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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

We couldn't agree more...

Fines are what you do before Sheriff Sales. Fines can work if the city actually goes after the money and the property owner. Fines can lead to houses being repaired and saved. Just take one look at the Booker Properties in the 8300 Block of Apricot to see what adjudication hearings and associated fines can do.

New Orleans needs to fight blight on all fronts: An editorial

Mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration is focused on seizing and selling derelict properties, and getting ramshackle houses out of the hands of negligent owners is a smart approach to fighting blight.

The mayor wants to eliminate 10,000 blighted properties by 2014.
The city has an estimated 43,800 blighted properties, according to a recent study. Those eyesores are a hazard to public health, safety and quality of life, as well as economic development. Getting them up to code quickly should be a high priority for the city.

To that end, Mayor Landrieu has announced the ambitious goal of eliminating 10,000 nuisance properties by 2014. The administration said it wants to hold 1,000 sheriff's sales this year to meet that objective.

Going forward, though, the city needs to use every tool to combat blight, including aggressive enforcement of fines, something that didn't happen under Mayor Ray Nagin.

The Nagin administration only used sheriff's sales seven times in eight years, and fines levied against property owners were allowed to go uncollected. Nearly 3,300 properties have outstanding fines for code violations, amounting to a whopping $29 million.

The cost of weak enforcement isn't limited to uncollected revenue. Two recent fires involved properties whose owners had outstanding fines.

Fines that aren't enforced are meaningless, and it's frustrating that so many property owners were allowed to ignore the city's demands.

So far, the Landrieu administration hasn't done much to reduce the backlog of uncollected fines. As of Jan. 14, only 355 owners had paid any amount at all. Jeff Hebert, who handles blight for the administration, said that the large amount that remains outstanding is a reflection of the Nagin administration's failure to enforce the ultimate penalty: seizure and sale.

Fines are a tool to encourage owners to bring their property up to code, he said. If that doesn't work -- and quickly -- the city has the authority to seize and sell them. State and local laws allow the city to initiate that process just 30 days after an owner fails to pay a fine. Theoretically, the process can proceed fairly quickly, since a sale can be scheduled within 60 days of a lien being issued.

But in practice, seizure and sale can take longer. The Landrieu administration has only set sheriff's sales for 63 properties so far, a delay that Mr. Hebert blamed on the previous administration's failure to notify all interested parties of maximum fines and the potential for seizure and sale.

The city stands to gain more revenue from sheriff's sales than collecting outstanding fines, Mr. Hebert said, and getting new owners who will bring properties into compliance is another incentive for focusing on sheriff's sales.

But fines can be a part of the solution, too, and the Landrieu administration should make sure that property owners no longer see them as an empty threat.

Monday, January 24, 2011

New Orleans blight fines go uncollected...

M. Kimball PRC quoted in the full article below:
"If the city is just going to place a fine on a property and do nothing to collect it, there is no encouragement for the property owner either to pay the fine or to bring their property into compliance."

We thought that was exactly what was happening at the corner of Dante & Fig in NorthWest Carrollton. But we've discovered that at least the property has changed hands. Now we're asking what kind of followup takes place when this happens.

In the past there was always a a bit of cursory scrambling after a hearing and then.... same old same old. We're hoping this won't be the case in 2011. But if there is one thing we've learned it's that only followup and exposure gets action. We had similar issues with property on Apricot, but Blight Hearings and fines seem to have caused both the city and the owner to get serious about repairs. The owner on her properties and the city on a leak that made the sidewalk impassible for years. So the process can work and can save properties from being torn down.

Full Article below taken from the Front Page TP January 22, 2011

As Mayor Mitch Landrieu ramps up a campaign to eliminate blight in New Orleans, records show his administration has collected less than 3 percent of nearly $29 million in fines levied since mid-2008 against property owners whose homes and businesses violate local building and heath codes.

The owners of almost 3,300 properties have outstanding fines for failing to comply with laws that require doors and windows to be boarded up, unused swimming pools to be filled and lawns to be tended, data provided by the city show.

Though the fines are supposed to be paid within weeks, only 355 of the properties' owners had paid anything at all through Jan. 14, the data show.

Asked why collections were so low, Jeff Hebert, who oversees blight policy for the Landrieu administration, pointed to the failure of City Hall -- until recently -- to enforce the ultimate penalty against delinquent owners: seizing and selling their properties.

The purpose of fines, he added, is not to rake in cash but to prompt negligent owners to clean up their lots. If they don't, the city should sell the property quickly at a sheriff's sale.

Local and state laws allow the city to sell properties whose owners fail to pay fines or liens after just 30 days. The fines are levied to cover the cost of cutting grass and other cleanup measures, and in some cases can reach $500 a day.

A sale usually can be scheduled within 60 days after a lien is issued, meaning the whole process, from an initial citation to a final sale, could take no longer than four to six months.

The tool was used just seven times during former Mayor Ray Nagin's tenure, which explains why a large number of fines levied before Landrieu took office in May remain unpaid, Hebert said.

"Without the ability for the city to do something with the properties, ... no one has an incentive to pay the fines," he said.

A pair of recent fires, including one that killed eight young people in an abandoned 9th Ward warehouse and another that destroyed a vacant church and adjacent home on Prytania Street, show that fines without enforcement don't prompt owners to bring their properties into compliance.

Despite being cited for structural problems in 2007 and fined $575, the maximum penalty then allowed by law, the warehouse's owner took no corrective action at the building on St. Ferdinand Street, city officials have said.

The same goes for the two-story home next to the church, which was slapped with $15,575 in fines in 2008. New rules enacted in July of that year authorize the city to impose fines of as much as $15,000, plus fees.

A recent study estimated that there are 43,800 blighted properties in New Orleans.

Michelle Kimball, a senior advocate at the Preservation Resource Center, said the city's low collection rate comes as no surprise.

"We're seeing so few of the properties that are going through the process that are coming into compliance," she said. "If the city is just going to place a fine on a property and do nothing to collect it, there is no encouragement for the property owner either to pay the fine or to bring their property into compliance."

Money collected from fines also could be used to beef up the property inspection staff, she said.

Keene Kelley, president of the Garden District Association board, said he felt "totally discouraged and outraged" when he learned about the outstanding fines on the Prytania Street house. Enforcement efforts "could be a lot more effective," he said, adding that fines alone aren't the answer.

"They have to create an automatic opportunity for seizure and sale," he said.

That's exactly what city officials have been working to do, Hebert said.

But so far, sheriff's sales have gotten off to a slow start, according to data provided at last week's BlightStat session, a biweekly public meeting at which officials discuss their efforts to meet Landrieu's goal of eliminating 10,000 nuisance properties by 2014.

Of nearly 750 files reviewed since October, just 63 properties carrying a combined total of almost $550,000 in liens are set for the auction block, according to City Hall.

Hebert blamed delays on the frequent failure of Nagin-era staffers to notify all interested parties of maximum fines and potential sales. The new administration has been working to verify and, in some cases, re-issue notices so the properties can get back into the pipeline, he said.

To meet Landrieu's benchmarks, the pace will have to increase. The administration has set a goal of 1,000 sheriff's sales this year, and the 2011 budget relies on at least $3.75 million in revenue from the transactions to help pay for code enforcement efforts, Hebert said.

Meanwhile, some may see the $27.5 million in outstanding fines as a potential windfall, particularly for a cash-strapped city that recently hiked property taxes and sanitation fees to cover a budget shortfall.

But Hebert said officials "would much rather see the property come into compliance than go collect $30 million" because the value of properly tended homes and commercial buildings far exceeds the cash value of the fines.

Michelle Krupa can be reached at or 504.826.3312.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Dante @ Fig: 5 years later..... same condition - New owners. Is there hope?

These photos below were taken Saturday January 22, 2011. It is amazing how little has changed since we posted photos on the blog in 2009. What's even more disheartening is that we've been fighting to have the problems with this dangerous eyesore addressed for more than 5 years. Neighbors have taken the time to take the photos, report the property and attend the blight hearings. We even called in the Action Reporter. The propery was found guilty of having a dangerous pool and blight.
But we're still waiting for the conditions to improve.

According to the Assessor's website the ownership has changed since since our last round in the Blight Fight and the property which used to have a single owner now has 2. We want to ensure that we don't have to start the blight process all over again now that ownership has changed.

2935 Dante is now owned by

and the pool @ 8232 Fig is now owned
We are hopeful the new owner will make progress on the pool property.
We've seen the trash containers come and go.

Dante @ Fig... abandoned pool the blight continues

Dante @ Fig... abandoned pool the blight continues
Fig @ Dante ... abandoned pool the blight continues
Fig @ Dante... abandoned pool the blight continuespp

Stump Grinding Requested

One of the long term goals of NorthWest Carrollton is to ensure that we protect and maintain the oak canopy on our stretch of Carrollton.

We know that trees age and die. We also know that as long as we continue to protect and replace the trees that we'll have a beautiful oak canopy on Carrollton to shade houses and pedestrians.

This is what is left of the oak tree that once stood on S. Carrollton @ Apple.
Tree Stump - Carrollton @ Apple
The tree was cut down and the stump (a trip hazard in front of the church entrance) remains.

We would like to work with the city to have the stump properly ground out. Once the stump is removed we can work with Hike for KaTREEna or Parkway Partners to provide a replacement oak.

Trashy neighbors on Carrollton

Sometimes a picture is worth a 1000 words.

2522 & 2524 Carrollton - between Apple & Nelson
2522 & 2524 Carrollton - between Apple & Nelson

With the information on the Assessor's website, it looks like the only way to find the problem owners is for the Assessor's to assist. If the taxes are paid then the hope is that the tax information will be updated. If not then this problem will only get worse.

Owner Name TRAN KHOA
Mailing Address 2524 S CARROLLTON AV
It does not appear that the owner is living here and the property no longer has a homestead exemption)
NEW ORLEANS, LA 70118 Municipal District 7
Location Address 2524 S CARROLLTON AV Tax Bill Number 716321620

Mailing Address 2622 S CARROLLTON AV (which is WRONG as this is the 2500 Block and no homestead exemption)
NEW ORLEANS, LA 70118 Municipal District 7
Location Address 2622 S CARROLLTON AV Tax Bill Number 716324006

Sidewalk covered by water leak

2522 S. Carrollton
This has been reported to Sewerage & Water Board using their online tool.


One of NorthWest Carrollton focus areas in 2011 is Sidewalk quality and walkability.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

2nd Phase of FEMA Sidewalk Repairs

Many thanks to Susan Guidry's Office, Rico Sterling specifically, & Robert Mendoza for forwarding our questions to the right person for an answer. We'll talk about how to engage in the next phase of the process at the February neighborhood meeting.

Ms. Hazlett,

You did hear correctly that another round of FEMA roadway & sidewalk repairs will take place. Phase II neighborhood damage assessments are underway right now to evaluate additional roadway and sidewalk damages. Additional damages are identified through feedback from constituents via Additional Damage Repair (ADR) forms and site visits performed by the Department of Public Works (DPW). Below is a brief summary of the assessment process and a tentative plan for future construction.

DPW is in the process of working with FEMA and GOHSEP (State) to perform the second round of damage assessments (Phase II) for roadway and sidewalk repairs in a neighborhood by neighborhood process. DR Consultants, the program manager for DPW, has coordinated with FEMA and State liaisons to perform field assessments based on neighborhood size and flooding level by Council District. Over the past several months, FEMA has assessed the following neighborhoods: the Lower Ninth Ward, St. Claude and Marlyville-Fontainebleau. The joint assessment team will shortly conclude its re-evaluation of the Lakeview neighborhood. The current pace of damage assessments has varied by the size of the neighborhood.

DPW’s coordination with the Sewerage & Water Board (S&WB) of New Orleans is also another factor affecting the pace and schedule of neighborhood assessments. The department is currently coordinating with S&WB and with FEMA to support the development of a comprehensive road infrastructure repair program. Through coordination with S&WB, Public Works will ensure that repairs to subsurface water mains and sewer lines take place prior to road repairs. Sewerage and Water Board will provide Public Works with a list of evaluations based upon a citywide water system assessment. S&WB is currently conducting this evaluation in order to appropriately coordinate the order of the Phase II FEMA neighborhood assessments.

Once assessments are conducted, FEMA Project Officers draft new project grants to include all identified eligible damages using finalized field reports and final cost estimates for additional repairs from the second round. The new FEMA grant then enters FEMA’s review queues which includes the Washington, D.C. “million dollar” queue before final obligation of additional funding to the City. Obligated funding will enable the City of New Orleans to perform additional eligible repairs.

Following that obligation of additional funding, DPW will solicit bids and let contracts for proposed Phase II repairs by Council District. The department can issue work orders after repair contractors are selected through the City’s formal procurement process. Since contractors will be tasked with addressing multiple neighborhoods within the same interval, we can anticipate a citywide intensive multi-year program to repair roadways and sidewalks.

In support of a comprehensive citywide road infrastructure system, Mayor Mitchell J. Landrieu met with FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate in Washington, D.C. earlier this week to lobby for continued rebuilding support. This included the need for comparable grant funding for the Sewerage & Water Board to effectively implement its water system repair program. As a result of this week’s meeting, Fugate agreed that regular meetings with Mayor Landrieu and City Executive officials will occur at the FEMA regional and local level to resolve significant recovery issues over the next six months.

Please note that I have attached two documents to this email. The first is a copy of the cumulative Additional Damage Report recently submitted by DPW to FEMA for the Leonidas & West Carrollton neighborhood. You will note that the summary report lists damages by location, repair type and repair dimensions. The report lists (11) damages on Pritchard Place for roadway and sidewalk repair. FEMA will utilize this report during the re-assessment of the Leonidas & West Carrollton neighborhood.

The second document is a copy of the Additional Damage Repair form with attached instructions. Any additional feedback you and/or other members of NorthWest Carrollton can provide us would benefit the neighborhood re-assessment process. If you are able, we can coordinate a time frame to compile completed ADR forms from NorthWest Carollton members. Any additional forms you and I compile can be used to supplement the Additional Damage Report that FEMA will utilize during the neighborhood re-assessment.

Thank you.
Ondina M. Canales
Disaster Recovery Consultants, LLC
504-875-0938 (c)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Solar panels - Hedge-Morrell doesn't get it

NO City Council OKs solar panels in French Quarter

"Hedge-Morrell, who chairs the council's Utility Committee, noted that power generated by such panels cannot be sold back to Entergy New Orleans, meaning that hopes of a financial windfall are unlikely to be realized."

Please if ANYONE should understand this issue it's the councilmember who SITS on the Utility Committee. Legislation is what it would take to change the rules so that individuals could sell surplus energy generated back to Entergy.

And the fact that we can't right now is a ridiculous reason to vote against new energy sources and self sufficiency.

Full Article below:
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The New Orleans City Council has voted to let a French Quarter resident install solar panels on the roof of his 19th century home.

Glade Bilby had sought approval to install the panels, which turn sunlight into electric power, on one side of the roof of his town house in the heart of the historic neighborhood. However, the Vieux Carre Commission — which is charged with protecting and preserving the architectural integrity of the Quarter — denied Bilby's application last October in a 5-3 vote.

Bilby appealed the decision to the council, which overturned the commission's decision Thursday in a 6-1 vote.

Councilwoman Kristin Gisleson Palmer, whose district includes the Quarter, supported the project. She said the city has to start somewhere to begin incorporating new technologies and energy-efficiency improvements into the city's historic buildings.

"I think we're constantly weighing that discussion of technology and living a modern life in a modern world," Palmer, who emphasized her credentials as a longtime preservationist, said.

In opposition, Dr. Ralph Lupin, who chairs the Vieux Carre Commission, warned against the move.

"If you damage the integrity of the French Quarter by this intrusion into what was built there several hundred years ago, you are asking for heartache," he said, according to an account of the meeting in The Times-Picayune.

Lupin has said allowing the panels could set a precedent for the entire neighborhood.

Palmer stipulated that the panels would need to be installed parallel with the existing roof, no more than 12 inches above it and in a matching color that would work toward "minimizing visual clutter."

Lupin said the additional conditions imposed by Palmer didn't make him feel any better about the proposal.

"I am extremely sensitive to what the French Quarter represents to this community," Lupin said. "If you talk to any of the people walking down the streets of the French Quarter, and you see literally hundreds of them everyday, they're not walking down the streets because of whether or not the French Quarter is solar-healthy."

Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell cast the lone vote against the proposal.

Hedge-Morrell, who chairs the council's Utility Committee, noted that power generated by such panels cannot be sold back to Entergy New Orleans, meaning that hopes of a financial windfall are unlikely to be realized.

Tucker Crawford, chief executive officer of Metairie-based South Coast Solar, however said that situation could change. In the meantime, he said, the panels could still help Bilby chip away at his electricity costs.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

GONE!!!! Thank you NOPD.

Massachusetts Plate Pritchard Place @ Cambronne - GONE!
8300 block of Pritchard @ Cambronne

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

2900 Block of Joliet near Fig in front of empty lot - GONE!
2900 Block of Joliet

Dublin @ Nelson. Moved to private property behind house

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Near Ashton Theatre on Apple near Joliet

Large Debris Pile of auto parts...mostly bumpers
Apple @ Joliet

We'd like this picked up. It appears that our homeless junk dealer is back in business in this block of Apple Street. Please note the shopping cart.

It's one thing to sweep the neighborhood for loose individual tires that are not picked up. Or to sweep the neighborhood for abandoned cars and ask for help from NOPD but it's another thing completely to load debris piles up and haul them off. For this we need help.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Shooting 8200 Belfast

19:50 Hrs - Jan-18-2011

8200 blk Belfast St.

Victim: Female, DOB 2-19-1980

Gist: The victim was parked at location, when an unknown black male approached
the vehicle and asked her if she was lost. He then fired several shots into the
vehicle striking her in the left arm. The victim was transported to Interim LSU
Public Hospital in stable condition.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Coal to Natural Gas - Entergy gets it

Entergy cuts emissions

Entergy, the New Orleans-based utility giant, has hedged its bets: The company, which relies on coal for 20 percent of its electricity production, has cut its emissions by more than 20 percent in the past decade, said Brent Dorsey, director of corporate environmental programs at Entergy Services, which provides shared services, such as engineering, to the company's subsidiaries, operating in four states. And Entergy Louisiana intends to continue that effort by acquiring a 580-megawatt natural-gas power plant located near Eunice; closing is expected at the beginning of this year.

"Right now, we are just trying to understand it ourselves," Dorsey said. "We don't have a clear understanding from the EPA or Congress of how any of this is going to shake out."

Leonard, Entergy's chairman and CEO, supports climate change policies. While he has spoken in favor of using carbon capture and storage technologies on new or existing coal-fired power plants, which would prevent emissions from entering the atmosphere, many in the industry agree that is still at least a decade away from reality on a commercial scale.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Trees... and the Urban landscape

Since 2006 NorthWest Carrollton has worked with Hike for KaTREEna to plant and replant trees in our neighborhood. While some folks think this is great, there are still many others out there who seem almost afraid to have trees in their landscape.

The wrong tree in the wrong spot can cause problems BUT one of the benefits of working with Hike for KaTREEna is that the program helps ensure this doesn't happen.

Dan Gill had an article in this weekend's Inside Out that I'm sharing below in the hope that it will help some of our neighbors change their minds about trees in our neighborhood.

City dwellers might not consider trees to be that important. Who wants to rake up all of those leaves, anyway? But trees are especially important in urban areas for a variety of reasons.

Most of us would agree that Louisiana summers are too hot to begin with, but urban areas, in particular, are heat traps. The buildings, streets and parking lots absorb and hold heat from the sun, causing urban centers to be several degrees warmer than the surrounding countryside.

Trees moderate this by absorbing the sun's energy and using it to create their food. This is more than simple shade. Trees literally absorb the energy of the light, preventing it from creating heat. Trees provide comfortable oases by lowering air temperatures under their canopies by 6 to 10 degrees. Overall, this helps to moderate temperatures in urban areas.

Cooling system

On a more individual level, properly placed shade trees can cut your air-conditioning bill from 10 percent to 50 percent during the summer. Trees planted to the south or southwest of your home will provide the most benefit.

Choose deciduous shade trees -- those that drop their leaves during the winter. You will have the shade you need in the summer to reduce cooling costs, and, when the tree is leafless in winter, it will allow the sun to shine on the house, helping to reduce heating bills.

Air pollution in urban areas is a real concern, and trees help out with that, too. Leaf surfaces trap and filter out ash, dust, pollen and other particles in the air (although many trees also contribute to the pollen count when they bloom).

Trees help supply the oxygen we breathe, as well as absorbing and trapping carbon dioxide that car engines emit.

Among their many additional benefits, trees stabilize the soil and prevent erosion. A tree's extensive network of fine feeder roots occurs primarily in the upper foot of soil and spreads out well beyond its branches.

Leafy environment

Trees also cut down on noise pollution by acting as barriers to sound. Those who live in a city often comment on how quiet it is in the country. Noise seems to be a constant in urban areas.

When creating a quiet retreat, trees play a vital role. Small-growing evergreen trees, such as cherry laurel, Little Gem magnolia and spruce pine, can be effective in muffling or moderating noise.

When creating privacy in the landscape, small trees can be used to screen an outdoor living area from view. Evergreen types especially can be used effectively to hide unattractive views.

Urban wildlife benefits from the shelter trees provide. Squirrels, birds and other wildlife make their homes there. In addition, the seeds of many tree species are valuable sources of food for animals living in urban centers.

Not to be overlooked is the profound psychological effect trees have on us. Neighborhoods with large trees along the streets and in yards are attractive to almost everyone. And flowering trees, such as crape myrtles, dogwoods, sweet olive and vitex, add color and fragrance to the landscape.

Trees contribute greatly to beautification, increase property values and shade our outdoor living areas in the summer. Fruit and nut trees in the landscape even provide us with something good to eat.

So, take a moment to appreciate our trees. Our cities would be much less agreeable places without them. Don't forget to plant suitable trees wherever and whenever an appropriate situation exists.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Below is just one more reason why we continue to ask for Bike Lanes along Earhart and for Bike Lanes to be to be striped along Carrollton between Claiborne and Earhart and beyond. Bike Lanes are not just for recreation they are for transportation. Think Complete Streets.

WHEELING ALONG: Six months after New Orleans' first bicycle lane was installed on St, Claude Avenue, Tulane University researchers found that the average number of riders per day there rose by 57 percent during two weeks in November 2008.

The report, published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, a peer-reviewed publication, suggests that bikes are "well-suited to New Orleans," said Kathryn Parker, the study's lead author. She is the assistant director of the Prevention Research Center in Tulane's School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

Co-authors are associate professors Jeanette Gustat and Janet Rice.

. . . . . . .
Also see:

Friday, January 7, 2011

Here's a list of the top 10 things I believe could improve New Orleans in 2011 and beyond. I encourage all New Orleanians to create their own list and work to animate positive change.

1. Market New Orleans. We can re-grow our population by promoting New Orleans as a great place to live, not just visit. (This is why we talk about NorthWest Carrollton as the next coolest neighborhood in New Orleans)

2. Incentivize homeownership in the city. We need a plan to support people who want to buy and restore blighted property. (This is why we participlate in the PRC's Great Neighborhood Sellabration. We're looking forward to 2011.)

3. No more spot zoning. Changing allowable use for one piece of property circumvents zoning that exists to protect our quality of life. (This is why we know where CPC is and contact the office when we have concerns. This is also why the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance is so important and why we worked so hard to get an overlay on Earhart Boulevard. Now if Mr. Mendoza could just wrap his brain around Complete Streets.....)

4. Turn more vacant lots into urban gardens with the help of a fully funded city program. (Can you say the Orchard on Fig?)

5. Cut shoes off wires. Ensure that drug dealers don't mark territory and stop hanging trash from marring our streetscapes. (Or report activity to NOPD or make sure abandoned cars and other trash doesn't become a permanent part of the neighborhood landscape... Criminals don't like clean....)

6. No new development until every salvageable house is back in commerce. Why do we allow developers to build new when so many houses are empty and blighted? (Interesting question... We have a number of building under repair and construction. We're happy to have these older buildings availble for occupancy.)

7. Accessible sidewalks for everyone. Bust the inconsiderate boobs who park on sidewalks. Replace broken concrete and cut back overgrown weeds. Children, elderly and disabled people shouldn't have to walk in the street. (Agreed. Children, elderly and disabled people shouldn't have to walk around cars parked on or across sidewalks and into the streets. This is why we work with NOPD on removing abandoned cars and on parking enforcement.)

8. More children should attend school close to home. It costs the public schools an estimated $24 million a year for school buses operated by an out-of-state company. (Remember that comment about Complete Streets and the other about sidewalks. Children pass through NorthWest Carrollton on their way to Lafayette School on Carrollton Ave.)

9. Hire locally in our schools. Let's give jobs to teachers who know our culture and will invest more than a few years in our kids.

10. Go green at Mardi Gras by throwing fewer plastic beads and cups from China.
Carnival krewes should throw handmade, recycled and biodegradable items like Muses shoes and Zulu coconuts. (I certainly don't need more plastic cups....)

Ann Marie Coviello
New Orleans

Jenel Hazlett
NorthWest Carrollton

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

10 Tips from a cop my mom knows.

1. Tip from Tae Kwon Do
The elbow is the strongest point on your body.
If you are close enough to use it, do!

2. Learned this from a tourist guide.
If a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse, DO NOT HAND IT TO HIM. Toss it away from you.... Chances are that he is more interested in your wallet and/or purse than you, and he will go for the wallet/purse. RUN LIKE MAD IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!

3. If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car, kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the holeand start waving like crazy.. The driver won't see you, but everybody else will. This has saved lives.

4. Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating, working, etc., and just sit (doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc.)
The predator will be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in on the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go.
If someone is in the car with a gun to your head DO NOT DRIVE OFF,
Instead gun the engine and speed into anything, wrecking the car.
Your Air Bag will save you.
If the person is in the back seat they will get the worst of it .
As soon as the car crashes bail out and run.
It is better than having them find your body in a remote location.

5. A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot, or parking garage:
A.) Be aware: look around you, look into your car, at the passenger side floor, and in the back seat.
B.) If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door.
Most serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the
women are attempting to get into their cars.
C.) Look at the car parked on the driver's side of your vehicle, and the passenger side... If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want
to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard/policeman to walk you back out.
IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. (And better paranoid than dead.)

6. ALWAYS take the elevator instead of the stairs.
Stairwells are horrible places to be alone and the perfect crime spot.
(This is especially true at NIGHT!)

7. If the predator has a gun and you are not under his control, ALWAYS RUN!
The predator will only hit you (a running target)4 in 100 times; and even then,
it most likely WILL NOT be a vital organ. RUN, Preferably in a zig -zag pattern!

8. As women, we are always trying to be sympathetic:
STOP It may get you raped, or killed.
Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good-looking, well educated man, who ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women. He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked 'for help' into his vehicle or with his vehicle,which is when he abducted his next victim.
I'm adding this point my self IF someone is giving you the creeps. Do NOT interact with them. Leave. Quickly. Trust your instincts when they make you feel scared.

9. Another Safety Point:
Someone just told me that her friend heard a crying baby on her porch the night before last, and she called the police because it was late and she thought it was weird.... The police told her 'Whatever you do, DO NOT open the door..'
The lady then said that it sounded like the baby had crawled near a window, and she was worried that it would crawl to the street and get run over. The policeman said, 'We already have a unit on the way, whatever you do, DO NOT open the door.'
He told her that they think a serial killer has a baby's cry recorded and uses it to
coax women out of their homes thinking that someone dropped off a baby.. He said they have not verified it, but have had several calls by women saying that they hear baby's cries outside their doors when they're home alone at night. The Crying Baby Theory was mentioned on America 's Most Wanted when they profiled the serial killer in Louisiana.

10. Water scam!
If you wake up in the middle of the night to hear all your taps outside running or what you think is a burst pipe, DO NOT GO OUT TO INVESTIGATE! People turn on all your
outside taps full ball so that you will go out to investigate and then attack.

Stay alert, keep safe, and look out for your neighbors!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Twin Spans... why is no one listening

In the past few weeks I've managed to spend some time in the Katrina-beaten, former golf course in City Park. It's beautiful. Not as quiet as I'd like because it it's nearness to I-10 and 610 but a wonderful escape from the nearness of people and houses and cars. It's a lot like the open spaces and parks of other cities I've been in and always wished for here. Audubon is nice but it's so civilized and tended and close to everything else. City Park is nice too but it is either over developed or it was off limits to the common folk because so much of it was a golf course... but thanks to Katrina not any more.

I think that humans need open spaces, green spaces, a little bit of wilderness. It keeps us alive and makes room for creativity. On one of my walks on the old golf course there was a guy on a skate board with a kite and he was having a fine time zooming along the old cart pathways. We have Frisbee golf course. Would we have had that without the emptiness to inspire us?

I want them to leave some of the old golf course for people and bikes instead of resigning those who can't pay to the edges of the roadways for cars. I know, I know but how to pay for upkeep? What about a sin tax on candy, soda, chips... a penny a bar, can, bag... with the proceeds going to City Park to encourage people of all walks to just walk or ride a bike or ... you never know where it could lead.

My walking along the abandoned golf course made me remember Richard Campanella encouraging City Hall to try and get the DOTD to leave the Twin Spans in place so that the common folk would have a place to see nature, feel the lake breezes and fish. Richard Campanella is a renowned geographer and he knows New Orleans so I'm trying to figure out why no one in City Hall is listening to his suggestion. Bob Marshall encouraged us to listen but ...

Doesn't anyone realize that one of the reasons it has been so easy for local folks to put their head in the sand about what's been happening to our coastline is that so many of us don't have the means to enjoy the great outdoors? No golf club membership or green fees... no fishing boat... not even a small one... some folks don't have cars... City Park wild space in the abandoned golf course is there for everyone even those folks who might have to take the bus or ride a bike to get there. The Twin Spans could be there for all of us who don't have boats but who might want a taste of the lake or fishing or crabbing. Awareness is half the battle.
If it's easier to absorb a little of Mother Nature's wildness maybe there won't be so much wildness and killing in the streets and maybe we'd all stay a little more aware of just how important nature is to us.