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.