Greenlight New Orleans

Greenlight New Orleans is a non-profit with the mission to help reduce global warming by helping local residents replace their traditional incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). If enough people around the globe do this it will be a little speedbump on the road to more intense global warming. You can be a part of this movement–for free. And you’ll see some reduction in your Entergy bill.

The founder and moving force of Greenlight, Andi Hoffmann, lives in our neighborhood. He also leads a roots-rockband call the B-goes.

Monday is the kick-off for “Change a Light Week” and the first event is right here in zip code 70118.

If you’d like to know more go on over to the Greenlight website. You can sign up there to have your bulbs changed and/or to be a volunteer in the effort.

Copper Theft Ordinance Update

According to Captain Ricky Laviolette of the 7th District, the Scrap Metal Ordinance will be revisited on Thursday, October 4, 2007 at 10:00 am, at the City Council Chambers. This is the ordinance that we referenced about two weeks ago.

It was presented by Councilperson Willard-Lewis and would restrict who could sell scrap copper to licensed electricians, plumbers and gasfitters. If passed, we believe that the ordinance would be a tremendous
aid in abating copper theft and burglaries in the district
.

Any who are interested in the ordinance may wish to attend.
Thanks,

Captain Kirk Bouyelas
Second District Commander
New Orleans Police Department
—————————————

I believe the scrap dealers showed up in force the last time this was
introduced. –Jerry Speir

Arrest made in recent armed robbery

NOPD 2nd District

On September 21st at or about 8:30 pm, the female victim was walking in
the 1200 block of Cambronne Street towards her vehicle. She was
approached by a young black male, armed with an unknown type handgun.
The suspect robbed the victim of $300, which she had in her purse. He
then fled on foot down Cambronne toward Claiborne Avenue.

Officer who responded to the call located a 15 year old juvenile on Gen.
Ogden Street. He was detained and later identified as the perpetrator by
the victim. He was subsequently arrested and charged with armed robbery.
His involvement in other criminal activity in that area is being
investigated by detectives.

If you have any information relative to this case, please contact Sgt.
Chris Cambiotti or Det. Jerry Baldwin at 658-6022 or 658-6020. You may
also call Crimestoppers anonymously at 822-1111.

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

A bit of news from your neighborhood association

CRRA President Jerry Speir writes (on 9/22),

Friends and neighbors:

OAK STREET – As many of you know, there have been plans to “re-do” Oak Street for years. It’s finally about to happen. This will be a total renovation: water lines, sewer lines, storm drains, and then a new street and sidewalks. We expect the work to start in the first half of 2008, some time after Mardi Gras. Obviously, this will be a major disruption to traffic and immediate neighbors, but most importantly to the merchants on the street.

Details will be discussed at a meeting next Thursday, September 27, 6:30 – 9:00, at St. Joan of Arc Catholic School Auditorium, corner of Cambronne and Freret. A panel discussion is scheduled to start at 7:00, featuring Councilwoman Midura, the director of Public Works, representatives of the Mayor’s office and the project director. This is your opportunity to get information and provide your input to the project. The meeting is being organized by the Oak Street Association. You can submit questions in advance for the panel at oakstreetnola@bellsouth.net (all questions will be screened to expedite the meeting).

For more information, see the OSA website at www.onlyonoak.com We hope to minimize impacts on residents and businesses alike to the extent possible. Total construction time is expected to be 9-12 months. Some of the overhead wires will be eliminated, but not all. [Full disclosure: I am a board member of the Oak Street Association – Jerry]

CRIME: I continue to hear unsettling reports of crime in the neighborhood. Just today, I’ve heard two disturbing reports: Rev. Garrison tells me that a woman was robbed at gunpoint last night (Friday) in the 1200 block of Cambronne, by a medium-height and -build black male of light complexion riding a bicycle. Annette Bak reports an armed robbery by a “young kid” (pedestrian) of a woman as she was leaving the Ninja restaurant in the 1100 block of Joliet on Thursday evening. Both of these are said to have happened in the 8-9 p.m. time frame. I’ve not yet had any communication from the police about these.

Last week, about 10:30 p.m., in the1100 block of Cambronne, a woman had a young man follow her into her driveway as she was coming home for the evening. As she got out of the car, he struck her and demanded her keys. She resisted, a scuffle ensued, neighbors showed up, and the man ran away. A few evenings ago, a woman was robbed of a gym bag on Oak Street about 6 p.m. by a young man who approached her from behind and claimed to have a gun. There have been numerous reports of gunfire in the neighborhood.

Our new police captain in the Second District sends “e-mail blasts,” as he calls them, to neighborhood association presidents when there are “persons crimes” (as opposed to property crimes) in the neighborhood. We post these on our website https://crra.wordpress.com Crime data can also be accessed on the nopd.com website. We’re still working to improve the timeliness of that data. There will be another meeting of our inter-neighborhood group on crime issues on Thursday, October 4, 7:00p.m. at St. Matthew’s Church on Carrollton. These are not general neighborhood informational meetings but working/planning meetings. But anyone who is interested in being involved is welcome to attend. If you or a neighbor are the victim of a crime, please report it to the police, so that we (and they) have a complete picture of crime in the neighborhood. Also, if you would, report it to me. I’d like to be able to check our data against the official data and see if there are any discrepancies.

LOST AND FOUND – Cindy Morse reports that she has wound up with “3 big beautiful umbrellas” that were left at our August 18 picnic: one is black with “All the Kings Men” in red, one is green and white with “Property of Wayzata Country Club” on it, the third blue and white. If you recognize any of these as yours, you can reach Cindy at cmorse7@cox.net or 866-2410.

GROCERY STORE: There has been much concern that the promised grocery store (Robert’s Market) at Carrollton and Claiborne has not been started. There was a bit of a scare last week when we learned that the Gulf Opportunity Zone (“GO Zone”) funding that is critical to the project might not be approved. We have now learned that the project has, in fact, cleared a major hurdle (a committee approval) this week and only has one more hurdle (relatively minor, we hope) at the state level and the governor’s signature in its path before construction can begin. It is expected that these last impediments will be cleared up within the next 2-3 weeks. Mr. Robert promises to start driving pilings within a week of final approval. Councilwoman Midura is credited with helping to move the process past these recent hurdles.

SCHOOLS: We had another scare last week when it was reported that the School Board had put the Priestley School building on Leonidas on the “surplus property” list and that it might be sold. There are plans, of course, to renovate that building (assuming funding can be found)—as a major revitalization project for that part of the neighborhood–for the new Priestley Charter School of Architecture and Construction. The school is presently housed temporarily at St. Henry’s near Magazine and Napoleon (and doing quite well, with more than double the students it had last year), but it hopes to be able to move into at least temporary buildings at the Leonidas site within a year. School Board member Una Anderson is credited with forstalling the listing of the property for sale. In other schools news, two of our board members, Kevin Brown and Cindy Morse, have been invited to be part of the Leadership Team at Johnson School. We are still seeking funding, through Kevin’s excellent work, to help improve parental involvement and neighborhood involvement at the school.

ZONING: Our board has dealt with two zoning related issues recently. First, the board voted to condone a beer and wine license for the Jazmine Café in the 600 block of S. Carrollton, on condition that the Café owners enter into a contractual agreement with us limiting alcohol service to dining customers, limiting operating hours, prohibiting video poker, and the like. Second, the board voted to oppose a change in the non-conforming use of the property at S. Carrollton and Cohn, where a coffee shop was proposed. The board agreed with the staff report of the City Planning Commission that the coffee shop would be a more intensive use of the property, increasing parking and other impacts on the immediate neighborhood.

COUNCIL FORUM: There will be a forum for all candidates for the vacant council-at-large seat on Thursday evening, October 4, at 7:00 in Nunemaker Hall at Loyola. CRRA is one of many associations sponsoring the event. Nunemaker is a bit hard to find. It’s a third floor auditorium in Monroe Hall, the most modern-looking of the buildings on the Loyola campus; one side of Monroe is on Calhoun St, behind the Roussel Hall complex at the corner of St. Charles and Calhoun.

VOLUNTEERS: There are lots of ways you can help out with the association’s work. We need individuals to help out with distributing flyers occasionally so that we can reach out to the full neighborhood, not just to those for whom I have e-mail addresses. Seriously, can you help? We need a volunteer to attend the monthly meetings with the police department and bring back the news. And we are always looking for more people to be involved in our basic committee work: Zoning/Planning/Land Use, Quality of Life (with an Education sub-committee), Crime/Security, and Events. I’d be happy to put you in touch with the committee of your choice.

DUES—There, I’ve said it again. Our board has decided that we want to be as inclusive as possible and has, therefore, made dues voluntary. That said, the organization can’t operate without funding. We have established recommended dues as follows:

$10 – individual
$25 – family/household
$50 – supporting
$100 – sustaining

THANKS to those who’ve contributed since the last letter. Dues can be sent to our Treasurer, Cindy Morse, at 8601 Zimpel, NOLA 70118.

NEXT BOARD MEETING: Our next Board meeting will be Monday, October 8, at 7:30, in the back dining room of Asian Cajun on Oak Street. Our meetings are open. We hope to have the principal of Johnson School join us. And there is always lots of interesting stuff to talk about.

OUR WEBSITE: https://crra.wordpress.com

Best,
Jerry Speir, President
Carrollton Riverbend Residents Association
jerryspeir@hotmail.com

Board meeting minutes – Sept. 10, 2007

CRRA Board Meeting – Minutes
September 10, 2007

Attending–Board: Annette Bak, Marilyn Barbera, Kevin Brown , Betty DiMarco, Marshall Hevron, Cindy Morse, Amanda Smithson, John Schackai, Jerry Speir, Jim Stratton, Evan Wolf

Residents: Lyn Adams, Pax Bobrow, Sandy Brown, Colby Johnson

Guests: Percy Marchand (legislative candidate), Jonathan Stewart & Tyronne Walker (campaign staff)

Percy Marchand, candidate for the state legislature, made a brief presentation concerning his candidacy and platform.

Treasurer Cindy Morse reported an account balance $2072.77.

Considerable discussion followed on a request for a beer and wine license for the Jazmine Café at 614 S. Carrollton. The board voted unanimously to support the zoning committee’s recommendation for the following conditions on such a license.

The Café owners and operators must sign a contract (to be recorded on property records) agreeing to:

–operate only as a “standard restaurant” as defined in the Zoning Ordinance
–sell alcohol only to restaurant customers being served food
–close no later than 10 p.m.
–use no “go cups”
–establish a litter abatement program
–use no signage visible to the street indicating the sale of alcohol
–have no video poker

The agreement will also reflect that the ‘conditional use’ status necessary to the permit will not transfer to new owners in the event of a sale, i.e., a new owner would have to re-apply.

The zoning committee also reported on a proposed coffee shop for the Carrollton/Cohn corner (site of the old Barber Laboratories). This requires a “change of use” for the property’s “non-conforming use status.” A city planning commission staff report has recommended denial because the coffee shop would be a more intensive use (longer hours, more impact on parking, etc). There will be a meeting of the zoning committee and all interested parties with the owners/applicants on Monday, Sept. 17, 7:00 p.m. at 8117 Cohn (home of Judy and Vincent Miranti). Judge Frank Marullo is the owner of the property.

The zoning committee also reported progress toward a “height moratorium” designed to limit out-of-scale projects that might be proposed for the neighborhood prior to the completion of a new zoning ordinance.

Amanda Smithson, Events Chair, reported on our very successful picnic/general meeting in Palmer Park on August 18 and on the recent trial-run trash pickup in the neighborhood. More clean-up efforts are planned for the future.

Kevin Brown reported on his submission, on CRRA’s behalf, of a grant proposal to benefit the Johnson Elementary School. The proposal seeks to involve parents more in school events and to expand community involvement with the school. Kevin and Cindy Morse have been named to the school’s Leadership Team by the new principal, a very positive development in our efforts to support the school.

Pax Bobrow reported on an effort to collect cereal “boxtop coupons” as a fund-raising effort to benefit Johnson School. She reports that Castellon Pharmacy, Saltwater Grill, and the Oak St. Café, so far, have agreed to serve as collection centers. Look for more news on this effort on our website https://crra.wordpress.com as details develop. Pax reports that a similar effort on behalf of Lusher School raised more than $800 last year. The effort may also be expanded to include Community Coffee coupons.

Pax also reported on a meeting she attended re: bike paths in the city. In short, it’s complicated, but it’s possible for bike paths to be privately funded and executed, so long as they meet the relevant specifications, regulations, etc.

Annette Bak reported that Priestley School has 199 students (more than double its enrollment of last year) in its new, temporary home at St. Henry’s. But she also reported a move to put the Priestley building on Leonidas on the “surplus property market,” which could mean that the building could be sold. [Note: Information since the board meeting suggests that this proposed marketing of the building has been forestalled, at least in part as a response to public inquiry—doubtless from our board, among others. Una Anderson has been instrumental in that change.]

John Schackai reported that the new Robert’s Market proposed for Carrollton and Claiborne could be in jeopardy because of a problem acquiring “GO Zone bond funding.” [Note: Information from Councilwoman Midura’s office since the board meeting suggests that this crisis, too, may be averted. Public outcry about the potential for losing the store has doubtless been a factor here, too. We thank the Councilwoman for her intervention and await confirmation that the funding is, in fact, in place.]

NEXT MEETING: Monday, October 8, 7:30 p.m., at Asian Cajun.

Be on guard – attempted car-jacking on Cambronne

The 2nd District reports the following:

On September 11th at or about 10:45 pm, the victim pulled into the
driveway of her residence, located in the 1100 block of Cambronne
Street. As she was getting out of the vehicle, she was approached by a
black male who demanded her car keys. She refused the suspects demands.
The suspect then struck the victim in the head and again demanded her
keys. She again refused. After being hit again, the victim began to
fight back. A neighbor heard the commotion and went to her aid.
Observing the neighbor coming towards him, the suspect fled the scene on
foot. Nothing was stolen and the victim did not sustain any serious
injuries.

The suspect is described as a 20-25 year old black male, 5’10”, 160
pounds, light complexion, short cropped hair, wearing plaid shorts and a
white t-shirt.

If you have any information on this case, please contact Sgt. Chris
Cambiotti or Det. Brian Baye at 658-6022 or 658-6020. You may also call
Crimestoppers anonymously at 822-1111.

This situation is sad in so many ways. Perps like this never learned how to live among civilized beings. Their human potential is wasted. Some of the rest of us become vicitms, paranoids or vigilantes, or we stick our heads in the sand, resulting in more lost potential and a narrow view of life.

But it also shows the power of neighbors helping neighbors.

All of us must keep in mind that there are predators living among us, and we must stay alert the the threats.

Is this another big negative in the “Why Are We Living Here?” scorecard? Yes and no. No one wants to live with crime. But a state of Constant Alertness can have benefits. While listening and watching for threats you might also notice other things you have taken for granted: mockingbords singing at night, the moon, a whiff of a night-blooming flower. You might start to live life more fully.

Also-get to know your neighbor. You might need to help one another some day.

CRRA At the Johnson Playground



CRRA At the Johnson Playground

Originally uploaded by nola-shiva.

Earlier in the summer CRRA volunteers helped install a new playground at James Weldon Johnson Elementary school, at Monroe and Green. CRRA is committed to helping this neighborhood school improve.

James Weldon Johnson was an important American author in the early part of the 20th century. His work helped inspire the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s. Wikipedia has more information about this very interesting man who was active in many creative and scholarly fields.

Board meeting Monday Sept. 10

Meet at the back room of the Asian Cajun, Oak and Cambronne, at 7:30 PM.
We’ll have the Johnson School principal as a guest–and much to discuss about schools, zoning issues, trash issues, crime, bike paths, and more.