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



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 



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.



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).



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.



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.



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.


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