Burglary 8400 block Freret

Sunday night a house in the 8400 block of Freret was broken into. The burglar got into the locked fenced yard (through the neighbors side yard) and pried the iron gate off of the front door of the house. The car was in the driveway and lights were on inside. The burglar may have seen the occupant leave the house at about 9:15 PM. Another neighbor heard a noise around 9:30 went outside looked around and could not see anything and it appeared the neighbor was home. The view of the front door is slightly hidden by plants. They spotted a man sitting on a car on a cell phone down the block, now we believe it was likely a watch person for the burglar. The remains of a pizza in the frig were eaten and the box left on the floor.  Additional lights inside the house were turned on. The two story house was searched through for valuables.  The burglar left out the back door leaving it open.
Other neighbors have reported hearing doors being tried when they were home sleeping. Thank you for passing this along. 

Street car T-shirt

The shirt comes in street car green and will be priced at $10 (any size). Details on how to order will follow.

The street car is returning and the Carrollton Area Network (CAN, representing all neighborhood organizations in Carrollton) is celebrating.

CAN Streetcar celebration committee is planning the celebratory return in coordination with the last Sat. Art Market at Palmer Park. So the date for the celebration is tentatively set for May 31, 2008 (we are at the mercy of RTA who can’t decide if they are ready or not.) If RTA can’t get the street car on Carrollton running until after May 31 Art Market date then the celebration will be the last Sat. in June, the 28th.

Roberts Market

The Robert Fresh Market now under construction behind Walgreens at Carrollton and Cllaiborne is supposed to be open by July, according to their website, which describes the store in these terms:.

The Claiborne/Carrollton site will offer a complete perishables selection, with a huge variety of fresh and seasonal offerings available every day. The Claiborne Robért Fresh Market will be a full service store, with deli, bakery, produce, floral, catering, prepared foods, meat, seafood, grocery, frozen foods, dairy, wine and spirits – everything one wants in a market.

Meeting re:Earhart and Carrollton changes

Please see attached flyer for the Carrollton Area Network sponsored meeting on April 21 with Robert Mendoza. The topics for discussion are Earhart Expansion and reconfiguration of Carrollton Avenue associated with the Carrollton Shopping Center.
We would like as many people as possible to attend the meeting. The plans for Earhart and the reconfiguration of Carrollton Avenue (2 left turn lanes off of Carrollton onto Palmetto to direct traffic into the shopping center) are moving fast. This is one of the few opportunities we will have for a public meeting.

Earhart Carrollton meeting flyer

Carrollton Shopping Center Town Hall Meeting

The following just came to my attention via a forwarded email:

A Carrollton Shopping Center Town Hall Meeting has been scheduled for
May 8th@ 6PM in the City Council Chambers. An agenda will soon follow
this email.
It is not known whether the meeting will be broadcasted at this time.

I will be in touch with you once the agenda is finalized.

On another note, are there small tasks in your community that may be
addressed with a quick fix that the city may not be aware of?
If so, please
provide a list. It would be wise of our office to look to see if some small
scale projects, unlike the timeframe attached to a shopping center
development, may be implemented in the near term.


*K. Lavon Wright*

Target Area Manager

City of New Orleans

Office of Recovery & Development

Phone: (504) 658/8411

Fax:: (504) 658/8435

April 10 board meeting minutes

CRNA Board Meeting – Minutes
April 10, 2008

Attending–Board: Marilyn Barbera, Pax Bobrow, Betty DiMarco, Rudolf Garrison, Tilman Hardy, Marshall Hevron, Alice-Anne Krishnan, Julianna Padgett, Jerry Speir, Jim Stratton, Betsy Weymann (via proxy Tom Weymann)

Absent Board Members: Kevin Brown, Gordon Cagnolatti, Rodney Dionisio, Todd Leavitt, Judy Miranti, Gary Smith, Amanda Smithson, Llewelyn Soniat, Evan Wolf

Residents/Guests: Bob Bermudez, Jason Coleman, Oliver Duvernay, Helen Jones, Joseph Kane, Amy Lake, Cindy Morse

Treasurer’s Report Outgoing Treasurer Cindy Morse reported a checking account balance of $1965.

BZA Appeal—Cindy also reported on a lawsuit being prepared on behalf of the immediate neighbors in the 8600 block of Zimpel St. to appeal a ruling by the Board of Zoning Adjustments that granted certain variances for the construction of two houses larger than allowed by the zoning rules in that block. With the understanding that the neighbors pursuing the suit will bear all legal costs, Pax Bobrow moved, seconded by Rudolf Garrison, that CRNA join the suit as a co-plaintiff. The motion passed unanimously.

Announcements: Jerry welcomed new board members Pax Bobrow, Tilman Hardy, Alice-Anne Krishnan, Gary Smith, and Betsy Weymann to the board.
He also reminded the group of the Town Hall Meeting with Senator Cheryl Gray—next Monday, April 14, at 6:30 p.m. at St. Matthew’s church (Willow & Carrollton). The primary topic of discussion will be the proposed security/improvement districts.

Education: Pax Bobrow reported on behalf of the Education Committee that Priestley School is still struggling to find a building for next year. Priestley’s Board President, Chris D’Amour is meeting soon with a group of national builders concerning possible financial and other assistance in renovating the old Priestley building on Leonidas.
A “volunteer work day” has been tentatively scheduled for Saturday morning, April 19, at Johnson Elementary School. A major part of the work that needs to be done is assembling several large sets of metal shelves donated by Lowe’s (at Pax’s urging) — and moving (and organizing) a large quantity of school materials from boxes to those shelves.

Zoning: Marshall Hevron, Zoning chair, reported that the “height moratorium” for the neighborhood is still being pursued.
Jerry reminded the group of the previous report of remarks by John Marshall (New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, NORA) and Jeff Thomas (Office of Recovery and Development Administration, ORDA) to the Carrollton Area Network group. The report (available on request) noted several new developments re: making information on blighted housing and code enforcement information more accessible and moving more properties through the code enforcement process.
Alice-Anne Krishnan expressed some concern, based on her experience with similar issues in Mid-City, especially about the notion of a “code enforcement sweep” of Willow Street, as mentioned in that report by Mr. Thomas of ORDA. She noted that such sweeps can create inordinate complications for individual property owners, especially where the “burden of proof” has been shifted, as it has in a new ordinance on this subject, to the property owner—to prove that his/her property does not deserve the sanctions imposed by the “code sweep.” Her basic point was that we, the neighborhood, should drive the code enforcement process in our area. Toward that end, the board decided to create a committee to look at blighted housing issues in the neighborhood and to begin a process of inventorying problem properties. Volunteers for the committee were: Alice-Anne Krishnan, Pax Bobrow, Jason Coleman, Rudolf Garrison, Helen Jones, and Michele Pope. Others wishing to be involved in this activity should contact Alice-Anne at tarpsnola@yahoo.com
Jerry noted that it would be appropriate to invite Mr. Marshall and Mr. Thomas to address a future CRNA meeting.

Crime/Safety: Betty DiMarco reported on a meeting with consultants (a former NOPD deputy chief, a former director of mental health services, and a doctor with extensive experience dealing with persons in the criminal justice system). They argue that the neighborhood association should pressure the legislature to fully fund drug testing for all probationers and parolees—on a theory that drug-testing greatly increases the likelihood that a probationer/parolee is much more likely to successfully complete his/her probation or parole without being re-arrested. They are looking for a neighborhood with which to collaborate, to demonstrate that the theory will work in New Orleans the way it has worked elsewhere.
Some discussion followed on all the socio-economic contributions to the crime problem. Some skepticism was expressed as to whether drug-testing alone would really generate long-term solutions. It was generally agreed that we should invite the presenters to a future board meeting, so that they can address the group.
Julianna reported briefly on a WhistleStop program that has been effective in Chicago and elsewhere. It involves the distribution of whistles throughout the neighborhood, to be used to alert neighbors to any sort of crime problem. See http://www.hydepark.org/hpkcc/whistlestop.htm She noted that it might be something for an Improvement District to consider.

Quality of Life: Jerry called the group’s attention to a press release from the Louisiana Environmental Action Network (forwarded by the Alliance for Affordable Energy, through Julianna) concerning the possible shipment of nuclear waste from Italy through New Orleans (and Charleston, SC) for “incineration and smelting” at a facility in Tennessee, and disposal of the residue in Utah—unless it fails to meet disposal criteria and must be shipped back to Italy, through New Orleans and Charleston.
It was noted that much of the cargo that goes in-and-out of the Port of New Orleans overland is transported on the N.O. Public Belt Railway, right along the boundary of our neighborhood. The project is currently seeking licensing from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Julianna moved, and Betty seconded, that CRNA oppose the proposal and right a letter making our position known to appropriate authorities. The motion passed unanimously.

Security/Improvement Districts: Jerry reported on several recent meetings and discussions regarding the evolution of thinking on the issue of security/improvement districts. After much discussion, Jim Stratton moved, seconded by Marilyn Barbera, that CRNA support a single Improvement District, with the same boundaries as CRNA. The motion passed unanimously.
After further discussion, the group agreed by consensus that the governance of such an Improvement District should be shared in the following manner: 3 representatives from CRNA, 3 from the Palmer Park Neighborhood Association, 3 from the Pensiontown Neighborhood Association, 1 from the Oak Street Association, and 1 from the Riverbend Merchants Association—plus the four appointees by elected officials. This would create a governing board of 15 members.
The group also agreed by consensus that the name of the district should be the “West Carrollton Improvement District”—for simplicity and to avoid any appearance of bias toward a particular organization.
Considerable time was spent discussing methods to insure that the four appointees by elected officials do not come solely from one of the participating organizations.
Points made during the discussion included:
–a “needs assessment” should be a first priority of the district
–an important, and relatively inexpensive, community-building activity of the district would be its ability to provide regular, mailed information to every household in the district about neighborhood meetings and concerns
–some are particularly skeptical of the “security” aspects of such a district, believing that “more bang for the buck” could be achieved by programs addressing children’s needs, schools’ needs, blighted housing, and the like.
–$240/year may be too large an initial “bite” to initiate all in one year. Perhaps it should be phased in over time. This is the responsibility and prerogative of the governing board—to establish the annual fee within the “cap” established by the legislation.

Next Meeting: Because of the late hour, no specific date was set for our next meeting. Meeting date, time, and place will be worked out on e-mail.

March board meeting minutes

Somehow I neglected to post this earlier.

CRNA Board Meeting – Minutes
March 17, 2008

Attending–Board: Annette Bak, Marilyn Barbera, Betty DiMarco, Todd Leavitt, Cindy Morse, Julianna Padgett, John Schackai, Amanda Smithson, Jerry Speir

Absent Board Members: Kevin Brown, Gordon Cagnolatti, Rodney Dionisio, Rudolph Garrison, Earl Hamilton, Marshall Hevron, Judy Miranti, Llewelyn Soniat, Jim Stratton, Evan Wolf

Residents: Michelle Bass, Rick Bass, Flo Blouin, Pax Bobrow, Tilman Hardy, Tony LaRocca,


Treasurer Cindy Morse reported that the newsletter brought in $948 in ads and cost $1023 to produce. (Kudos to Pax Bobrow, our newsletter editor/creator, on an excellent job.) The bank balance remains around $1500.

Announcements: Jerry reported a call from Janet Bean, with RHINO (Rebuilding Hope in New Orleans) and the St. Charles Presbyterian Church. Both organizations are involved with Habitat for Humanity in building the new houses on Ferry Place (the last street, before Jefferson parish, between Willow and Plum.) They will be dedicating the first two (of fourteen) houses on Sunday, March 30, about noon (after the 10:30 services at St. Charles Presbyterian and folks have time to drive over.) Everyone is welcome. Both RHINO and the church recognize a need to help the rest of the neighborhood around this new development. They also expressed an interest in Oak Street’s re-vitalization. Jerry will facilitate a meeting; anyone wishing to be involved should let him know.

Julianna reported on a Citizen Participation Process Informational Meeting; Wednesday, March 19th, 6:30 pm., New Orleans Math and Science Charter School (former H.W. Allen School), Loyola between Nashville and Joseph.
The Times-Picayune has said about these meetings: “the impulse is driven in part by a pair of sentiments heard across the city: Nearly everyone wants more precise information from Mayor Ray Nagin’s administration about when, and just how, dozens of rebuilding projects will take shape; and many believe a formal citizens input mechanism, beyond that of the traditional public hearing, is needed in the wake of the Unified New Orleans Plan neighborhood meetings in 2006.
“Most people who took part in the sprawling planning exercise, one endorsed by the Louisiana Recovery Authority, said in surveys that they wanted to stay involved. And the recovery plan, completed in early 2007, said city leaders should consider giving residents a more formal, legal role in planning the city’s future.”

Robert’s Market is expected to open in September; foundation work is in progress. The new corner grocery at Oak and Leonidas is open.

Harrell Playground/Stadium at Claiborne and Leonidas is also expected to get a makeover—hopefully by Fall, thanks to money from the State and from the Nike Corporation.

There will Carrollton Area Network meeting on Monday, March 31st, 7:00 at St. Matthew’s church, Carrollton and Willow. Jeff Thomas, of the Office of Recovery and Development, will speak about blighted houses, code enforcement, and related recovery issues.

Betty reported that there will be a meeting Saturday, March 22, at 1:00 at the Mockingbird Café on Oak St., to discuss/plan a celebration of the return of the Streetcar to Carrollton Avenue. The celebration will be on the first Saturday after the streetcar’s return that coincides with a last-Saturday-of-the-month Art Market in Palmer Park. Hopefully, it will be the last Saturday in May. Contact Betty at dimarco_bl@bellsouth.net -or just come to the meeting.

Education: There is no news yet on where Priestley School will be located next year. Hopefully, this will be sorted out soon. At Johnson School, there has been discussion of introducing the Big Brother/Big Sister program next year . Big Brother/Big Sister has met with the Recovery School District and is cleared to work with Johnson School and eager to work with CRNA education members. Betty reported on the committee’s effort to develop a 3-5 year vision for the Johnson School, in conjunction with the school’s administration. Cindy noted that we are still working on scheduling a “Work Day” to help out at Johnson School; perhaps late April.

Zoning: The Board of Zoning Adjustments rejected most of the variances that had been requested for two lots in the 8600 block of Zimpel Street, variances that all the immediate neighbors, and CRNA, opposed. The owner will be allowed to build a one-story double on the 30-foot lot and a one-story single on the 27-foot lot. Thanks to all who wrote letters and especially to those who showed up at the BZA.

Marshall is checking on a complaint about 20 or so people occupying a single house in the 1700 block of Carrollton.

The property at Carrollton and Cohn, previously proposed as a “coffee shop,” remains in limbo. A letter has been written suggesting that the “legal non-conforming use” status of the property has expired with the passage of time. So far, no response.

Events: Amanda reported on arrangements for the General Meeting, Thursday, March 27 at 7:00 (St. Andrews church, Carrollton and Zimpel, entrance on Zimpel). Board members who can should please arrive early to help set up. Inspector General Cerasoli will speak, followed by an election of new board members, followed by a discussion of security districts.

Suggestions were offered for topics for future General Meetings: FBI, NORA/Concordia, Priestley School, NOPD, City Council, streets/drainage, Palmer Park, a school principals panel.

Quality of Life: Todd reiterated the offer of free trees for public rights-of-way (mostly the space between the sidewalk and the street in our neighborhood) from Hike for KaTREEna. If you can suggest a space for a tree, and help care for it, let Todd know at tsleavitt@gmail.com See http://www.HikeforKaTREEna.com

Nominating Committee: The slate of board member nominees for the 2008-10 term is:

*Pax Bobrow
Rodney Dionisio
*Tilman Hardy
*Alice-Anne Krishnan
Todd Leavitt
John Schackai
*Gary Smith
Llewelyn Soniat
Jerry Speir
*Betsy Weymann

* = New members.

Annette Bak, Earl Hamilton, Cindy Morse, and John Schackai will be leaving the board. We thank them for their service.

Newsletter: Cindy could use some help with distributing the remaining newsletters. Anyone who help, contact Cindy at cmorse7@cox.net

Old Business: The Board unanimously ratified its action of March 2007 in support of litigation to restore Newcomb Boulevard to public use.

Security Districts: Jerry reported that two bills are presently in draft/pre-filing state—a Carrollton-Riverbend Security District and a Pension Town Improvement District. Thanks to Senator Cheryl Gray. (To reiterate: such districts are legislatively created entities with the power to levy taxes or fees on property to support security patrols and/or other improvements to the district. Security districts tend to be narrowly restricted to patrols and expenditures closely related to security. Improvement districts allow for a wider range of expenditures.)
Several topics were discussed: the need to get information to the broadest possible audience, concerns about the size of the district and possibilities of dividing the CRNA area into two districts, issues of governance, issues of cost, issues of effectiveness and accountability.
Michelle and Rick expressed strong opposition.
Security Districts will be one of the principle topics of conversation at the March 27 General Meeting.

Next Meeting: Thursday, April 10 (place to be determined). Julianna suggested meeting in the Pension Town area. Jerry will check with Rev. Duvernay about the possibility of meeting at his church.

Criminal suspect identified

The crimes are four robberies committed Saturday April 5th:

    800 block of Short Street (Simple Robbery – No Weapon Used)
    8300 block of Zimple Street (Armed Robbery – Implied Weapon)
    Dante & Freret Street ((Simple Robbery – No Weapon Used)
    1200 block of Joseph Street (Armed Robbery)

The suspect was described as a black male in his early 20’s, 5’10” – 6’0”, thin build, dark complexion, short black hair, wearing an orange or reddish colored shirt and black pants. The suspect was driving a blue convertible car with a black top. The car may have been a Toyota Solaris.

Suspect has now been identified as Joshua Despenza.

If you have any information on the whereabouts of Joshua Despenza, please contact Sgt. Shaun Ferguson at 658-6024 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.

Major Kirk Bouyelas

Recent improvement district developments

In the continuing evolution of discussions about security and/or improvement districts, our CRNA board voted unanimously last night to:
1. support a single district with the same boundaries as CRNA (Claiborne to the river and Carrollton to the parish line)
2. support an IMPROVEMENT district within those boundaries, rather than simply a security district. (Security districts are generally limited to spending their resources on security; an improvement district can spend its resources on anything that serves the ‘overall betterment’ of the community, including security
3. support a governing board for the district made of 3 representatives from CRNA, 3 from Palmer Park, 3 from Pensiontown, 1 from Oak St. Assn., 1 from Riverbend merchants, and the 4 appointees by elected officials.
4. support naming the district the ‘West Carrollton Improvement District’ –to avoid confusion with, or the appearance of any bias toward, any of the participating organizations.

Security District meeting with Senator Gray

Senator Cheryl Gray will host a Town Hall meeting on Monday evening, April 14 at 6:30 p.m. at St. Matthew’s church, corner of Carrollton and Willow. Please attend if you can.

And there is a CRNA Board meeting tonight, Thursday April 10, at 7:00 PM at the Keller-Williams real estate office at Leake and Leonidas (8601 Leake Ave.; there is a small parking lot in front of the building). All are welcome. The Security District/Improvement District will be on the agenda.

FYI, here are links to a couple of other security districts which you might want to review:
Touro-Bouligny (Not updated for some time)
Lakeview 2006 budget

Also, a member of the Palmer Park association has started a blog on this subject. Visit it at mollygoesninja