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 -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 See

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

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.


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