Carrollton Neighborhood News, March 17, 2009

Friends and Neighbors: 

A few quick notes on things happening in the neighborhood—or relevant to the neighborhood.

 Community Crime and Safety Forum  The Central Carrollton Association is hosting this event this Thursday evening, March 19, with District Attorney Leon Cannizarro and NOPD Second District Commander Bruce Little as featured speakers.

Place:  St. Matthew’s United Church of Christ, 1333 S. Carrollton, corner of Willow

Time:  6:00 Registration and refreshments; 6:30 – 8:00 Program

Free and open to the public.

 

Orleans Parish School Board “Stakeholders’ Forum”—Also Thursday, March 19.

Place:  Lindy Boggs Conference Center, Room 152, CERM Building, 2045 Lakeshore Dr. (this is one of the relatively new buildings at the lake end of Elysian Fields, part of the UNO campus).

Time:  4:30-6:30

Purpose:  to allow education leaders, advocates and stakeholders the opportunity to share their opinions and ideas for sustaining progress in public education within Orleans Parish.”

 

Harrell Park PLAYGROUND CONSTRUCTION

When:  Saturday, April 18, 8 a.m. until

Where:  Harrell Park, Leonidas near the corner of Claiborne

Yes, this is still a while in the future, but mark your calendars.  An opportunity for some hands-on contribution to the improvement of the neighborhood.  Sponsors include the Allstate Foundation, the Injury Free Coalition for Kids, and Operation Kids.  For more information, contact: Pastor Stanford Williams, (504) 394-4752 or swilliamsii@msn.com  or Tilman Hardy, (504) 237-9556 or tilmanhardy@kw.com     

 

OAK STREET

As you have doubtless noticed, the MAJOR renovation of Oak Street has begun.  The merchants on the street are still there and struggling to survive this enormous disruption.  Please do what you can to continue to patronize and support them during this activity.  The sidewalks are still open—and it’s quite a sight!  Each two block section is supposed to take about two months to complete.  If all goes well, the street should be totally transformed around Thanksgiving.

 

And we, your neighborhood association, are also still here.  And we’re still looking for folks who want to get involved and help out.  There are lots of things we MIGHT be doing, but they all require volunteers.  The “mights” include everything from cataloguing blighted properties in the neighborhood to helping with a “Carrollton in Bloom” project that has been suggested by our sister organization, the Palmer Park Neighborhood Association.  See  a British model.  Or maybe you have your own ideas.  If so, I’d be please to hear them. 

And we are seriously looking for new people to serve on the organization’s board.  If you’re interested, or just have questions about it, let’s talk.

 Happy Spring!

 Jerry Speir, President

Carrollton/Riverbend Neighborhood Assoc.

March 12 board meeting minutes

CRNA Board Meeting – Minutes

March 12, 2009

 Attending—Board:  Pax Bobrow,  Gordon Cagnolatti, Betty DiMarco, Rudolf Garrison, Marshall Hevron, Llewelyn Soniat, Jerry Speir, Jim Stratton, and Betsy Weymann

 Absent Board Members:  Marilyn Barbera , Kevin Brown, Rodney Dionisio, Tilman Hardy, Todd Leavitt, Judith Miranti, Julianna Padgett, Gary Smith, Amanda Smithson,                                      

Residents/Guests:  Mary DeWitt Dukes, Camilla Franklin, Celia Griffin, Cindy Morse, and Robbie Roberson

  

LEONIDAS HOUSE

Jerry circulated copies of renderings of a possible renovation of the Leonidas House property.  Volunteer work days on the property, at Leonidas and Willow, have made progress on internal clean-up. More will be organized soon.

Anyone interested in helping with the project should contact Tilman Hardy at tilmanhardy@kw.com 

 

CRIME/SAFETY

Mary reported on activities of the Crime Committee and the Carrollton Area Network (CAN) Crime Collaborative.

            –Mary is working on developing a handbook and/or guidelines for use by area leaders within the neighborhood (something like “block captains” but for areas larger than blocks)

–There is a consensus within the groups that the crime data we get from NOPD is less than complete and less timely than it might be.  Mary and Alice-Anne are scheduling a meeting with Major Little (2d District Commander) to discuss ways that this might be improved.

–An individual in the French Quarter has developed a system for prompt text-messaging of crimes as they occur to persons who opt into the system.  State Rep. Walker Hines has recently been talking about introducing a bill for state funding of a pilot program city-wide that would model that program.

–The group will continue to arrange “porch parties” on the last Saturday of each month.  The next one will be in 900 block of Joliet on March 28.

–Central Carrollton Assoc. is hosting a “Neighborhood Safety” forum on Thursday, March 19, featuring Major Little and DA Leon Cannizarro, at St. Matthew United Church of Christ, 1333 S. Carrollton, corner of Willow.  Refreshments will be served at 6:00, with the program running from 6:30-8:00.

–Questions were raised about crime cameras in the neighborhood.  To our knowledge, no publically-funded cameras are functioning within the neighborhood.  Private cameras can be installed fairly cheaply, and the Oak Street Association has several functioning on Oak Street.  Betsy noted that some cities have systems allowing citizens to send photos of crimes-in-progress, suspicious persons and the like via their cell phones directly to the police.

 

MAYORAL CANDIDATES

Betty reported on attendance at a recent mayoral forum where Rob Couhig was the featured guest.  He focused on three things he said were needed to make the city work:  (1) making the city livable (safer, less blight, etc.), (2) making the city affordable (no new property taxes, helping to reduce insurance and utility rates), and (3) developing economic opportunities (concentrating on higher education, health care, construction, natural resources and the port).

                                                                                                                   

NEIGHBORHOOD CENSUS

Pax reported on a meeting with folks from the Delgado Service Learning Program.  They are interested in the possibilities of helping with a neighborhood census/needs assessment, and are applying for a federal grant that might assist such an effort.  But they say they are interested whether they get the grant or not.  Pax will continue to follow up with them.

                                            

ORGANIZATION BUILDING

The remainder of the meeting was spent discussing ways to make our organization more effective, to involve more people, etc. Among the suggestions:

 

–Attendance by the City Councilperson would attract more people to meetings.  (She has come when invited.)  But major speakers can also detract from doing the business of the organization.

–What’s the function of the organization?  If we get more people to meetings, what are we telling them or what are we asking them to do?

–To a degree, we function as a “watchdog,” especially on zoning related issues, and our level of activity tends to ebb and flow with the rise and fall of critical issues.

–Many people see us as a connection to “the powers that be,” providing a service, getting our local voices heard.

–We also function as a forum within which individuals’ ideas/talents can be realized (e.g., our newsletter).  We’re not a “make everything happen” organization.  We are individuals and volunteers, working together.

–Our mission is not a focused one, but (somewhat necessarily) nebulous.  We facilitate/support projects that individuals/volunteers are able to take on.

–It would be nice, for example, to have someone to lead an effort to find out all we can about blighted housing in the neighborhood and blighted housing programs in the city, about streets and whether we’re getting our fair share of street repairs, about drainage issues, etc., etc. but any of these ideas require an individual to step forward to lead the effort.  How to attract/encourage them?

–We might attract more participants simply with better signage in coffee shops, stores, churches, etc.  Public “suggestion boxes” might also be an effective outreach tool.  (The latter was Pax’s idea, which she agreed to execute.)

–Organizations like ours only work because people are drawn to them for some (generally) self-interested reason; and they have to be fun.

–Some organizations, in other cities, do things like annual street theatre or “circus” projects to attract attention and “get the word out.”

–Treasurer’s report (from Cindy) shows we have about $3000 in the bank.  We might use that for a general mailing that would reach every household, but the issue would still be what, exactly, are we reporting and/or inviting people to.

–We need to be more connected to the other organizations in our area—Palmer Park, Pension Town, Oak Street.

–We could make better use of the universities.  If we had a list of discrete projects, we could get support from professors and service learning personnel.

 

ANNUAL MEETING

We need to have an annual meeting and to elect new board members.  James Carville was suggested as a possible speaker who would attract attendance.  Betsy agreed to work on contacting him.  Betty, Julianna, and Jerry will continue to serve as Nominating Committee to propose new board members.

NEXT MEETING:  Thursday, April 9.  Place – TBD.

Community Forum: Neighborhood Safety

Community Forum: Neighborhood Safety
Thursday, March 19, 2009
6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

St. Matthew United Church of Christ
1333 S. Carrollton Avenue

Speakers
Leon Cannizarro, Orleans Parish District Attorney
Major Bruce Little, Second NOPD District Commander

Program
6:00-6:30 p.m. Registration and Refreshments
6:30-8:00 p.m. Program

Sponsored by Central Carrollton Association and the Carrollton Area Network

For more info: www.centralcarrolltonassociation.org

Neighborhood Safety meeting flyer download.

Tonight: Section 8 housing info meeting

Special Carrollton Neighborhood Action Meeting

Wed. Mar. 4, 2009, 6:30pm @ Stuart Hall School on Carrollton Avenue

Topic: Discussion w/HANO regarding Section 8 rules and regulation, particularly those that concern strategies for dealing with problem tenants.

I.  What is Section 8?

Who is eligible?

Who governs the program?

What are the rules and regulations for tenants and landlords?

Are private property owners participating in the program responsible for policing their own properties?  

What steps do we take when tenants are not following the rules and landlords are not enforcing the rules/regulations?

 

II.  Please explain the role of NOPD, HANO and the landlord in regards to each of the following levels of disturbance:

Noise, trash, traffic

Nonviolent illegal activity such as drug use or sale

Violent crime

 

III.  There is signage that identify HANO properties (housing projects and scatter sites)  

How do neighbors identify a Section 8 property?

How does HANO identify these properties in a community?

 

IV.  HANO Police Department

Should HANO police be involved in criminal activity at Section 8 properties?

How does HANO police track illegal activity at Section 8 properties?

What communication does NOPD and HANO police have regarding complaint calls and criminal incident reports at Section 8 properties? 

 

For those who cannot make this meeting, more info can be found at the below links.

Re terminations of HUD vouchers:  http://www.hud.gov/offices/adm/hudclips/guidebooks/7420.10G/7420g15GUID.pdf

General HUD handbook for vouchers:  http://www.hud.gov/offices/pih/programs/hcv/forms/guidebook.cfm

Levee Park update

As you probably know, a two-mile stretch of the levee along Leake Avenue, between the Jefferson line and Audubon Park was rezoned to green space in 2007.

Dr. Sheldon Hersh of the Uptown Triangle Association tells us that the next step is about to begin, with the Regional Planning Commission (RPC) about to begin a feasibility study called the Riverbend Pedestrian Access/Transit Feasibility Project.

There is still time for citizen input.   At this time no planning meeting dates have been announced. Visit the RPC website here.   

To learn about the Levee Park, click here.   Links on that page show a vision and a map of the LeveePark

Here is a list of topics for the RPC planning meetings.  Send email to Sheldon Hersh at Smhersh@aol.com if you have additional suggestions. 

Park mission: Using our waterfront to

  • improve recreational opportunities for our area
  • connect Carrollton to the French Quarter – increasing neighborhood business, tourism, and property values.
  • increase tourism for New Orleans by creating a unique tourism attraction – a riverboat-streetcar loop – without cars, pollution, or infrastructure changes.

 

The Park – physical realties

  • Access
  • Signage
  • Benches
  • Lighting
  • Security
  • Landscaping
  • Parking
  • Educational kiosks, monuments
  • Maintenance

 

Leake Avenue

  • Crossing Leake Avenue and railroad tracks
  • Traffic controls
  • Moving Leake Avenue
  • Magazine Street and Jefferson Parish entrance markers

 

Incorporating the Park into the neighborhood

  • Coordinate with CARI plan
  • Neighborhood zoning, height, amenities
  • Neighborhood walking tours

 

Oak Street

  • Promoting Oak Street and the Oak Street-Main Street Project
  • Walking tour down Oak Street

 

Regional river use

  • Connecting Carrollton to the French Quarter
  • Riverboat landing at the Riverbend, near St. Charles and Carrollton
  • Riverboat landing at Oak Street
  • Regional water taxis

 

Institutional relationships

  • Maritime traffic and uses
  • Corps of Engineers, levee raising project
  • New Orleans Public Belt Railroad

 

Park use

  • School use, bands, athletics
  • Recreation, walking, jogging, cycling, horseback riding, etc.
  • Status of the batture (riverside of the levee)
  • Neighborhood festivals

 

Dog Park

 

Transportation issues

  • Incorporating into regional transportation grid
  • Evacuation route
  • Bicycle path and regional bicycle tourism
  • Light rail

Tulane Campus-Community Forum, Wed. 03/06

Tulane Campus-Community Forum
Wednesday, March 11, 2009, 4:30 p.m.
Rogers Chapel, 1229 Broadway

Topic of discussion: Working together to reduce alcohol-related incidents and problems in the university community.

FORUM PANELISTS

Murphy Painter
Commissioner, Alcohol Control Board

Hon. Shelley Midura
New Orleans City Council, District A

Maj. Bruce Little
Commander, NOPD – 2nd District

Kristy Miller
Director, LaHEC

David Melius
Owner, Bruno’s Tavern

Tulane student leaders

CRNA Board Meeting – Minutes Feb. 12, 2009

Attending—Board: Marilyn Barbera, Pax Bobrow, Kevin Brown, Betty DiMarco, Tilman Hardy, Marshall Hevron, Julianna Padgett, Jerry Speir, and Jim Stratton,

Absent Board Members: Gordon Cagnolatti, Rodney Dionisio, Rudolf Garrison, Todd Leavitt, Judith Miranti, Amanda Smithson, Gary Smith, Llewelyn Soniat, and Betsy Weymann

Residents/Guests: Annettte Bak, Camilla Franklin

Crime—Jennifer Jenkins reported a car-jacking in the 8500 block of Freret at 7 p.m. on Feb. 11. [A subsequent e-mail from NOPD reported an arrest in the matter, and the recovery of both the vehicle and the weapon used.] The CRNA Crime Committee will continue to hold “porch parties” as the primary get-togethers within our CRNA boundaries, but is also hosting meetings with representatives of the Crime Committees of other associations within the Carrollton Area Network for the purpose of coordinating our various efforts to combat crime. The focus of the moment is on improving the information that we get from NOPD.

Planning for a General Meeting and Election of Officers—Julianna Padgett, Betty DiMarco and Jerry Speir agreed to serve as a Nominating Committee.

Leonidas House—The “work day” on the previous Saturday drew 20+ people and accomplished quite a bit. A second work day is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 21. The State Historic Preservation Office has provided some very nice renderings of a possible renovation of the building. A Community Advisory Group is being formed. Leonidas House meetings are on the 2d Tuesday of each month at 5:30 at the Keller-Williams offices, 8601 Leake. Persons wishing to be involved should come to the meeting and/or contact Tilman Hardy (tilmanhardy@kw.com) or Annette Bak (annettebak@chevron.com) directly.

Schools—Annette Bak reported that a recent Literacy Fair at Johnson School was very successful. Kevin Brown noted that a clean-up at the school, by AmeriCorps volunteers, in conjunction with Martin Luther King Day was also very successful. Jerry Speir reported on a recent conversation with School Board President Woody Koppel re: the Priestley school building. It was agreed that further conversations should be initiated to bring Mr. Koppel and other school system personnel up to speed on the potential for renovating the existing building, rather than demolishing it. (Annette Bak and Tilman Hardy expressed an interest in such further discussions and suggested that Jean Fischer and Mary Green should be included. There was also discussion of the broader need in the area for a discussion about schools in the Greater Carrollton area and how future plans relate to each.

Citizen Participation Program—There will be a breakfast meeting on Saturday, Feb. 28 [place/time] to discuss the latest developments with the CPP.

Newsletter—Pax Bobrow is willing to put together another edition of the newsletter—IF others will do the initial writing. She will edit, produce and distribute the newsletter, but needs articles. Anyone with anything to contribute should contact Pax directly at paxbobrow@yahoo.com

Oak Street—The actual street work on Oak is scheduled to start on the Monday after Mardi Gras. The work will be done in two-block sections, starting at Carrollton. If all goes according to plan, the work should be completed by November 1.

Carrollton Audubon Renaissance, Inc. (CARI)—Jerry Speir reported that the four public meetings for public input into CARI’s neighborhood planning process have been well-attended and have generated lots of ideas for the planners to sort through as they develop a draft land-use plan for the area. That draft will then be open for further public review before being finalized.
The planning discussion led to reflections on past efforts to establish a local historic district in the area. Jerry Speir volunteered to attempt to sort out the hold-up in that process.
Tilman Hardy suggested that we need our own planning committee to deal with green space issues as they relate to zoning. Pax Bobrow, Jim Stratton, and Camilla Franklin volunteered to help with such an effort.

There was general discussion of the value of having a joint meeting of the boards of all the associations that operate within CRNA boundaries. The idea was generally supported, with the caveat that some work toward planning an agenda should precede such a meeting.

NEXT CRNA Board Meeting: Thursday, March 12 at the Keller-Willliams offices, 7 p.m.