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Friday, December 31, 2010

NorthWest Carrollton's 11 wishes for 2011

#1) We'd like to have the Polling location for 17-10 returned to NorthWest Carrollton from Xavier University. This polling location used to be in Incarnate Word / Head Start and since this is open again we're hoping for a return to the original location but we have other ideas for where a polling location could be and will be working with the Registrar of Voters.

#2) We'd like NOPD to continue to work with us to fight blight by having Abandoned Cars tagged and removed. We typically do a sweep once every 4 to 6 months and report this to NOPD for followup. We'd also like to have parking enforced as well because this helps protect the investment in our (limited) sidewalk infrastructure and protects the TREES we've planted with Hike for KaTREEna. Believe it or not Abandoned Cars was one of the first issues NorthWest Carrollton tackled with the help of our 2nd District Quality of Life Officer and (now) Major Bouyelas. It continues to be a focus area.

#3) All Illegal Containers Removed
8100 Block of Fig
8200 Block of Fig
2900 Block of Joliet @ Fig
18 wheeler shipping containers are not legal "buildings". No neighborhood in New Orleans wants to see these become de facto standards for building in residential neighborhoods and allowed to remain indefinitely.
Storage containers on the street (8300 Block of Nelson) or someones yard for years are not legal either. Everyone understands the need for temporary storage but temporary storage should NOT become permanent neighborhood fixtures. More than a year is too long!

#4) We'd like to see the building at 2538 DANTE ST - corner Apple & Dante returned to commerce.

#5) We'd like there to be a consistent set of processes and procedures for addressing blight. We'll continue to report our blight issues and work the blight problem from as many angles as we can find, whether that is reporting via the new 311 site or eMails to specific city agencies or escalating to our city council representative or calling in the news media or.... whatever it takes.

#6) We'd like Leonidas to be stripped to indicate parking and with a center line. Eventually we'd like "bump outs" where trees could be planted... but for now we'd settle for having lines painted on the street. This would allow people to park legally and also slow down traffic, that currently treats the street like a 4 lane highway. In addition to striping on Leonidas for parking we've also asked for Bike Lanes on Earhart and Carrollton.
These requests are just part of a Complete Streets approach that we'd like to see in all the infrastructure improvements done by Public Works. This would mean the streets would become more than just lanes for cars or worse large trucks but would be transportation corridors for people on sidewalks, or riding public transportation or riding bikes. If the legislation passed in July 2010 had been in place when the Earhart construction approved then we'd be much closer to the 21st Century City.

#7) We'd like to see the last FEMA Trailer disappear from NorthWest Carrollton.

#8) TREES! TREES! and more TREES.
We'd like the Oak Tree that was removed from Carrollton @ Apple replaced by a reasonably sized oak tree. We want to retain the oak tree canopy on Carrollton.

We'd like to work with Business Owners along Earhart to encourage tree planting along the edges of the parking lots that will create shade for pedestrians and cyclists and counter act the heat sink affect of the large expanse of concrete roadway and parking lots, buffer the sound of the roadway and help clean the air of the pollution both dust and exhaust that results from the roadway.

We'd like to see Trees perhaps sponsored by AutoZone, planted in the 3000 Block of Dante. We're thinking bald cypress might be nice... or water oak... we want larger trees to help clean the air because of how close this is to Earhart.

We plan to continue sponsoring a once a year in Novemeber/December tree planting with Hike for KaTREEna for anyone in the neighborhood who is interested.

Once construction is complete on Earhart we will begin working to create The Orchard on Fig.

#9) We'd like to at least see some information on the 2nd phase of FEMA Sidewalk repairs. It would be wonderful if some of the sidewalk issues we have in NorthWest Carrollton could be addressed by those repairs instead of sidewalks that weren't damaged being dug up and replaced.

#10) We'd like to see Sewerage & Water Board Repairs completed within 6 months of 1st being reported. We wait much longer than that now. So 6 months would be an improvement.

#11) We'd like to see the Homes for Sale in NorthWest Carrollton be purchased by individuals who want to like in NorthWest Carrollton, a neighborhood we consider the next coolest neighborhood in New Orleans.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Trees for Earhart

The Earhart construction is moving along. NorthWest Carrollton has always been interested in retaining and creating green space for larger trees along Earhart. We believe Trees will help define the Boulevard, create shade for pedestrians and cyclists and counter act the heat sink affect of the large expanse of concrete. We also believe that Trees help buffer the sound of the roadway and help clean the air of the pollution both dust and exhaust that results from the roadway. We want to work with the business owners, city planning and organizations like Parkway Partners and Hike for KaTREEna to place the largest possible trees at the 2 sites show below.

Earhart @ Dante to downtown New Orleans
Dante @ Earhart to NO

Earhart @ Dante to Jefferson Parish
Dante @ Earhart to Jefferson Parish

What we've discovered is that if we wait everything gets covered over with cement. We're hoping business owners, the neighborhood, non-profits and city government can work together to make the newly repaired section of Earhart as green and clean as possible.

We are specifically interested in understanding how the sections of Earhart that formerly had greenspace between the sidewalk and the street (and now do not) will be handled. We hope this green space is not just lost forever but can be somewhat mitigated by tree plantings on the edges of the business parking areas.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

NOPD please take me away....

Massachusetts Plate Pritchard Place @ Cambronne
Car has been here for more than 6 months

8300 block of Pritchard @ Cambronne

Jeep has been on Dublin @ Apricot for more than 3 months.
At least its facing in the right direction and isn't parked on the grass.
Dublin @ Apricot (at least it's facing in the right direction and isn't on the grass)

8317 Nelson - The Truck has been there so long it's on the aerial photo used on the Assessor's website.

2900 Block of Joliet near Fig in front of empty lot
2900 Block of Joliet

Dublin @ Nelson. And it's parked facing the wrong direction. You think it doesn't matter but it does. Especially when there are one way streets and 2 way streets in a neighborhood. Cars facing in the wrong direction are dangerous.

8400 Block of Apricot - a pond for a driveway

We'd appreciate some assistance in getting this Sewerage & Water Board problem resolved.

There is literally a pond in the driveway of 8414 Apricot Street.
8400 Block of Apricot
8400 Block of Apricot

There is also a leak at 8401 Apricot.

8303 & 8313 Pritchard Place - still leaking

I can't even count how many times these leaks have been reported.
I uploaded the picture in October 2010 and that was after I had been reporting it for a number of months.

Here's what it looks like in December.
8303 Pritchard Place
8300 Block of Pritchard Place
Please note the puddle in front of the driveway at 8309 Pritchard Place
8300 Block of Pritchard Place
8313 Pritchard Place
8300 Block of Pritchard Place
PLEASE help us get these leaks fixed.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Parking Enforcement 2011

We'd appreciate help from NOPD and the City of New Orleans with Parking Enforcment in NorthWest Carrollton.

We beieve that parking enforcement protects our sidewalk infrastructure and the TREES we have planted and hope to plant with Hike for KaTREEna.

We'd especially appreciate some help from NOPD on the corner of Apple & Joliet.
Please note the NEW FEMA sidewalk replacement. Please also not the truck parked on the sidewalk. Please see the additional photo below. We're hoping some polite conversation from NOPD Quality of Life can encourage the owner's of these vehicles to park legally and not on the sidewalks.
Apple @ Joliet - parking
Sidewalk driveway...

Our neighborhood boundaries are Carrollton-Earhart-Leonidas-Claiborne. A quick sweep of the area is sure to find cars parked on the sidewalk, in the grass, facing the wrong direction... etc. Your help is appreciated. Apple and Joliet aren't the only places where there are problems.

Could we please have our polling location back?

Getting the 17-10 polling location back the wish list of 11 things to accomplish in NorthWest Carrollton in 2011.

Today I contacted A. Morrell's office and spoke to Jeanette who advised that they were aware of our request to have the the 17-10 Polling location returned to Incarnate Word. I was told they were aware of it, (from our eMail below) and that the site had to be surveyed to ensure that it met handicap requirements (now in place). Jeanette said they would get back to us. We'll be back in touch with them sometime after mid-January.

From: NorthWest Carrollton
Cc: Board and City Council District A Contacts
Subject: Fw: RE: Polling Location 17-10 - Assistance Needed
Date: Dec 4, 2010 10:27 AM

Orleans Parish Registrar of Voters, Hon. Sandra L. Wilson
Orleans Clerk of Court, Hon. Arthur A. Morrell,

NorthWest Carrollton Civic Association would like to understand what it will take to return the polling location for 17-10 to our neighborhood.

PreKatrina the polling location was Incarnate Word School 8326 Apricot Street. Since Katrina the polling location has been at Xavier University.

Other polling locations have returned to the PreKatrina locations or close to their PreKatrina locations. This one has not. We are interested in understanding why and we'd like to assist in returning the polling location to our neighborhood.


Jenel Hazlett - NorthWest Carrollton

-----Forwarded Message-----
From: "Deborah J. Langhoff"
Sent: Nov 2, 2010 6:33 PM
Subject: RE: Polling Location 17-10 - Assistance Needed

Orleans Parish Registrar of Voters:

Hon. Sandra L. Wilson
1300 Perdido St., Rm. 1W23
New Orleans, LA 70112-2127
Phone: 504-658-8300
Fax: 504-658-8315

Orleans Clerk of Court:
Hon. Arthur A. Morrell, Crim.Dist.Ct.
2700 Tulane Ave., Rm. 114
New Orleans, LA 70119
Phone: 504 -658-9000
Fax: 504-658-9183

Deborah J. Langhoff
Chief of Staff
New Orleans District A
Councilmember Susan G. Guidry
Room 2W80

-----Original Message-----
From: NorthWest Carrollton []
Sent: Tuesday, November 02, 2010 4:35 PM
To: Susan G. Guidry; Amy E. Chandler; Deborah J. Langhoff
Cc: Board
Subject: Polling Location 17-10 - Assistance Needed

I just returned from voting.... at Xavier... again. I am lucky.
I have a car and it was still miserable to find a parking place
and walk in the rain to vote... I can't help but think that the
polling location contributes to reduced participation in the
very important democratic process of voting.

PreKatrina Ward 17 Precinct 10 could vote at Incarnate Word
in the 8200 Block of Apricot Street. Since Katrina Xavier.
This email is being sent to a contact at Catholic Charities, Ms. Lachmann,
and to our District A City Council contacts.

Ms. Lachmann: We would very much appreciate it if you could let us know what is
required to return to Incarnate Word as a polling location.

Susan, Amy, Deborah: We know that we need to contact the Registrar of Voters,
but we would like to know if you can provide email contact information for the appropriate person to work with at the Registrar's Office.

We'd like to have the 17 -10 Polling moved back inside the NorthWest Carrollton boundaries before the next voting opportunity.

Sincerely and with thanks in advance,
Jenel Hazlett for NorthWest Carrollton.

Bounded by Carrollton-Claiborne-Leonidas-Earhart

The last FEMA Trailer in NorthWest Carrollton

I know, I know, 2 guys were just feuding over a FEMA tralier in Slidell.

Well NO Fueding here. But it has been more than 5 years. And NorthWest Carrollton has 2 of the 212 FEMA trailers left in New Orleans.

The house on Joliet behind this trailer is looks lovely and repaired. We are hoping that a simple request from the city to the owners and some coordination with FEMA will allow this trailer to be removed. No one should sleep in their car or on the street, but if the house is repaired, it would be nice to have the last FEMA trailer disappear from NorthWest Carrollton before before the 6th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

2800 Block of Joliet between Pritchard Place and Apricot

2821 Joliet - there's a cute house behind the trailer

Joliet between Pritchard & Apricot


Address 2821 JOLIET ST
City / State / Zip NEW ORLEANS LA 70118

Property Address 2821 JOLIET ST
District 7
Assesment Area 16
Square 411
Lot 12
Book 33
Folio 080
Line 010
Tax Bill Number 716327009
Instrument Number 000126952
Notarial Archive Number 96-39326
Sale Date 14-AUG-96
Sale Price $53,450

2010 Preliminary Assessment
Appraised Land 17,400
Appraised Building 30,000
Appraised Total 47,400
Assessed Land 1,740
Assessed Building 3,000
Assessed Total 4,740
Homestead Exemption Amount 4,740
Assessment Frozen NO
Special Tax District
Exempt Code
Assessment Change

Values History
Tax Year 2009
Assessed Land 1,740
Assessed Building 3,000
Assessed Total 4,740
Homestead Exemption Amount 4,740

Property Description
Line 1 Description
1 SQ 411 LOT 12 PT LOTS 13-14
2 JOLIET 30-40 X 150-45

There is also a FEMA Trailer on a large lot at 8401-8415 S. Claiborne.
FEMA Trailer 2011
FEMA Trailer 2011
FEMA Trailer Claiborne @ Cambronne
Mailing Address 8415 S CLAIBORNE AV
NEW ORLEANS, LA 70118 Municipal District 7
Location Address 8401 S CLAIBORNE AV Tax Bill Number 716320201
Property Class R Special Tax District
Subdivision Name Land Area (sq ft) 7200
Square 341 Lot X-1
Book 33 Folio 002
Line 001 Parcel Map
Legal Description 1. SQ 341 LOT X-1
3. 50 X 120

Interesting it seems our neighbor pays no tax on this property.
Value Information
Year Land
Value Improvement
Value Total
Value Assessed
Value Assessed
Value Total
Value Homestead
Value Taxable
Assessment Age
Freeze Disability
Freeze Assmnt
2011 $ 0 $ 0 $ 0 $ 0 $ 0 $ 0 $ 0 $ 0
2010 $ 0 $ 0 $ 0 $ 0 $ 0 $ 0 $ 0 $ 0
2009 $ 0 $ 0 $ 0 $ 0 $ 0 $ 0 $ 0 $ 0

Sale/Transfer Information
Sale/Transfer Date Price Grantor Grantee Notarial Archive Number Instrument Number
04-17-1989 $ 0 00797581 000003888

Monday, December 27, 2010

Somebody gets it...

There are ways to put a value on that bartered shrimp: A guest column by Douglas A. Kysar
Published: Thursday, December 23, 2010, 3:36 PM

In the classic law school novel, "The Paper Chase," Professor Charles W. Kingsfield, Jr. personifies everything that is frustrating and obscure about the law. Memorably portrayed on-screen by John Houseman, Professor Kingsfield relentlessly pushes and criticizes his students in an effort to teach them how to "think like a lawyer." If reports out of the Gulf are to be believed, Kenneth Feinberg is staging his own re-enactment of "The Paper Chase," starring himself as the exacting professor and victims of the BP oil spill as his unwitting students.

In his role as chief administrator of the Gulf Coast Claims Facility ­-- the $20 billion fund established by BP to compensate individuals and businesses affected by the Deepwater Horizon disaster -- Feinberg faces the difficult challenge of offering speedy and fair compensation to hundreds of thousands of claimants without also rewarding false claims. So far, Feinberg seems to be erring on the side of denying valid claims, perhaps to make good on his prediction that the money set aside by BP will be more than enough to compensate all eligible victims.

The most worrisome example of this tendency is Feinberg's treatment of subsistence use claims by the Vietnamese-American fishing community. Members of this community have been hit particularly hard by the spill. Up to one-third of the Gulf Coast fishing industry is Vietnamese-American and more than half of Vietnamese-Americans in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama are dependent on the fishing industry for their livelihoods.

But members of this community don't just depend on the industry for a paycheck. They also typically hold back a small portion of their catch or harvest for "subsistence use."
Rather than sell this portion in the market, they reserve it for their own consumption, for sharing with relatives and neighbors or for bartering with other members of their community. And these practices aren't just about eating shrimp and oysters ­-- they are about strengthening and preserving culture.

Subsistence use claims of this sort are clearly eligible for compensation under the federal Oil Pollution Act, yet Feinberg has indicated little interest in recognizing them.

Why? One concern might be valuation: How does one put a price on practices that are specifically intended to happen outside of the economic market? After the spill, Vietnamese Americans couldn't just go to the supermarket to replace what was lost. A major point of subsistence use is that members of the community become reciprocally dependent on each other, rather than on some anonymous supermarket chain.

This might sound like a law school exam question, but it's really not that hard. The legal system faces a similar dilemma every time someone is compensated in money for wrongful loss of life or limb. There may be no right answer to the question, "How much money is a life worth?", but there is definitely one wrong answer: zero.

By denying subsistence use claims, Feinberg suggests that the value of the Vietnamese American community's cultural practices is zero. He should instead look to market replacement cost or some other admittedly imperfect proxy. After all, it's better to be vaguely right than precisely wrong.

Feinberg might also be concerned about documentation. Admittedly, with $20 billion on the table, the Claims Facility is likely to attract speculative or even fraudulent claims. But any historian or social worker knowledgeable about the Vietnamese American fishing community will attest to the prevalence and significance of subsistence use.

Feinberg seems to think that these losses can be proven through formal receipts or legal documents. That expectation is misguided when the loss at issue is specifically intended to avoid formality and legality. The very meaning of subsistence use to the Vietnamese-American community would change if it required elaborate paperwork and accounting ledgers.

For Feinberg to deny these claims because they don't leave a paper trail like "normal" claims adds insult to injury.

All of this should be obvious to Feinberg. It should also be obvious that if the Claims Facility insists on the same level of paperwork and exactitude as the legal system, then the whole reason for having an alternative to the legal system will disappear. The people of the Gulf have seen enough disappear in recent years.

Douglas A. Kysar, Joseph M. Field '55 Professor of Law at Yale Law School, is the author of "Regulating from Nowhere: Environmental Law and the Search for Objectivity" (Yale University Press). His e-mail address is

Tire Pile on Leonidas - 8604-APPLE ST

One of the things that NorthWest Carrollton does to flight blight and create a better quality of life for residents is to regularly sweep our neighborhood and pick up tires.

This property is across the street from some of our NorthWest Carrollton neighbors located between Apple & Nelson on Leonidas. The tire pile has been there for YEARS. The municipal address is 8604 Apple Street.

Leonidas between Apple & Nelson
Leonidas between Apple & Nelson
Leonidas between Apple & Nelson

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Officer Kirton - Tips on crime prevention

From: NOLA Info
To: NOLAReady
Subject: Important Alert from NOLA Ready
Date: Dec 23, 2010 1:09 PM
Hello Everyone,

Recently I have received inquires from many of you concerning steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim of crime. The areas I would like to focus on are auto and home burglaries.

There are many things you can do to help prevent your home from being burglarized.

I suggest the following:

- When leaving your residence make certain the doors and windows are locked. (Many people forget this very simple action)

- Examine the foliage around your home. You should consider cutting back any shrubbery or tree limbs that may obstruct the view from the street or any that may offer a hiding place or any that may be used as an avenue into a window. You should be able to easily see the street and anyone passing on the sidewalk in front of your home.

- Make agreements with your neighbors to watch out for each others homes.

- Let a neighbor know when you are going to be away from home. (Even if you are just going for a night out)

- Report any suspicious persons whom may be hanging around in the area.

- Asses your outside lighting situation. The better lighting you have the less likely a criminal will target your home. (Remember better doesn't necessarily mean brighter. Reduce GLARE as well as shadows and consider motion sensor lights. There are great solar powered motion sensor lights available at LOWE'S)

- Always communicate with your neighbors. One of the benefits of a neighborhood organization is that it's easier to get to know your neighbors. NorthWest Carrollton neighborhood meetings will re-start in the new year.)

- Do not hesitate to call the police if you see what you think is suspicious activity. You are not wasting our time.

- Also, please remember, you should never advertise a new purchase by placing the box or carton it came in out for garbage pick up. This is as good as an invitation to thieves to break into your home and help themselves. If you have a large purchase being delivered, ask that the delivery persons remove the carton or box it was delivered in. For smaller purchases, which you carried out of the store, try to break the carton or box into smaller pieces then place them in dark garbage bags.

There are also steps you can take to help prevent your vehicle from being burglarized.

I have learned from speaking with many of you that some of you have been convinced that leaving your cars or trucks unlocked is a good idea. This is untrue. Most car burglars will not draw attention to themselves by smashing a window. They generally pick their targets by simply pulling on the door handle to see if it opens. If not, they usually move on to something easier. (Door left unlocked)

With that said, please keep in mind, in addition to locking your car doors you must not leave valuable items in plain sight (lap tops, GPS, guns, purses, cameras, cash, shopping bags, etc). Seeing these items will make a thief take a chance on smashing the window.

While no system is fool proof, employing these steps should reduce your chances of being victimized.

Thank you,
Sergeant Robert W. Kirton, III
Community Outreach Coordinator
2nd District
4317 Magazine Street
NOLA 70115
Off. 658-6020
Cell. 239-0327

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Fighting the Blight... for 5 years...

Mitch Landrieu say in his Christmas Day Editorial that
"In just three hours, 18 abandoned cars were towed, 55 abandoned cars were tagged, five catch basins were repaired, 11 structures were demolished, 57 gallons of paint were used to beautify parks and fences, trees were planted, overgrown lots were mowed and cleared, abandoned tires were collected, NORD facilities saw improvements, 183 code/health citations were issued and 890 property assessments by citizen volunteers were performed."

You may or may not know that for the past 5 years NorthWest Carrollton members have been doing exactly the same thing.

We've worked with NOPD to have abandoned cars towed from the neighborhood and to stop a tow truck driver from dumping cars in the neighborhood (this took 2 years!)

During 2 seperate summers volunteers (World Changers & Lutherans) cleaned catch basins and painted houses in the neighborhood. We organized a neighborhood cleanup after the February 2007 tornado. Rebuilding Together has also worked in our neighborhood.

We've collected truck loads of tires.

In our little 5 x 7 block area Hike for KaTREEna has helped us plant more than 100 trees.

We've taken pictures of blighted properties and identified these to City Hall AND followed up by attending the the Blight Hearings.

And we'll keep doing it. With the hope that the city will support our individual efforts as much as they support "Fight the Blight" work weekends. We've shown we can do the grunt work what we need are solid and cost effective processes and procedures at City Hall.

Military is leading the green revolution

Military is leading the green revolution
Friday, December 24, 2010 02:51 AM

The thing I love most about America is that there’s always somebody here who doesn’t get the word — and they go out and do the right thing or invent the new thing, no matter what’s going on politically or economically. And what could save America’s energy future — at a time when a fraudulent, anti-science campaign funded largely by Big Oil and Big Coal has blocked Congress from passing any clean energy/climate bill — is the fact that the Navy and Marine Corps just didn’t get the word.

Spearheaded by Ray Mabus, President Barack Obama’s secretary of the Navy and the former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, the Navy and Marines are building a strategy for “out-greening” al-Qaida, “out-greening” the Taliban and “out-greening” the world’s petro-dictators. Their efforts are based in part on a recent study from 2007 data that found that the U.S. military loses one person, killed or wounded, for every 24 fuel convoys it runs in Afghanistan. Today, there are hundreds and hundreds of these convoys needed to truck fuel — to run air-conditioners and power diesel generators — to remote bases all over Afghanistan.

Mabus’ argument is that if the U.S. Navy and Marines could replace those generators with renewable power and more energy-efficient buildings, and run its ships on nuclear energy, biofuels and hybrid engines, and fly its jets with biofuels, then it could out-green the Taliban — the best way to avoid a roadside bomb is to not have vehicles on the roads — and out-green all the petro-dictators now telling the world what to do.

Unlike Congress, which can be bought off by Big Oil and Big Coal, it is not so easy to tell the Marines that they can’t buy the solar power that could save lives. I don’t know what the final outcome in Iraq or Afghanistan will be, but if we come out of these two wars with a Pentagon-led green revolution, I know they won’t be a total loss.

Jackalyne Pfannenstiel, the assistant secretary of the Navy for energy, installations and environment, used to lead the California Energy Commission. She listed for me what’s going on:

On April 22, Earth Day, the Navy flew a F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jet powered by a 50-50 blend of conventional jet fuel and camelina aviation biofuel made from pressed mustard seeds. It flew at Mach 1.2 and has since been tested on biofuels at Mach 1.7 — without a hiccup.

The Navy will use only “third generation” biofuels. That means no ethanol made from corn because it doesn’t have enough energy density. The Navy is testing only fuels like camelina and algae that do not compete with food, that have a total end-to-end carbon footprint cleaner than fossil fuels and that can be grown in ways that will ultimately be cheaper than fossil fuels. In October, the Navy launched the USS Makin Island amphibious assault ship, which is propelled by a hybrid gas turbine/electric motor. On its maiden voyage from Mississippi to San Diego, said Mabus, it saved $2 million in fuel.

In addition, the Navy has tested its RCB-X combat boat on a 50-50 blend of algae and diesel, and it has tested its SH-60 helicopter on a similar biofuel blend. Meanwhile, the Marines now have a “green” forward operating base set up in Helmand Province in Afghanistan that is testing everything from LED lights in tents to solar canopies to power refrigerators and equipment in the field to see just how efficiently one remote base can get by without fossil fuel.

When you factor in all the costs of transporting fuel by truck or air to a forward base in Afghanistan — that is, guarding it and delivering it over mountains — a single gallon of gasoline “could cost up to $400” once it finally arrives, Mabus said.

The Navy plans in 2012 to put out to sea a “Great Green Fleet,” a 13-ship carrier battle group powered either by nuclear energy or 50-50 blends of biofuels and with aircraft flying on 50-50 blends of biofuels.

Mabus also has set a goal for the Navy to use alternative energy sources to provide 50 percent of the energy for all its war-fighting ships, planes, vehicles and shore installations by 2020. If the Navy really uses its buying power when buying power, and setting building efficiency standards, it alone could expand the green energy market in a decisive way.

And, if Congress will simply refrain from forcing the Navy to use corn ethanol or liquid coal — neither of which are clean or efficient, but are located in many congressional districts — we might really get a green revolution in the military. That could save lives, money and the planet, and might even help us win — or avoid — the next war. Go Navy!

Thomas L. Friedman writes for The New York Times.

Friday, December 24, 2010

You can help a New Orleans NonProfit win $25,000

Are you looking for a way to give back to your community this holiday season?

Thanks to Entergy’s The Power to Care Challenge giving back has never been easier. A simple click of an online button can help a New Orleans nonprofit agency continue to provide much-needed services year-round.

The Power to Care Challenge is a new online competition that allows Entergy customers and other Facebook users to have a say in which nonprofit in their area wins a $25,000 grant from Entergy.

Through Dec. 31, voters can visit and vote for their favorite selected nonprofit agency. The agency with the most votes at the end of the competition will earn a $25,000 grant from Entergy Corporation.

To vote, anyone with a Facebook account can visit The Power to Care page on ( Users must first click the “like” button on The Power to Care page before they can vote.

In New Orleans, the five non-profits competing for a $25,000 grant are:

Green Light New Orleans

Louisiana’s Children’s Museum

Louisiana SPCA

Preservation Resource Center

Reconcile New Orleans

All told, Entergy will give away $125,000 in grants. Agencies with the most votes in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and New Orleans will each earn a $25,000 grant.

Happy Holidays!

Kerry A. Jones
Customer Service Manager - District A
Entergy New Orleans, Inc.
8-566-3727 (internal)
504-595-3727 (external)
~ "The difficult we do, the impossible we strive for" ~

EVERYTHING requires maintenance

Natural Gas is clean energy and being able to generate your own electricity is not a bad thing.... the problem is that EVERYTHING requires maintenance. No maintenance.... things break.

Bold is from full article below.
The S&WB power plant produces an uncommon frequency of electricity known as 25-Hertz, also called 25-cycle, that drives the motors that run about half the city's drinking water system, namely giant pumps that suck raw water from the Mississippi River and smaller pumps that send purified water into the underground pipe network. The water purification plant, meanwhile, runs on power purchased from Entergy New Orleans.

The power plant generates electricity by running tap water through enormous boilers, which create steam to run four turbines that produce 25-cycle power. Natural gas purchased from Entergy is used to start boilers and turbines, which run singly or in tandem depending on how much power the system needs.

Once the equipment is up and running, it relies on self-generated steam and a series of natural gas feeds to stay online.

Read the whole story about the Sewerage & Water Board Plant on the edge of NorthWest Carrollton by clicking this link:
Water pressure dropped when turbine failed at S&WB power plant
Published: Thursday, December 23, 2010, 12:51 AM
By Michelle Krupa, The Times-Picayune

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Now all we need to do is TAX the imports to pay for the testing...

Tougher rules on shrimp imports hailed
Potential rules on Gulf oysters averted
Thursday, December 23, 2010 By Benjamin Alexander-Bloch Staff writer

A food safety bill passed through Congress on Wednesday with language that increases inspection and enforcement standards on imported seafood.

The bill, which now awaits President Barack Obama's signature to become law, gives the Food and Drug Administration unprecedented power to regulate food contamination, allowing the FDA to demand food recalls, increase inspections, access food company records and require manufacturers to keep more detailed food safety plans.

The bill also retained language that prevents any immediate regulations being imposed upon the Gulf Coast oyster industry.

The Southern Shrimp Alliance, an eight-state coalition of shrimpers and processors that has long pushed for greater regulations on shrimp imports, hailed the bill's final passage as providing "a new level of federal-state partnership that allows state and local officials to act as an arm of the federal government to increase inspection and enforce safe seafood standards."

Under the bill, states would receive federal grants to train local officials and provide necessary staffing levels and lab capabilities to carry out enforcement, inspection and surveillance.

Other concepts embraced by the Southern Shrimp Alliance are increased penalties for imported food safety violations and more intricate foreign facility testing, inspections and certification.

And a year after the FDA backed down on proposed 2011 bacterial treatment requirements for raw oysters in warmer months, the new legislation makes it harder to impose regulations on the processing and consumption of oysters.

The FDA would have to conduct public health and cost assessments, and consult with federal and state officials and agencies before implementing any regulations. Also any potential regulations to oysters would require passing a report through the Senate's Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and the House's Committee on Energy and Commerce.

That report would detail how post-harvest processing could be implemented in the fastest, safest and most economical manner, the projected public health benefits and the costs of compliance on the oyster industry. The FDA would have to guarantee that any criteria would be applied equally to shellfish imported from all foreign counties.

In terms of the new stiffer import regulations, if a product -- for example, seafood -- is rejected by a port, under the new legislation it would be stamped "Refused Entry by the United States Government" and the federal government would then notify all other ports of the refused product and shipment number.

Southern Shrimp Alliance officials said the added language would help prevent "port shopping," where importers refused at one port would jump to another undetected.

The FDA would be required to inspect foreign facilities at least once every four years and a facility's certification can be withdrawn if it is linked to the outbreak of a food-borne illness. FDA inspection facilities would be set up in foreign countries to provide assistance to foreign companies that want to import to the U.S.

"The level of FDA testing enforcement must be set high enough that the consequences of importing contaminated shrimp become a greater cost of doing business than importers can sustain," said a statement from the Southern Shrimp Alliance released on Wednesday. "Only then will importers demand that their shrimp suppliers stop using illegal antibiotics and pesticides on their farms."

A separate amendment to the bill, which would have increased FDA inspections on seafood imports to 20 percent by 2015, failed. The Southern Shrimp Alliance says the FDA now inspects less than 2 percent of such imports.
. . . . . . .

Benjamin Alexander-Bloch can be reached at or 504.826.3321.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Buy LOCAL!!!! Shrimpers and subsidies

I'm not one of those people who oppose all subsidies... there's a time and a place for every tool in the toolbox. BUT providing subsidies to shrimpers... the same subsidies that have destroyed American farms (not corporate farms) won't help Gulf Coast Shrimpers. The problem is that, and I quote from the article below:
"..20 years ago, 80 percent of shrimp consumed in the United States came from domestic producers, with 20 percent imported. Now, those numbers are reversed."

What about TAXING the IMPORTS???? Why aren't we doing that? Do we really need shrimp from Vietnam when we have our own skilled shrimpers, some of whom are Vietnamese, right here? What do you think the food quality testing programs in Vietnam or China or name your county are like?

"...the price per pound dropped from $2.78 in 2000 to $1.66 in 2008, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and an April paper prepared by Texas economists for the USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service, which runs the assistance program."

So why aren't we taxing the imports? Why aren't we encouraging shorter transportation distances for food stuffs? Why are the shrimp from other places so cheap? Does it really cost nothing to ship shrimp or any other food stuff across the ocean? No it costs. But trust me just like here.... the shrimpers aren't the ones making the profit, a living maybe but not racking in the dough.
If there was a limit on how much petroleum product we could use would you choose to ship shrimp from overseas with it or would you choose to use less of it to get shrimp from the Gulf Coast and feed local shrimpers in the process?

Why are our lawmakers so impractical as to provide subsidies at our expense instead of taxing the imports which I know full well is also at our expense? Wouldn't you rather tax the imports so our shrimpers can make a living shrimping rather than taxing ourselves because we've set it up so that the shrimpers can't make a living shrimping?


Local shrimpers to get aid
Program recognizes plummeting prices
Monday, December 20, 2010
By Benjamin Alexander-Bloch
St. Bernard bureau

For several hours one day last week, about 20 Gulf Coast shrimpers sat indoors on an unusually warm December morning in lower St. Bernard Parish, learning about a program that could net them $12,000 apiece in subsidies because of increased shrimp imports, smaller domestic catches and plummeting shrimp prices in the past five years.

It is the first time the U.S. Department of Agriculture has offered the subsidy program since Hurricane Katrina, and it's doing so because of the downturn in Gulf and South Atlantic states' shrimp catch and value.

More than 14,000 Louisianians, including about 800 from the New Orleans area, signed up by Sept. 23 for the first round of the program. The deadline for the second and final round is Thursday.

Formally known as Trade Adjustment Assistance for Farmers, the program focuses only on the years 2005 through 2008. People who quit the shrimping industry after this year's BP oil spill can qualify, if they can show they were involved in the industry in 2008 and at least one of the three prior years: 2005, 2006 or 2007.

Even before the tumult caused by the spill, the past decade has seen massive declines in the domestic shrimp industry, with the annual catch falling from 322 million pounds in 2000 to 212 million pounds in 2008.

Meanwhile, the price per pound dropped from $2.78 in 2000 to $1.66 in 2008, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and an April paper prepared by Texas economists for the USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service, which runs the assistance program.

During that same eight-year period, annual imports jumped from 625 million pounds to 948 million, according to the economists' study.

Rex Caffey, director of the LSU Center for Natural Resource Economics and Policy, said that 20 years ago, 80 percent of shrimp consumed in the United States came from domestic producers, with 20 percent imported. Now, those numbers are reversed.

As a result, imports end up setting the price.

Caffey said the major blow to the Gulf seafood market has not been "natural disaster, or man-made disasters."

"It has been trying to keep up with global imports," he said.

The federal assistance program, organized locally by the LSU AgCenter and Louisiana Sea Grant, aims to subsidize shrimpers for money lost to such imports.

It has four phases. Completing the first three can garner participants a total of $4,000. The remaining phase, which involves creating an extended business plan, can bring them another $8,000.

Boat owners, spouses, children, business partners and deckhands involved in shrimping are all potentially eligible. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or lawfully admitted aliens.

Shrimpers admitted into the first phase of the program in September must complete a mandatory initial orientation by Wednesday to remain enrolled.

The last in-person orientation session will be held Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Belle Chasse Civic Auditorium. Otherwise, applicants can complete the orientation online at

Meanwhile, those interested in qualifying for the final round of the program by the Thursday deadline must contact an office of the USDA's Farm Service Agency to set up a meeting. The Farm Service Agency locations nearest to the metro New Orleans area are in St. John Parish, 985.497.3311, and Washington Parish, 985.839.5687.

During the application phase that ended in September, the Foreign Agricultural Service initially required applicants to show that their 2008 catch was smaller than in 2007 or that the price of their shrimp in 2008 was lower than the average price in 2005, 2006 and 2007. But two days before that application period ended, the Southern Shrimp Alliance successfully petitioned for "group certification" of shrimpers in most Louisiana parishes.

That certification means the Foreign Agricultural Service will now automatically accept that shrimpers in those parishes have been adversely affected by imports and qualify for subsidies without the shrimpers having to prove it individually.

. . . . . . .

Benjamin Alexander-Bloch can be reached at or 504.826.3321.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Survival of the fittest

David Stiller in his book Wounding the West: Montana, Mining and the Environment: "American businesses exist to make money for their owners; it is the modus operandi of American capitalism. A corollary to the money-making process is not spending it needlessly... Successful businesses differentiate between those expenses necessary to stay in business and those more pensively characterized as 'moral obligations.' Difficulties or reluctance to understand and accept this distinction underscores much of the tension between advocates of broadly mandated environmental programs and the business community."

Stiller was quoted in Jared Diamond's Collapse: How societies choose to fail or succeed.

Jared Diamond is trying to get the world to see that it really isn't about moral obligations or money making but long term survival.

New Orleanians get it. Now.
This is why the fight to repair the damage to our coast is so critical. It is about long term survival. This is why our mayor calls New Orleans the canary in the coal mine. In 2005 the whole world saw just how threatened the canary could be. This is why our mayor should begin to use the term I have used for New Orleans since Katrina: "America's Petri Dish". Petri Dishes are used in biology/medicine/science to selectively study issues or problems and to selectively grow potential solutions.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Comedy of IT errors

It's worth taking a look at Humid Beings Post on Orleans Parish Clerk of (Civil) Court Computer Crash.

Having worked in IT long enough to experience computer crashes, database crashes, database archive configuration issues, backup configuration issues.... it takes a lot of things going wrong simultaneously for this kind of thing to happen....

We forget how critical it is to have people who:
1) understand the technology being used
2) understand the data and it's importance
to be able to keep these critical systems happy and safe.

I have yet to read anything which indicates that anyone knows what really went wrong.

The servers containing all of the conveyance and mortgage records crashed. The company hired in August 2009 to back up the records had stopped receiving good data in July, and it lost the older data in monthly purges. A batch of fully updated records was recovered, but it was garbled and deemed unusable.

Let's take this apart bit by bit:

The servers containing all of the conveyance and mortgage records crashed.Crashed... were running and went down. Servers reboot folks... Disks crash and can be recovered or restored via RAID and/or backup recover from tape or disk copy. Servers (as in more than one) all crashing and not rebooting or recovering is... well in today's computer world.... rare.

Not using a RAID system to protect the data in today's world - STUPID. But say that no one in City Government is smart enough to configure RAID disks. Disk space is so cheap you could literally make a complete copy of the database on a completly different system pretty inexpensively.

And when systems crash it is critical to have people available who understand how the systems are configured and what the error messages mean.

The company hired in August 2009 to back up the records had stopped receiving good data in July, and it lost the older data in monthly purges. A batch of fully updated records was recovered, but it was garbled and deemed unusable.
The court eventually was able to recover digital conveyance records from the 1980s up to March 27, 2009, and mortgage data through Aug. 6, 2009.

Really?- NO BODY... NOT ONE PERSON was watching to ensure that the backups were completing successfully? No one? Monthy purges of what exactly? Weekly backups? Known in the business as incrementals. Folks you can loose every single incremental backup and still RECOVER as long as you have a valid Full Backup. This makes it sound like the last successful FULL Backup they got was August 2009. So for a whole year no one checked to confirm that the backups were functioning. No ONE? When we are talking about ALL the data on real estate transactions in Orleans Parish. Wow. I've seen incompetence. More than my share. Unintentional misunderstanding how the systems function both hardware and software can cause this to happen. But a year of not making sure the backups work? A year? Not a couple of weeks. Which is more likely to happen in big companies than you'd like to think.... but a YEAR?

Databases (Oracle/SQL) have the capacity to have archives which allow them to be "rolled back" or "forward to" a specific recovery point. It takes knowledge of how Oracle/SQL and the application and the volume of data changes as well as finesse to set this up effectively and effienctly. And in the best of all possible configurations the data should be on one server and the database and it's archive logs should be on another so that you never loose both at once but... well... that probably falls under the finesse category. It sounds like they lost this too.
either that OR
they have everything successfully on backup but they lost the backup server's database which allows the backup tapes/disks to be rebuilt. The article isn't clear as to whether the problem was with the recovered data (well pulled it off backup tape but what we got we can't use to rebuild the database) or the ability to recover data (we got stuff on tape/disk but we can't figure out how to get it off.) Understanding the problem is a big step toward a solution and I'm not sure that anyone at the Clerk of (Civil) Court understands what really happened.

The backup system doesn't seem to either have been configured properly, or functioning properly or tested to confirm it was working properly.

But real estate agents and title attorneys say they have never seen two servers full of data knocked out simultaneously, all the backup systems fail and 21 months of records disappear in one fell swoop.

No it takes a number of large doses of bad luck and incompetence and just flat not caring to get us where were are. Someone from the outside should have been watching and questioning what the recovery process was because it is real hard to beleive that the same people who got us into this mess could ever dig us out.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Caroling in Palmer Park

4th Annual Christmas Caroling in Palmer Park

Saturday December 11, 2010


Bring canned goods for the food bank,
and also your lawn chairs, picnic dinners & candles!!!
Eggnog and treats for the kids provided.

Participating neighborhoods
Northwest Carrollton Civic Association; Central Carrollton Association; Carrollton Riverbend Neighborhood Association; Carrollton United; Uptown Triangle Neighborhood Association; Palmer Park Neighborhood Association; Holly Grove Neighborhood Association

AARP 5 Minute Oil Change Robert’s Fresh Food Market

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

More 21 Century City Comments

See this article on The Lens about city budget and tax implications.

The city lost a source of revenue recently when the mayor and council agreed – again, apparently in private – to drop an increase in taxes paid by parking-lot owners.

Stupid… You want a 21 Century City? Cars aren’t 21st Century. Make the Parking Lot Owners pay taxes they will raise their rates to compensate. Some people may change their mind about needing to take a CAR to downtown. The city can’t really be afraid that FEWER people will choose to shop downtown because of increasing fees by Parking Lot owners? Really? All the people who don’t shop downtown because of Parking are already NOT shopping downtown.

Monday, December 6, 2010

New Orleans and the 21st Century city

Two articles caught my attention in this weekend's newspaper.
One on Entergy and their negotiations with the Arkansas & Mississippi branches of the Entergy family.
Another an Op Ed on Recycling and the Trash Contracts.

Let's take some information from the Entergy article:
"Entergy Arkansas, which relies primarily on power generated from lower-cost sources like coal and nuclear plants."

"Entergy Louisiana, Entergy New Orleans, and other sister utilities that produce more expensive power at plants fired by natural gas, which has shot up in price in recent years."

Now Coal is just about the dirtiest fuel you can burn and Natural Gas the cleanest. So we're trading cheap for less environmentally friendly fuel. We're trading fuel that comes from Arkansas for fuel that comes from and through Louisiana and provides payroll for lots of New Orleans and Louisiana based folks.

Now lets take a look at that Op Ed about recycling and
"Some residents, admittedly, don't worry about recycling, but those who do care tend to care a lot and get frustrated every time they have to toss a plastic water bottle or old newspaper. For them, living in a city that offers such basic services is bound to provide a psychological boost.

It's also a boost to New Orleans' outside image as it strives to market itself as an environmentally aware city of the future, not some barely functional backwater. It's a lot easier to position yourself as a 21st century city if you're at least living up to late 20th century minimum standards."

So if we really want a 21st century city... and we do folks, we do... then we need to wean ourselves from Entergy Arkansas, push to use what we have and push Entergy to start using more 21st century solutions... solar... wind... a turbine run by the Mississippi River's current.

And suck up the costs of the trash contracts and be damn grateful that they now include recycling because it sends the right message about who we want to be.

New Orleans has always been called the most European city in America. Look to how some of the European cities have become more green and environmentally aware. It's not a bad way to be true to our historical legacy and look to the future at the same time.

Parking - and Taxes .... yours

Take a look at this article on The Lens

The city lost a source of revenue recently when the mayor and council agreed – again, apparently in private – to drop an increase in taxes paid by parking-lot owners.

Stupid… You want a 21 Century City? Cars aren’t 21st Century. Make the Parking Lot Owners pay taxes they will raise their rates to compensate. Some people may change their mind about needing to take a CAR to downtown. The city can’t really be afraid that FEWER people will choose to shop downtown because of increasing by Parking Lot owners? Really? All the people who don’t shop downtown because of Parking are already NOT shopping downtown.

Friday, December 3, 2010

1st Annual New Orleans Children's Book Festival

You're Invited to the 1st Annual New Orleans Children's Book Festival

Free books for the first 2,000 kids! Free food and fun for the whole family!
Join us fort the 1st Annual New Orleans Children's Book Festival, which will feature tasty food, toe-tappin ' music, terrific activities and, of course, tons of books.

The Ruby Bridges Foundation, First Lady Cheryl Landrieu and others have partnered to launch the festival to honor the 50th Anniversary of her historic walk to help integrate New Orleans public schools.

Saturday, December 4, 2010
Latter Branch Library
5120 St. Charles Avenue
11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

It's story time!

The first 2,000 children to the festival will receive free books! Many others will receive tote bags and fun goodies!

The festival will feature local authors reading stories throughout the day, including:

Ruby Bridges, Through My Eyes
James Carville, Lu and the Swamp Ghost
Cecelia Dartez, Jenny Giraffe
Alex Beard, The Jungle Grapevine
Nancy Parker, The Adventures of Yat and Dat: What’s Cookin’
Dr. Pandwe Gibson, Why series for children
Freddi Williams Evans, A Bus of Our Own, The Battle of New Orleans – The Drummer’s Story, Hush Harbor – Praying in Secret
JoAnn Mertens & Pat Roig, The Beignet That Almost Got Away
Dee Scallan, Moby Pincher series
Alison Hoffman Lane, Uncle Arnel and the Swamp Witch

Food, Music & Activities
Amanda Shaw
The James Andrews Brass Band
New Orleans Saints Mascot “Gumbo”
New Orleans Hornets Honey Bees
The Zoo Mobile
The Book Mobile
Red Beans & Rice
Lucky Dogs
Gingerbread Cookies courtesy of Berthe Amos, author of The Cajun Gingerbread Boy

Special Thanks
Thank you to our sponsors and partners:
Chevron, UPS, New Orleans Saints, Louisiana Children's Museum, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, Ampersand, Inc., New Orleans Hornets, InterContinental New Orleans, Southern Eagle, Friends of the New Orleans Library, Home Depot, Walgreens, LA Public Health Institute, Freeport McMoRan, Young Leadership Council - One Book One New Orleans, Target, Briones Consulting & Engineering, Ltd. and City Year.

Want more information?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thank you Monique! - ~100 of those trees planted in NorthWest Carrollton

From: Hike for Katreena
Subject: New leadership
Date: Nov 30, 2010 9:13 PM
To Hike for Katreena supporter,

Five years ago I started Hike for Katreena as a way to give back to New Orleans after the destruction caused by the hurricane and the levee failures. New Orleans has been my home since birth and the home to my family for over seven generations. I love this city deeply, in a way that other native New Orleanians will readily understand.

I’ve always said the hurricane had a silver lining for me because it allowed me to do work that I am passionate about and it allowed me to work daily with others who have devoted their time to rebuilding New Orleans. To work alongside so many of you who have given so selflessly and sacrificed so much for the betterment of this city has been a humbling experience and a true honor.

When I started Hike for Katreena I was unsure how I was going to accomplish my goal of planting 2,175 trees; because of the love and support that I have received from so many, Hike for Katreena is now close to planting its 8000th tree in New Orleans. Eight thousand seems like a lot of trees, but when you realize we lost over 100,000 it’s clear we still have a lot of work to do.

After fostering the growth of this organization for the last five years I feel confident in turning over the reins to Connie Uddo, a colleague in the field of rebuilding New Orleans and someone who feels as passionately about Hike for Katreena’s mission as I do. I have had the pleasure of working closely with Connie through her work as Director of St. Paul’s Homecoming Center and know she will provide excellent leadership as the organization continues to grow and serve even more people and neighborhoods. Please help and support Connie as much as you have supported me. You can contact her at

I plan to spend the next few months working closely with Connie to ensure a smooth transition. In April of 2011, I will leave to hike the Appalachian Trail for the second time. This time rather than carrying with me the hopes and fears that go along with starting a non-profit, my hike will be sustained by the knowledge that Hike for Katreena is a vital, healthy organization in a vital, strong city. The awareness of what Hike for Katreena has done and what it will continue to do sustains and inspires me as I move on to seek out my next challenge.

All of you in some way have given me an opportunity to realize my dreams and for that I am eternally grateful. Thank you for all you have done.

Best wishes to all,
Monique PiliƩ
Founding Director
Hike for KaTREEna