 - Nov 7th
Westwego Performing Arts Theatre, 177 Sala Avenue in Westwego
It's really not as far as you think it is.
Earhart to Clearview across the Huey P, follow the river and you're there in 20 mintues.

Richard Hutton stars as the infamous Dr. Frank ‘N Furter, the “sweet transvestite from Tran-sexual-Transylvania!” Hutton transitions from recently playing the role of King Arthur in Lerner and Lowe’s CAMELOT at Rivertown Repertory Theatre, into the high-heeled and fishnet stockings of Dr. Frank ‘N Furter for THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW with JPAS! Hutton has been seen as the leading man on stages throughout the Big Easy including Tulane Summer Lyric, Le Petit Theatre and on the JPAS stages. This is the first role where he has worn three-inch high-heels and a bustier!

Rocky Horror Show group

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Properties Owned by Road Home

There are 3 ways to find out if a property has been sold to the Road Home:

1) The street number should be written in orange spray paint in front of the property

2) After a property is sold to the Road Home it is transferred to the Louisiana Land Trust (LLT). You can view a spreadsheet of all the properties owned by the LLT by going to clicking on “Property Inventory” on the left hand side
and then clicking on “Current Property Listings” in the middle of the page.

3)You can go the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority’s website
and click on their iMap
and select the neighborhood you are interested in.
(NorthWest Carrollton is part of the LEONIDAS/West Carrollton neighborhood.)
Under the “Program” drop down select LLT.
The ALL PROGRAMS option doesn't show all properties.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Gretna outlaws shipping containers

Gretna outlaws storage boxes
Shipping containers banned by council

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 By C.J. Lin West Bank bureau

When Hurricane Katrina damaged the roof of Joe Harrison's garage, the 64-year-old Gretna resident and professional magician bought two shipping containers to store the tricks of his 50-year-old trade.

When his wife died, her things went into the containers to make room for his daughter to move back in with him.

"I couldn't just throw everything away," said Harrison, who along with a group of business owners persuaded the City Council to take a monthlong moratorium in September after officials issued 30-day warnings for owners to get rid of the containers.

But Harrison will now have to find other ways to store his belongings.

Citing aesthetics and safety issues, the council decided last week to enact a ban on using shipping containers as permanent storage units. The ban will rid the city of about 55 containers scattered around town. Several are owned by various city departments.

"Let's face it -- if we're going to keep this community viable, we're going to need to increase our standards," Councilman Vincent Cox said. "I don't look at this as a penalization. Everybody has a certain obligation to make things better, not just government."
Letters will be sent out this week telling owners that they will have 30 days to get rid of the containers before they are cited, City Attorney Mark Morgan said. Most of the structures were never permitted anyway, he told the council last week.

The decision comes despite the business owners' pleas that they need the containers for their operations, including storing records, work equipment or inventory.

"A construction company never does really have enough lay-down room or storage space," said Darrel Bond, who has operated a construction business on Richard Street for more than 20 years. "It would create a hardship."

Several council members expressed concern that forcing people to get rid of containers would unfairly burden businesses since some have had them before their properties were zoned in a manner prohibiting containers.

Monticello Canal & SELA Projects

See this link for a very interesting report on the Monticello Canal.

We're keeping our eyes on the upcoming SELA projects.
We have significant concerns that the SELA projects will increase the volume and flowrate of water into the Monticello Canal resulting in drainage backup into our streets and houses.

The report says that our concerns are not totaly unfounded.

(thanks to you mb)

Networking through Disaster

The link below is taken from the full article below by Malia Politzer published in
Then there’s the NorthWest Carrollton Civic Association. When the city decided to make an exception to local zoning laws in order to build a large Walgreens in the center of an empty lot, leaving little room for a much-needed grocery store, the community association went to the media. When the newspapers rejected the story, the association members took matters into their own hands. They started a neighborhood blog and became their own media outlet.

“We discovered that when no one is paying attention in the print or TV media, you can get people to pay attention though the blogosphere,” said Jenel Hazlett, the founder of NorthWest Carrollton Civic Association who—along with Karen Gadbois—became one of the leaders in the blogging venture.

By reaching out to other neighborhood associations, the community launched a highly effective e-mail campaign, requesting that other neighborhoods e-mail blast Walgreens and the local government in coordination with their blogs.

The group’s insistence paid off. By August 2006, Walgreen’s changed its plan. The site not only included the much-needed grocery store, but it also complied with residents’ demands that the buildings fit in with the historic character of the neighborhood.

“Once we got started and realized the power of the post, it made a tremendous difference in our capacity to lobby for our neighborhood,” said Hazlett. “Through our efforts, we were able to make the government realize we’re here, we’re going to be here, and we have opinions.”

Sometimes disaster brings out the best in a community. In New Orleans, it’s been transformational. As members of the community come together to rebuild their city, they are also pioneering new applications of social media to give citizens a stronger voice in the democratic process.

Although the New Orleans technological revolution might be new, in many ways its use as a community tool is a natural extension of traditional New Orleans culture.

“This is New Orleans. It’s always been a close-knit community,” said Hazlett. “Now, we’re just that much closer.”

Full Article
When the levees broke in 2005 and water engulfed the city of New Orleans, George “Loki” Williams, a New Orleans native whose family connection to the city goes back hundreds of years, evacuated to New York City.

In New Orleans, the phone towers were down. Many cell phones in the area were not getting service. Most of Williams’s friends had evacuated to different cities around the country, and those who had remained were reachable only via text message or e-mail. Desperate for first-hand accounts of what was happening in his city, Williams flipped through television channels and scoured newspapers and online news sources for anything that would give him useful insight into what was happening on the ground. He didn’t find much. Williams said, “We were looking at complete failure, not just on the government end, but also from the mainstream media. They could have covered a lot of useful things that could have helped people. Instead of useful information it went towards, “’Oh my God, there are looters!’”

Like many other New Orleanians in exile, Williams turned away from the useless mainstream media and logged on to the Internet. Through the group blog he had started weeks before the storm,, Williams reached out to other New Orleanian bloggers—most of whom he’d never met—requesting that they collaborate to post information and resources for the larger community on the site.

At its height, there were 15 bloggers regularly posting to on topics ranging from FEMA and the government response to the flood, to analyzing and critiquing coverage by mainstream media, to personal narratives detailing the experiences of those attempting to rebuild their lives. The blog soon drew the attention of New Orleans community members and mainstream media alike and has since received coverage from local radio stations, the BBC, Air America, and the Times-Picayune.

Upon returning to the city, the bloggers began meeting for monthly “geek dinners,” reinforcing their online community with a physical one, and started a digital newsletter to keep the group alive. What started with a few lonely bloggers has since spiked to a network of nearly 300.

New Orleans is better known for its thriving music culture than its digital savvy, but four years after Katrina wiped out an entire city, citizen journalism and social networking tools have become inextricably interwoven into the fabric of New Orleans’s post-Katrina culture.

Home to more than 3,000 charities and nonprofits, 270 neighborhood associations, and dozens of coalitions and community groups, New Orleans is in the midst of a civic renaissance. Frustrated with inept and inefficient local and federal governments, the people of New Orleans have harnessed the vast power of the Internet to network, fill their needs, and reach out to the traditional media. Armed with blogs, Twitter, Yahoo groups, and wikis, nonprofits and citizen groups are transforming grassroots community, organizing into a potent force that is helping to determine how New Orleans will be rebuilt.

“In the aftermath of the storm, the digital community here began to unify in a fashion that I’ve never seen anywhere else in the world,” said George Williams.

Geek dinners were just the tip of the iceberg. Today, many members receive press releases from local nonprofits. Many others have moved beyond blogging, going on to launch online advocacy groups, nonprofits, and community watchdog sites of their own.

One such organization is, launched by mother-and-son team Sandy and Stanford Rosenthal. Using e-mail listings and YouTube videos to demystify the main causes of the Katrina flooding, the Rosenthals advocate for legislation that would improve the levy system.

Another site,, is an “open-sourced citizen watch group” that uses mapping tools to identify local crime waves and hotspots, inviting residents to add their own crime statistics and anecdotes.

Yet another group seamlessly blends online social networking with old-fashioned, face-to-face relationships. Unified Nonprofits of Greater New Orleans consists of 50 or so people who are involved in New Orleans nonprofits. Members meet every Monday in person to share tips with one another and also keep in touch over a listserv.

Other community sites include Net2NO, a social-networking site aimed at helping home-grown New Orleans businesses and nonprofits; American Zombie, an investigative and government watchdog blog; and dozens of others.

Social Networking Solutions to Disaster

Post-Katrina New Orleans is not unique in its use of Internet technology in the face of a natural disaster. According to Edward Vielmetti, a freelance consultant on system networks and Internet technology, “Whenever there is a disaster, emergency networks mobilize. Blogs and chat forums generally used for mundane, ordinary interests activate, helping people to pass news along that isn’t just one-to-one, or even one-to-eleven, but one-to-tens-of-thousands.”

An example of this phenomenon occurred when, in 1995, a major earthquake hit Kobe, Japan and disrupted phone networks. Even though this was at the beginning of widespread Internet use, chat rooms immediately became the primary means of communication, providing residents with live, moment-to-moment news updates and diffused, first-hand accounts of what was happening on the ground in the damaged city.

Citizens’ emergency response to Hurricane Gustav, which hit New Orleans in August 2008, surpassed their response to Katrina due to the advent of Twitter feeds. Williams attributes his timely escape from the city during Gustav largely to live Twitter updates from those in New Orleans who announced which roads were closed and which streets were flooded or blocked by debris.

Yet what makes post-Katrina New Orleans unique is the degree to which digital networks have become ensconced in physical communities, even four years later. This digital revolution is not limited to bloggers and tech geeks—many people who had barely used the Internet before Katrina for more than sending e-mails are some of the leaders of the grassroots digital activism movement.

Take Karen Gadbois, a 53-year-old textile artist and mother of a teenage girl. Four years ago, Gadbois didn’t know what a blog was. She had never owned a digital camera and didn’t know that photo-sharing Web sites like even existed.

Now, she’s widely known as the poster child for New Orleans multimedia citizen-journalism. By taking pictures of her neighbors’ houses and posting them to Flickr and SquanderedHeritage, the blog she founded in the aftermath of the storm, she managed to notify neighbors that their houses were on the narrowly publicized demolition list, allowing them to take action in time to save their homes.

Her blogging effort was pivotal in exposing a scandal within the New Orleans Affordable Housing (NOAH) program, where millions of dollars in funds designated to help fix the homes of elderly and poor were lost to corruption. Some of the houses allegedly fixed by NOAH did not even exist, while others were owned by slumlords and the families of politicians.

Gadbois’s work resulted in an FBI investigation; press coverage in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the local paper, Gambit; and a Peabody Award-winning investigative multimedia project.

“That’s when I started to understand the power of the alternative media meeting with the mainstream media,” said Gadbois.

Recently voted “New Orleanian of the Year” by Gambit, New Orleans’s alternative weekly paper, Gadbois has become deeply entrenched in the New Orleans nonprofit scene and has helped to found the New Orleans Institute—a resource center for the vast community of budding nonprofits that dot the city.

Neighborhood Associations and the Net

Neighborhood associations have been particularly effective in exploiting digital grassroots tools to amplify their voices and weigh in on how their neighborhoods are rebuilt.

According to City-Works, a New Orleans nonprofit focused on responsible urban planning, post-Katrina New Orleans has witnessed an explosion of neighborhood associations, spiking from roughly 200 moderately active networks before the storm to close to 300 today.

“With the ineffective federal, state, and local government response to the storm, neighborhoods have been extraordinarily capable of identifying their needs and wants,” said Jim Livingston, City-Works’s executive director. “These groups have become an integral part of the planning process after the storm and are becoming quite savvy about how to get their agendas across to decision makers.”

In addition to traditional organizing methods—weekly meetings, canvassing, and word-of-mouth—neighborhood associations have added blogs, Web sites, and Yahoo groups to their arsenals. The neighborhood with the largest online presence is Broadmoor, a largely working-class community that was decimated by Katrina. When the Broadmoor Improvement Association (BIA) learned of Mayor Ray Nagin’s plans to turn their neighborhood into a “green dot”—a drainage park for other, wealthier neighborhoods—the resident group turned to the Internet.

Using simple computer programs like Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat, the BIA used listservs and Yahoo groups to directly engage the community in the process of drafting an official plan for their neighborhood. Drawing on the collective experiences and opinions of hundreds of people within the Broadmoor community, they created a city plan so good that it drew the attention of city planners at Harvard University.

“It was a truly democratic process,” said Hal Roark, the director of Broadmoor Development Corporation, the community development branch of the BIA. He added that prior to the storm, no one had had any experience with city planning—but Roark found this lack of experience to be a strength. “The fact that we had no conception of what we were supposed to do gave us absolute freedom to do what was right.”

Now the BIA is one of the most powerful neighborhood associations in the city, spawning six niche Web sites that serve youth and volunteers, showcasing a Katrina personal-history project, and regularly receiving interns and expert advice from Harvard, Bard, and MIT.

Then there’s the NorthWest Carrollton Civic Association. When the city decided to make an exception to local zoning laws in order to build a large Walgreens in the center of an empty lot, leaving little room for a much-needed grocery store, the community association went to the media. When the newspapers rejected the story, the association members took matters into their own hands. They started a neighborhood blog and became their own media outlet.

“We discovered that when no one is paying attention in the print or TV media, you can get people to pay attention though the blogosphere,” said Jenel Hazlett, the founder of NorthWest Carrollton Civic Association who—along with Karen Gadbois—became one of the leaders in the blogging venture.

By reaching out to other neighborhood associations, the community launched a highly effective e-mail campaign, requesting that other neighborhoods e-mail blast Walgreens and the local government in coordination with their blogs.

The group’s insistence paid off. By August 2006, Walgreen’s changed its plan. The site not only included the much-needed grocery store, but it also complied with residents’ demands that the buildings fit in with the historic character of the neighborhood.

“Once we got started and realized the power of the post, it made a tremendous difference in our capacity to lobby for our neighborhood,” said Hazlett. “Through our efforts, we were able to make the government realize we’re here, we’re going to be here, and we have opinions.”

Sometimes disaster brings out the best in a community. In New Orleans, it’s been transformational. As members of the community come together to rebuild their city, they are also pioneering new applications of social media to give citizens a stronger voice in the democratic process.

Although the New Orleans technological revolution might be new, in many ways its use as a community tool is a natural extension of traditional New Orleans culture.

“This is New Orleans. It’s always been a close-knit community,” said Hazlett. “Now, we’re just that much closer.”

Author Malia Politzer

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

CNN Heros - Vote for New Orleans' Native!

HELP New Orleans Youth program win $100,000 Award!
VOTE for NEW ORLEANS Roots of Music Program
VOTE for Derrick Tabb at until November 19, 2009 6 AM EST.
VOTE every day as often as possible.

The Roots of Music is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded post-Katrina by Rebirth Brass band drummer, Derrick Tabb, Allison Reinhardt, and Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews.

To read more go to

The Roots of Music program is a free, after-school music education AND academic tutoring program for the middle-school students in New Orleans.

Academic results are impressive, as 85% of the students have elevated their grades by one full letter. Musically they have progressed from just learning to accomplished, and are easily recognizable in our community in Mardi Gras, Jazzfest, and many other venues.

Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans supports this afterschool academic and music program in connection with its education and juvenile justice priorities.

Voting continues until Thursday, November 19, 2009 (6 a.m. ET).
There is no limit on the number of times you may vote for the Hero of the Year.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Free personal safety workshop

Victims and Citizens Against Crime will be hosting:

Personal Safety/Self-Defense Seminar
By certified instructor Mike Jurina

Four Points by Sheraton
6401 Veterans Memorial Boulevard
Metairie, Louisiana

Date: Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Time: 7:00 to 10:00 PM
Admission: Free

If you plan to attend, please R.S.V.P. to (504) 454-8013.

Victims and Citizens Against Crime
3814 Veterans Memorial Boulevard - Suite 206
Metairie, Louisiana 70002
(504) 454-8013 Fax: (504) 454-8014
web site:

Standing Up For The Rights Of The Victim

From: David Kent
Date: Mon, Oct 12, 2009 at 8:52 PM
Subject: Free personal safety workshop

Dear friends,

Most crime goes unreported by its victims. Both the City of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana lead their respective jurisdictions in the highest per-capita homicide rates hands down! No matter what you may hear from some law enforcement administrators, predatory crime is alive and well in New Orleans. Self protection and avoidance is the one source of defensive-crime knowledge that is with you at all times. Wives, daughters, coeds and girlfriends tend to need personal safety recognition and awareness because of their elevated vulnerability during hours of darkness. Tell your friends and loved ones - both male and female - about this free safety seminar. Bring a friend. You won't be disappointed.

David Kent

David R. Kent, MS,CPP
Forensic Victimology
401 Bragg Street
New Orleans, LA 70124-3109

Friday, October 16, 2009

NorthWest Carrollton concerned about "improvements"

See my sarcastic and pointed remarks embedded in the article below.

We have every right to be worried and to expect better from the Corps and from Sewerage and Water Board. Building these SELA projects and not solving the Monticello Canal is like the little Dutch Boy with his finger in the dike. It's NOT enough.

Hollygrove residents concerned flooding improvements in rest of N.O. will hurt them
10:39 PM CDT on Friday, October 16, 2009

Katie Moore / Eyewitness News

NEW ORLEANS - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board are getting ready to start a more than $100 million drainage project to help with Uptown street flooding.

Video: Watch the Story But some residents are concerned it could lead to more flooding along the Monticello Canal, the drainage basin on the Orleans/Jefferson Parish line.

Shirley Butler has lived in her Hollygrove home her entire life, but something is making her hotter than her Tabasco peppers.

“We're flooding back here trying to save other parts of New Orleans, but other parts of New Orleans are still flooding,” Butler said.

The Monticello Canal runs along side Butler's house.

But last Monday, when Mother Nature dropped more than three inches of rain, Butler said, “Where there was no partition at, the water was coming into the street.”

“There was some street flooding, in the Hollygove area, in the Monticello Canal area, but I haven't heard anything about vehicle damage or residential damage or anything like that,” said Joseph Becker, General Superintendent of the Sewerage and Water Board.

Oh and that must make it OK? Mr. Becker, it's NOT OK.

Most of Uptown's storm water flows into the Monticello Canal.

The Sewerage and Water Board and the Corps of Engineers are getting ready to build three new underground canals - along Claiborne, Jefferson and Napoleon Avenues - to bring water from Uptown to the Monticello Canal faster.

More water, going into the canal faster and we're not supposed to worry. Right. Tell me again how to put my head in the sand.

It's about a $120 million project that's expected to go out to bid in phases starting next year.

“The same water that flows into the Monticello Canal now will flow into the Monticello Canal after these additional drainage projects are completed,” Becker said.

Except it will be more water... and it will be flowing MUCH faster. But don't worry.

It will flow faster, and according to Becker, their modeling shows it'll only increase the canal's water level a foot. But Butler says even the current conditions are putting water past her pepper plant in her front yard.

Just a foot... IN THE MODEL! THAT'S and based on data that is 30 YEARS OLD.

The modeling that we have done in the past, and this was based on data that was done in the '80's, because this was an old report, indicated that for the ten-year storm, which is what we typically design for, indicated that it wouldn't be a problem with the water going into the canal with our new work in place,” said Stan Green, Senior Project Manager for all Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Projects through the Corps of Engineers.

Folks we don't need a MODEL. Try doing some experiments with a hose in your backyard. Watch the water drain nicely at a trickle then turn the water on faster and see how quickly things can get out of control.

One thing that also concerns residents is the flood wall on the Jefferson Parish side of the canal. It may be old and decaying, but there's no flood wall on the Orleans side.
“We have some new little three feet partitions up, which, there's no blockage if the water wanna come through. It was just thrown up there a couple of months ago,” Butler said.

“The Monticello Canal was designed to be below street level and not become a factor above ground,” Becker said.

Both Becker and the Corps admit there's another problem with the canal. Culverts that run underneath Airline Highway and a railroad crossing are more narrow than the canal itself.

Really, finally, is that admiting to a "single" problem? So we are RIGHT TO BE WORRIED!!!!! Wow! Let me see if I have this right.
More water, faster, into a canal not designed to ever have water "above street level"
that already gets water above street level when it rains hard,
with a wall on the Jefferson Parish side
and zip, nada, NOTHING on the Orleans Parish side,
that flows into the 17th Street Canal and meets up with all the water from the Palmetto Canal
and all this is a part of the flow that will be blocked by when the gates at the lake are down
and what S&W and the Corps of Engineers are most worried about are the narrow culverts at Airline and the tracks.

How does the model take all those factors into account? Betcha it doesn't.

The concrete box that goes underneath Airline is smaller than the Monticello Canal. So that represents a little bit of a restriction in flow,” Becker continued that the Sewerage and Water Board are talking to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, the agency that owns the two structures, to see if the culverts can be expanded.

And if they can't be expanded... will the SELA projects that funnel MORE water into the Monticello Canal FASTER go ahead anyway?

The Sewerage and Water Board appears ready to move forward with the project next year, with designers already working out the details.

Yep... looks like its full steam ahead. On August 29th and 30th I stood on my front porch and watched the water flow from the Monticello Canal toward Broadmoor and the rest of Carrollton and on to Tulane University and the rest of Uptown. How smart are we to take water from the locations closer to the river, push it into the Monticello Canal even faster than before, have it back up because it can't fit through those smaller culverts under Airline,and/or have it backup from Palmetto and the 17th Street Canal when the Flood Gates at the Lake are closed? It's GENIUS! Have we learned NOTHING?

But both Butler and many others are still bothered by the project.

“Nothing has been done to the canal,” Butler said.

The University of New Orleans is also conducting an outside study on the impact the projects will have on the canal.

Thank Goodness.... maybe they will listen to UNO.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Soggy but GREAT LPO Concert in Palmer Park

"Dear (soggy) friends and neighbors,
Thank you to all of you who came out in support of the LPO concert in the park last night.

Thanks to the LPO and all of their wonderful staff and musicians for their commitment to the Carrollton Community.

Thanks soooooo much to everyone at Robert's for helping in too many ways to mention. The funding, the barbecue, the advertising, the hard work, etc.....
(Miguel, Darren, Mark... you guys are great!)

Thanks to the residents of Carrollton (especially Cathy Franklin) who helped get those signs out and assisted in spreading the word.

Although the concert had to end VERY prematurely, it was amazing to see how many people came out on a Monday night, with the imminent threat of rain, in a park that was already wet- to enjoy this concert. I think it is pretty clear now we want to be part of the regular "Park concert" schedule with the LPO.

All the best,
Anne Fuselier - Palmer Park"

I hope that Ann is right and that the turn out for only the 2nd EVER Concert in Palmer Park, ON a MONDAY, WITH RAIN THREATENING! proves that Palmer Park is a lively happy place to have MORE outdoor concerts and performances.

Think back to your PreKatrina life and imagine how hard it would have been to convince people that this could happen in Palmer Park. I remember going to those horrid and endless planning meetings and talking up Palmer Park. I remember how many people "trash talked" the park and its location. I remember how many other people said what a hidden and forgotten jewel this park was.

I will be forever grateful to Voodoofest 2006 kicking the MidCity Art Market out of City Park and how because of all those endless planning meetings the idea for Palmer Park and the Art Market popped up. I remember how amazed and thrilled we all were when the Art Market was a raging success and decided to return to Palmer Park and then to make it their permanent home.

I am very grateful to Roberts for being such a good neighbor and helping sponsor the LPO concert.

What we've proved here in this little corner of New Orleans is that we have not just survived the PostKatrina ravages but that WE ARE THRIVING!

Thank you Anne and Palmer Park for fighting for the return of the LPO Concert.
Here's to NEXT YEAR!

Monday, October 12, 2009

New Orleans Master Plan Meetings

Watch this Video
on what the New Master Plan
should mean for New Orleans

Then try to make one of the 3 meetings below. This is your future.

The City Planning Commission has announced the following dates and times for public hearings on the Master Plan:

Tuesday, October 13, 4:30 - 9:00 PM
Friday, October 16, 4:30 - 9:00 PM
Tuesday, October 27, 3:30 PM - 5:30PM

The hearings will be held at City Hall, 1300 Perdido Street, in the Council Chambers on the first floor.

Speakers will be limited to four minutes. The consultants will present a summary of the Master Plan at the beginning of the Oct. 13 and Oct. 16 hearings and respond to comments and questions at the end. Information obtained from these hearings will be used for the final version of the Plan, as directed by the City Planning Commission.

We encourage you to read as much of the Master Plan as possible and to offer your comments on it, either at one of the public hearings or in written form. The document is available for reading in public libraries and on the Internet at Currently, chapters 15 and 16 are missing from the documents, but we have been assured that they are to be added to the website shortly.

Written comments may be submitted to the CPC via mail at
CPC - Attn: Master Plan
1340 Poydras Street, #900
New Orleans, LA 70112

Comments may also be faxed to 658-7032 or
e-mailed to
Written comments must be received by Wednesday, Oct. 28, at 5pm.
The Commission is expect to take action at its Nov. 10 meeting.

The Planning Commission expects to vote on the Master Plan -- including consideration of any proposed amendments -- on November 10. It will then be sent to the City Council, which almost certainly will not take it up until after the passage of the city budget, which by law must take place no later than December 1. Assuming the Planning Commission forwards the Master Plan to the Council on a timely basis, it will have to either pass it, reject it, or amend and return it to the Planning Commission before the end of December.

For further information on the agenda or to request assistance to participate, contact the City Planning Commission Office at 504-658-7033 or TTY/Voice 568-4475. The meeting site is generally accessible to persons with disabilities. Upon request a sign language interpreter will be available to persons with hearing impairments.

City of New Orleans BUDGET MEETING - District A

Monday, October 12 at 4 p.m. at City Park's Botanical Garden

From: "Shelley S. Midura" [Edit Address Book]
To: "Shelley S. Midura"
Subject: Call to Arms: Budget
Date: Oct 7, 2009 10:36 AM

Dear Neighborhood association presidents and leaders in District A:

I am writing to ask that you attend a meeting I am holding for neighborhood leaders this Monday, October 12, to discuss the budget crisis we are facing and engaging the public in the process of adopting the 2010 budget. As you know, during the month of November the City will undergo the harrowing process of adopting the 2010 budget, AND we are facing a nearly $68 million deficit. Additionally, the OIG has recently released a report analyzing the budget process that outlines how and why our budget process is so broken. One of the key findings is that public engagement and discussion is absent in the decision making process. Public engagement is all the more critical now in the face of the current budget crisis. There is no doubt that we will be making tough and painful decisions. We must mitigate this as much as possible through a public process that yields a true people’s budget that protects the priorities of citizens as best possible.

I need you to attend this meeting, learn about the issues, and help me develop a strategy to engage the community in advocating for and ensuring the best people’s budget possible in the midst of a historic budget crisis. I would like to meet with you to discuss the critical issues we will be facing and to receive your collective priorities in ensuring a fair, just, and equitable people’s budget. Please join me Monday, October 12 at 4 p.m. at City Park's Botanical Garden for this important meeting.

Shelley Midura
New Orleans City Council
District A

LPO Concert @ Palmer Park - RAIN DATE TODAY

After much hard work and persistence by local Carrollton Area Neighborhood Organizations and with the support of our Council member Shelley Midura and with support from local businesses, ESPECIALLY ROBERTS! the LPO has agreed to host
the second annual Palmer Park LPO concert.
LPO in Palmer Park

Star Spangled Banner
Dvorak Slavonic Dance No. 1
Ellington: A Medley for Orchestra
Bernstein West Side Story Selections
Bizet: Farandole from L'Arlesienne Suite No. 2
The Wizard of Oz Selections
Highlights from Jurassic Park
Dances With Wolves
Phantom of the Opera
South Rampart Street Parade

Conductor David Torns will lead the orchestra through an evening of popular movie and Broadway favorites -- enjoy selections from The Wizard of Oz, West Side Story, Jurassic Park, Phantom of the Opera, and more -- bring your picnics, family, and friends for a spectacular evening!

Rain date: Monday, October 12 at 5:30 p.m.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Selling the City as a Mecca for Garden Lovers

Selling New Orleans as a mecca for garden lovers
By Karen Taylor Gist
October 10, 2009, 4:54AM

Gardeners of the city, it's your time to shine.

Aquatic plants are among those in bloom now at the City Park Botanical Garden, where the 'Heart of the Gardens' kickoff event takes place Sunday. New Orleans, long known for its food and music, is being marketed this fall as a destination for visitors (and locals, too) to take in our gardens, green spaces, oak-lined neutral grounds and plentiful outdoor art.

"They're our last best-kept secrets, " says Jeanne Nathan, who with help from the New Orleans Botanical Garden and the Contemporary Visual Arts Association of New Orleans is producing a festival of events called arts + gardens + new orleans that spans October and November.

Some of the events (such as next weekend's fall garden show in City Park ) already existed, and some have been spurred by the festival (a Nov. 7 landscape show at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art), but the push is on the packaging with a garden-and-art purpose. A Gray Line Tour also has been created with the same focus.

Reasons for the timing are twofold.

"It's so beautiful here in the fall, " Nathan says. Plus, "Telling the story of gardening in New Orleans is the story of gardening year-round. As others are shutting down, we're getting camellias and sasanquas. There's always something in bloom."

As Paul Soniat of the Botanical Garden notes, "Most people outside this region don't really know about our live oaks, our fall blooming season and our early spring."

Even relatively close to home, gardens can be very different. In Baton Rouge, for instance, "It's 7, 8 or 9 degrees colder, so they don't see a lot of bananas and gingers. We have rubber trees and scheffleras and ficus.

"In the Quarter you see things that are not in Metairie, because they're more protected. And we're more tropical than across the lake, where the main limiting factor is freezes.

"By the end of November, we'll be seeing pansies, camellias and sasanquas, and, without a freeze, impatiens and begonias, " he said.

The New Orleans Botanical Garden will be featured in a new Gray Line tour, opening to groups in about a month. The company hopes to make it available to individuals next spring.There's another practical reason for a fall festival as well.

"October-November used to be such a big time for the convention industry, so we never promoted it before; that's not the case now, " Nathan said.

"We lost a lot of first-time visitors (after Katrina), but return visitors still are high, the Convention and Visitors Bureau says. For returnees, you need a new experience. That appealed to Gray Line."

While Longue Vue House & Gardens, the Botanical Garden and Nathan sold Gray Line on the idea for a tour and created a script and landscape-rich route, which, of course, includes both gardens, the final version will be in Gray Line's hands, Nathan said.

After a kickoff event Sunday (see box), the tours will begin in about a month on a group-sale basis, says Greg Hoffman, vice president of Gray Line New Orleans. Gray Line hopes to open it as a regularly scheduled tour next spring, he said.

The emphasis, however, isn't just on tourists, or just on the bus tour. Residents can keep up with the scenery as well. The city Arts Council has created a map (see that makes a great base for a self-guided tour, plotting both public art and gardens. It will eventually be available in pamphlet form.

"With over 200 public sculptures, New Orleans has more public art sites than most cities of the same size, " said Mary Len Costa, interim president of the Arts Council.

Included on the map, she said, are locally made Art in Public Places works funded by the Joan Mitchell Foundation, on display through 2010. Two dozen of the hundreds of the Percent for Art collection, funded by municipal bonds and gathered over 25 years, are there, as well as world-class Sculpture for New Orleans works brought in for a two-year exhibition.

"I think it gives another side of New Orleans. Most of the works are in communities. A lot are in universities, parks, just really beautiful settings. A new setting for art, not commercial galleries. They see the beauty of New Orleans."

And it doesn't hurt that many of the pieces are by local artists.

The Heart of the Gardens campaign kicks off tomorrow at the Botanical Garden with a brunch featuring fresh herbs and plants grown in the garden and the first of the Gray Line tours, which will take a scenic route from City Park and bring riders for a guided walk through the Longue Vue gardens.

But the project isn't just about big public landscapes. The Preservation Resource Center and the Neighborhoods Partnership Network are building an inventory of private gardens as well.

To let them know about charming neighborhood gardens, e-mail recommendations to or to A list will later become public.

As Soniat says, "People are more keen to green space since Katrina. There's especially tremendous more interest in vegetable gardening, different herbs -- any outside gardening."

. . . . . . .

InsideOut Editor Karen Taylor Gist can be reached at 504.826.3467 or

Friday, October 9, 2009

Vijay Nagendra

Vijay Anand Hassan Nagendra lost his 6 year battle with brain cancer at the age of 17on Monday, October 5, 2009 at his home. Beloved as a son, brother and friend. He is survived by his parents: Mary B. and H.V. Nagendra; brother, Nikhil; and sister, Uma.

Vijay will be remembered for his resilience against hardship, determination to enjoy life, and sense of service to others. He fought disease relentlessly, and repeatedly beat the odds with unexpected comebacks. His ability to continue laughing and joking, even when in need, was an inspiration to others. He was always armed with a joke to lift a serious mood. He was touched by many friends, neighbors and extended family who brought him care and encouragement when he most needed it. He gave back through Camp Challenge and through Bread for the World's annual Walk for the Hungry.

In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes donations to Camp Challenge, (P.O. Box 10591, N.O., LA 70181) to establish legacy awards in Vijay's name or to Sisters Servants of Mary, (5001 Perlita, N.O., LA 70122) to continue serving the chronically and terminally ill.

Wake will be 6:00 - 9:00 p.m., Friday, October 9, 2009 at
Greenwood Funeral Home, 5200 Canal Blvd.

A Funeral Mass will be held at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, October 10th at
Mater Dolorosa Church. Visitation will be at the church beginning at 9:30 a.m.

The family guest book may be signed on line at,

Vijay Nagendra was the son of H. Nagendra, former President of Central Carrollton Association & Founder of the Carrollton Area Network.

New Orleans in Top 10 City Cycle Tours

TIME Magazine listed Top Ten Urban Cycle Trips
and New Orleans was Number 5

1 San Francisco, CA
2 Chicago, IL
3 Montreal, Canada
4 New York, NY
5 New Orleans, LA
6 Bruges, Belgium
7 Los Angeles, CA
8 Amsterdam, Netherlands
9 Portland OR
10 Verona, Italy

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Library Master Plan vs City-CPC Master Plan

From: NorthWest Carrollton
Subject: Oppostion to Library Master Plan inclusion & resulting closure of Nix in Carrollton
Date: Oct 8, 2009 11:39 AM

NorthWest Carrollton is opposed to the inclusion of the Library Master Plan in the CPC Master Plan.

The Library Master Plan and the consolidation of service into large new facilities is in direct conflict with a critical concept of "walkable neighborhoods" in the city's Master Plan.

We urge modifications to the CPC Master Plan to the exclude the Library Master Plan which was not vetted with the public, has wide spread oppostion and would result in the elimination of the Historic Nix Library on Carrollton Ave.

Jenel Hazlett for NorthWest Carrollton

Booker Enterprises 1st Adjudication Hearing - 8232 Apricot

The Bureau of Administrative Adjudication
in the Office of Recovery & Development Administration, City of New Orleans,
is scheduled to hear the following cases at 1340 Poydras St., Suite 1100.

8232 Apricot St.
Booker Enterprises LLC.
P.O. Box 2311220
Harahan, LA 70123
09-003330 10/8/09 9:15 AM

The purpose of these hearings is to determine if the properties at the locations listed below should be declared blighted pursuant to the provisions of Section 28-38 of the City Code or a public nuisance pursuant to the provisions of Section 28-37, et seq., of the City Code. If the property is declared blighted, it is eligible for expropriation and if the property is declared a public nuisance, it is eligible for demolition.

Booker was a No Show at the Hearing.
%500 fine + $75.00 court fees
plus %500 a day starting 30 days from now if the issues are not addressed.








8232-34 Apricot is one of 3 GREAT HOUSES side by side owned by Carrie Booker. These houses are in a National Historic Register District with LOADS of potential. It is demoralizing to have these houses rotting away in front of our eyes, next to fabulous houses that have been written up in the Times Picayune Inside Out. We’re submitting the May Times Picayune article as part of this packet.
There are all types of debris around the property: debris left over from partial construction, debris left over from damage from tornado or flood. There is broken glass, there are nails, on the porch, all around the house.
This is only a block away from a Head Start Center and 2 blocks away from Lafayette School. There is nothing to stop a kid walking to or from school from venturing into this dangerous area.
Because the houses are open, both windows and doors, there is nothing stopping anyone from entering and this creates the threat of fire, provides a place for drug dealers and other nefarious folks to use this as a shelter or storage place.
There is a water leak which has made the ground very near the sidewalk dangerously slippery and easy for someone to sink into.
The only reason these properties don't look worse is because the neighborhood has had 2 cleanup activities (2007 & 2009) and we do what we can to keep the sidewalks clear. It is the opinion of the neighborhood association that the owner is currently allowing the properties to be demolished by neglect.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Adjudication Hearing - 8424-26 Apple - 10/6/09 9:15AM

GUILTY $500 Fine + $75 Court Fees on BOTH the MAIN and ACCESSORY BUILDINGS.
$500 day Fine on BOTH Buildings.

The Bureau of Administrative Adjudication
in the Office of Recovery & Development Administration, City of New Orleans,
is scheduled to hear the following case at 1340 Poydras St., Suite 1100.

8424-26 Apple St. AND Accessory
Conreau L. Williams
8424-26 Apple St.
New Orleans, LA 70118
09-003288 10/6/09 9:15 AM

The purpose of these hearings is to determine if the properties at the locations listed below should be declared blighted pursuant to the provisions of Section 28-38 of the City Code or a public nuisance pursuant to the provisions of Section 28-37, et seq., of the City Code. If the property is declared blighted, it is eligible for expropriation and if the property is declared a public nuisance, it is eligible for demolition.

PEOPLE SEARCH RESULTS for Conreau L Williams
We found 2 people found that match Conreau Williams in the state of Louisiana.

Conreau Leslier Williams New Orleans
Age 39
Other Addresses Addresses listed in
Kenner, LA - Norfolk, VA - Fort Benning, GA - Norfolk, VA - Fayetteville, NC - San Antonio, TX
Relatives of Conreau Leslier Williams:
Michelle S Williams
Cadet Conreau Williams
Kyrette Williams
Carllisa Y Williams
Medesha M Williams
Conrad L Williams
Angleique W Williams
John W Williams
Dana J Williams
Tonya J Williams
Richard A Williams
Annett N Williams
Conrad L Williams

Conreau L Williams
No age listed
Addresses in New Orleans, LA
Relatives of Conreau L Williams
Trina Williams

Contacted Fort Benning Army Community Services
Major Conreau Williams
Nachrich Kaserne
APO AE 09042
Perhaps Major Williams can get someone here locally to look after his building.

Vijay Nagendra 1992-2009

Vijay Nagendra was the son of H. Nagendra, former President of Central Carrollton Association & Founder of the Carrollton Area Network.

We wish him and his family peace

Subject: Vijay Nagendra 1992-2009
Date: Oct 6, 2009 2:05 AM

Vijay Anand Hassan Nagendra passed away at 10.45 PM (CDT) on Monday
October 5th 2009. He was peaceful and restful at the time of passing.
His immediate family, his grandmother and Sister Cecila were by his side
at the time of passing.

A wake will be held at Greenwood Funeral Home, Canal Blvd, New Orleans
on Friday October 9th 2009 in the evening. Visitation and a funeral
Mass will held at Matar Dolorosa, South Carrollton Avenue, New Orleans
on Saturday October 10, 2009 in the late morning. The times and other
details will follow shortly in the TP/SI.

Thank you for all your prayers and support

Monday, October 5, 2009




New Roadway Features Pedestrian-Friendly Amenities to Help Support Local Oak Street Businesses

NEW ORLEANS, LA - The City of New Orleans Department of Public Works today announced the completion of construction on Oak Street from Carrollton Avenue to Dante Street, approximately six months after the construction began. The project was completed two months ahead of schedule. Oak Street now features new pedestrian-friendly amenities, utilities and asphalt roadway.

"Were excited to see the completion of improvements in an area where businesses will benefit from better streets and sidewalks, and hope that the new amenities assist in bringing more visitors to shop on Oak Street," said Mayor C. Ray Nagin. "This project demonstrates neighborhood revitalization as well as economic development in progress."

"With the completion of construction on this important New Orleans commercial corridor, we hope to continue this momentum and find funding to restore many of our other important commercial corridors," said Robert Mendoza, Director of Public Works. "We understand the stress placed on the businesses during the time this roadway remained closed, but we now believe the finished product will encourage more people to visit Oak Street. We want to thank the Oak Street Business Association for their patience and support during this project."

The new roadway features extended sidewalks at each intersection to allow more space for greater pedestrian use, to help calm traffic at the intersections and to make the roadway safer to cross. The extension reduces the distance needed to travel by pedestrians crossing the streets and prevents vehicles from parking too close to intersections, which improves visibility at the intersection and assures emergency vehicle access.

The City reused the existing cobblestone from the old rail tracks to create decorative patterns at each intersection. This enhancement not only improves the aesthetics of the roadway, but also acts as a traffic calming device at the intersections.

In addition, the project included replacement of the asphalt pavement roadway, driveways and concrete sidewalks, replacement of sewer lines, water lines and drain pipes, installation of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant ramps in sidewalks at associated intersections, and new sidewalk benches and bike racks.

In total, approximately 0.5 miles of Oak Street from Carrollton Avenue to Leake Avenue was reconstructed. The project's estimated construction value is approximately $5.4 million, which was funded by the City's 2004 General Obligation Bonds and the Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans.

Fleming Construction Co. performed the construction work and Hartman Engineering Inc. provided the design services and construction management services for the project.

2623 Dante - Blight Followup

Thank You, Andrew & Code Enforcment Team

From: Andrew Holbein
To: Andrew Holbein , NorthWest Carrollton , "Wesley P. Taylor" , "Winston H. Reid" , "Kristen A. Phillips" , "Amy E. Chandler" , Bruce Little , Arnie Fielkow , "Deborah J. Langhoff" , "Jackie B. Clarkson"
Cc: Karen Gadbois, Chef Seaton, Debi Theobald, Scott Andrews, Kim Carver, Margret Reinhard
Subject: RE: NWCCA Blight Report 2623 Dante
Date: Oct 5, 2009 12:08 PM
As a follow up, an inspector has revisited this property as discussed
below. There are still no violations. Hopefully the property will
remain in compliance.

-Andrew Holbein
Office of Code Enforcement

-----Original Message-----
From: Andrew Holbein
Sent: Thursday, August 27, 2009 12:20 PM
To: NorthWest Carrollton; Wesley P. Taylor; Winston H. Reid; Kristen A.
Phillips; Amy E. Chandler; Bruce Little; Arnie Fielkow; Deborah J.
Langhoff; Jackie B. Clarkson
Subject: RE: NWCCA Blight Report 2623 Dante

An inspector has gone to this property. At the time of inspection he
did not find any violations to the city code. The pile of trash in the
front is gone and the grass is not in violation at this time.
The inspector saw the property's realtor on site and warned them that
they need to continue maintaining the property and the grass, which the
realtor agreed to do.
I will ask the inspector to go out there again in a month to see if any
violations have arisen. Both sides of the property are for rent and the
inspector found a note from Entergy saying that the energy was turned on
yesterday, so hopefully the new tenants will stay there and their
presence will keep the property up to code.

-Andrew Holbein
Office of Code Enforcement

-----Original Message-----
From: NorthWest Carrollton []
Sent: Sunday, August 23, 2009 2:29 PM
To: NorthWest Carrollton; Andrew Holbein; Wesley P. Taylor; Winston H.
Reid; Kristen A. Phillips; Amy E. Chandler; Bruce Little; Arnie Fielkow;
Deborah J. Langhoff; Jackie B. Clarkson
Subject: NWCCA Blight Report 2623 Dante

Please place 2623 Dante on the list for blight action. The property has
frequent turnover in tenants. The property owner goes through periods where they do not consistently maintain their property. There have been periods where the grass was so long that it was finally cut by neighbors.
The pile of trash in front of the building is the latest sample of how
the property owner "maintains" the building.
2623 Dante

Your attention to this is appreciated.
Jenel Hazlett for NorthWest Carrollton

Mrs. Ricca

Althea Mary Wolf Ricca passed away October 3rd, 2009.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Rebuilding Together on Apple

Preservation Resource Center's Rebuilding Together in NorthWest Carrollton

8200 Block of Apple - Rebuling Together

8200 Block of Apple - Rebuling Together

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Obama's Chef

Chef Seaton is a NorthWest Carrollton Resident and was chef to President Obama for a week earlier this year.

Thursday, October 01, 2009 Roberta Grove
Grace Episcopal Church on Canal Street had the right idea when they asked Master Chef Ronnie Seaton, personal chef to President Obama and his family, to help with an event called "Candlelight Delight."

Seaton directed local chefs Neal Varrette and Corey Blake in preparing a delicious dinner Sept. 26 to help the church pay its annual $22,000 utility bill. The church is the gathering spot for its congregation and more than 30 multicultural organizations and ministries.

"Roughly, over 100 families are active members of the congregation," said the Rev. Peter Gray. "Since Katrina, our congregation has been enriched by an increase in Hispanic members. One of our major programs includes instruction for those learning English as a second language."

Deacon Charmaine Kathmann was instrumental in organizing the dinner.

Along with a meal fit for the first family, the event included a wonderful performance by members of the Ballet Folklorico Nicaraguense COSMAPA.

If you missed this opportunity to enjoy a meal prepared by Seaton, he may consider a return engagement. He was born in New Orleans.

For information about Grace Episcopal's services and programs, call 504.482.5242.

Thank you Walter Gallas

N.O. preservation ace has left the buildings
Thursday, October 01, 2009 Jon Kemp

It's a sad day for our neighborhoods. Walter Gallas is leaving.

As director of the New Orleans field office for the National Trust, Gallas has been a major player in the preservation of buildings and the restoration of neighborhoods destroyed by Katrina. Four years after the big flood, the local office is closing and Gallas will be director of the Northeast Field Office, covering Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

I recently bumped into Gallas at Matassa's and asked him what he wished for the Crescent City.
"I wish for our city the kind of leadership that truly understands its history and heritage are the best things going for it," Gallas said. "And then bases its decisions on that."

Walter Gallas of the National Trust for Historic Preservation supported NorthWest Carrollton's fight for a better design of the Walgreens at Claiborne and Carrollton. He's been a good friend to New Orleans during the last 4 years of our recovery. His work in New Orleans is most appreciated and he will be missed.

"No" means begin again one level higher says Pump to River fails in Congress

OK Congress aways does the right thing. Not.

The Louisiana delegation needs to follow one of Peter's Laws.
The one that says: "No" simply means begin again at one level higher.

Here's another of Peter's Laws that applies to this issue:
Patience is a virtue, but persistence to the point of success is a blessing.

And then there is the most applicable one of Peter's Laws in this particular situation:
Bureaucracy is a challenge to be conquered with a righteous attitude, a tolerance for stupidity, and a bulldozer when necessary.


Kiosks for the Carrollton area are being developed and built by the Tulane School of Architecture

Get a preview of what these information kiosks will look like
on the 1st Floor Lecture Hall at the Tulane Architecture Building
aka Richardson-Memorial

On Friday, October 2nd at 5:00 pm - Kick Off Party

On Monday, October 5th at 6:00 pm they will be hosting a lecture by a visiting architect in the 1st Floor Lecture Hall of the Architecture Building on Tulane's Campus.

On Friday, October 9th at 3:00 pm they will present their completed information kiosks for critique and celebration.

Rock 'n Bowl Calendar

Click here to see who's playing at the Rock 'n Bowl New Orleans