Board meeting minutes 10/08/07

Attending–Board:  Annette Bak, Marilyn Barbera,  Gordon Cagnolatti, Betty DiMarco, Rudolph Garrison, Marshall Hevron,  Cindy Morse, Amanda Smithson, John Schackai, Llewelyn Soniat, Jerry Speir, Jim Stratton, Evan Wolf


Residents:  Pax Bobrow, Colby Johnson


Guests:   Wanda Brooks (principal of Johnson Elementary), Una Anderson (school board member, legislative candidate), Walker Hines (legislative candidate). 



Una Anderson and Walker Hines, candidates for the state legislature, made brief presentations concerning their candidacy and platforms.  Board member Evan Wolf, a candidate for the same seat, declined to address the board, saying that he had previously spoken to other board members individually.


Treasurer Cindy Morse reported an account balance of $1679.77.


Wanda Brooks, Principal of Johnson Elementary School, introduced herself and noted that CRRA Board members Cindy Morse and Kevin Brown have been invited to be on the school’s Leadership Team.  She reported that she is working on a grant proposal for a program to create more parental involvement at the school and is especially interested in identifying programs to involve the older boys at the school at times when school is not in session.  She appealed for the neighborhood’s assistance with getting the “moat” filled around the new playground equipment, and getting shelves built for storage. She is especially interested in having neighbors visit the school.  The school could also use a washer and dryer.


Pax Bobrow reported that the boxes for collecting General Mills coupons (worth 10 cents each) for school assistance are in place or will shortly be in place at the school as well as at Saltwater Grill, the Oak Street Café, and Castellon Pharmacy.  More information on this program to follow.


Pax also reported that Johnson School will get 20 tickets for its students to attend the upcoming appearance by J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, and that the school is seeking guest readers for the Harry Potter stories as part of preparing for the author’s visit.  Interested members should contact Pax directly at  The school is also in need of extra copies of the first of the Potter books, which they are using in third grade reading.


Annette Bak reported that Priestley School has applied for FEMA funding to renovate the Leonidas building but that not much is expected.  Una Anderson elaborated that the decision about the FEMA funds should be made soon and that, barring those funds, the school board might lease the property to the school.  Carrollton United was reported to be working on the possibility of raising funds to renovate the gymnasium at the school.


Evan Wolf led a discussion about the possibility of CRRA taking over the neighborhood patrol initiated by Chad Gilman.  Concerns were expressed about such issues as the limited hours and area that the patrol had been able to cover, the difficulty of collecting dues, the long hours that policemen are already working, and the consensus of the group was to table the idea unless and until and individual could be identified who would take on its administration.


Marshall Hevron reported for the Zoning Committee that the matter of the coffee shop at Carrollton and Cohn has been deferred until the City Council meeting of October 18.  He also reported on a proposal to create parking along part of Leake Avenue, between the street and the railroad tracks.  It was unanimously decided that CRRA’s position should be that “there should be no short or long term leasing of public property for parking without the knowledge and approval of the neighborhood associations most affected by it and until a comprehensive study for the Levee Park and Leake Ave area is completed.”  John Schackai recommended that the position should also state that parking there, given the new “park” zoning for that area appears to be outside the allowable uses of the Zoning Ordinance.  That amendment was approved unanimously.


Marilyn Barbera raised the issue of whether CRRA should join with the Palmer Park Association in its Halloween activities.  After some discussion, the consensus of the group was not to do so.


Amanda Smithson reported that the Events Committee has organized three small-scale trash pick-ups on Sunday mornings and working on planning a larger clean-up for a bit later in the fall.  She also reported that the Young Leadership Council, of which she is a member, is offering free assistance with college applications, etc. to high school seniors in the Recovery School District and is especially interested in assisting students who are the first in their families going to college.  Anyone who can direct qualified students to the project should contact Amanda directly at


NEXT MEETING:  Monday, November 5, 7:30 p.m., at Asian Cajun.


Board meeting minutes – Sept. 10, 2007

CRRA Board Meeting – Minutes
September 10, 2007

Attending–Board: Annette Bak, Marilyn Barbera, Kevin Brown , Betty DiMarco, Marshall Hevron, Cindy Morse, Amanda Smithson, John Schackai, Jerry Speir, Jim Stratton, Evan Wolf

Residents: Lyn Adams, Pax Bobrow, Sandy Brown, Colby Johnson

Guests: Percy Marchand (legislative candidate), Jonathan Stewart & Tyronne Walker (campaign staff)

Percy Marchand, candidate for the state legislature, made a brief presentation concerning his candidacy and platform.

Treasurer Cindy Morse reported an account balance $2072.77.

Considerable discussion followed on a request for a beer and wine license for the Jazmine Café at 614 S. Carrollton. The board voted unanimously to support the zoning committee’s recommendation for the following conditions on such a license.

The Café owners and operators must sign a contract (to be recorded on property records) agreeing to:

–operate only as a “standard restaurant” as defined in the Zoning Ordinance
–sell alcohol only to restaurant customers being served food
–close no later than 10 p.m.
–use no “go cups”
–establish a litter abatement program
–use no signage visible to the street indicating the sale of alcohol
–have no video poker

The agreement will also reflect that the ‘conditional use’ status necessary to the permit will not transfer to new owners in the event of a sale, i.e., a new owner would have to re-apply.

The zoning committee also reported on a proposed coffee shop for the Carrollton/Cohn corner (site of the old Barber Laboratories). This requires a “change of use” for the property’s “non-conforming use status.” A city planning commission staff report has recommended denial because the coffee shop would be a more intensive use (longer hours, more impact on parking, etc). There will be a meeting of the zoning committee and all interested parties with the owners/applicants on Monday, Sept. 17, 7:00 p.m. at 8117 Cohn (home of Judy and Vincent Miranti). Judge Frank Marullo is the owner of the property.

The zoning committee also reported progress toward a “height moratorium” designed to limit out-of-scale projects that might be proposed for the neighborhood prior to the completion of a new zoning ordinance.

Amanda Smithson, Events Chair, reported on our very successful picnic/general meeting in Palmer Park on August 18 and on the recent trial-run trash pickup in the neighborhood. More clean-up efforts are planned for the future.

Kevin Brown reported on his submission, on CRRA’s behalf, of a grant proposal to benefit the Johnson Elementary School. The proposal seeks to involve parents more in school events and to expand community involvement with the school. Kevin and Cindy Morse have been named to the school’s Leadership Team by the new principal, a very positive development in our efforts to support the school.

Pax Bobrow reported on an effort to collect cereal “boxtop coupons” as a fund-raising effort to benefit Johnson School. She reports that Castellon Pharmacy, Saltwater Grill, and the Oak St. Café, so far, have agreed to serve as collection centers. Look for more news on this effort on our website as details develop. Pax reports that a similar effort on behalf of Lusher School raised more than $800 last year. The effort may also be expanded to include Community Coffee coupons.

Pax also reported on a meeting she attended re: bike paths in the city. In short, it’s complicated, but it’s possible for bike paths to be privately funded and executed, so long as they meet the relevant specifications, regulations, etc.

Annette Bak reported that Priestley School has 199 students (more than double its enrollment of last year) in its new, temporary home at St. Henry’s. But she also reported a move to put the Priestley building on Leonidas on the “surplus property market,” which could mean that the building could be sold. [Note: Information since the board meeting suggests that this proposed marketing of the building has been forestalled, at least in part as a response to public inquiry—doubtless from our board, among others. Una Anderson has been instrumental in that change.]

John Schackai reported that the new Robert’s Market proposed for Carrollton and Claiborne could be in jeopardy because of a problem acquiring “GO Zone bond funding.” [Note: Information from Councilwoman Midura’s office since the board meeting suggests that this crisis, too, may be averted. Public outcry about the potential for losing the store has doubtless been a factor here, too. We thank the Councilwoman for her intervention and await confirmation that the funding is, in fact, in place.]

NEXT MEETING: Monday, October 8, 7:30 p.m., at Asian Cajun.

Board meeting Monday Sept. 10

Meet at the back room of the Asian Cajun, Oak and Cambronne, at 7:30 PM.
We’ll have the Johnson School principal as a guest–and much to discuss about schools, zoning issues, trash issues, crime, bike paths, and more.

CRRA Board meeting minutes – August

August 13, 2007

Attending–Board:  Annette Bak, Marilyn Barbera,  Kevin Brown , Marshall Hevron,  Julianna Padgett, Amanda Smithson, Llewelyn Soniat, Jerry Speir, Jim Stratton, Evan Wolf

Residents:  Lyn Adams, Pax Bobrow, Fr. Anthony Bozeman, Amy Jenkins, Joseph Kane, Anne Nicolay,

Guests:   Dylan Tete, Enrico Sterling (Councilwoman Midura’s office)

Enrico Sterling, Director of Constituent Services for Councilwoman Midura, spoke briefly about tax assessment and millage rollback issues; he noted that the Council has unanimously committed to doing everything in their power to roll back millages to assure the least possible tax increases in line with the principle of re-assessing all properties on a market-value basis.  He noted that the Council is not the only body with a say in the final outcome and that the final millage rate would likely not be known until December.  Tax bills are due in January.

Dylan Tete, a local developer, addressed his activities, in collaboration with a local coalition, to challenge the liquor license of the Bus Stop Lounge at Hickory and Leonidas.  There will be a hearing on Tuesday, August 21 before the Alcohol  Beverage Control Board, in the City Council chambers; he will advise us of the exact time.  He requests support from the Board.

Lyn Adams reported on her activities to attract a more favorable business to the old Eckerd’s site at the Riverbend (after the Zoning/Planning Committee declined to endorse a liquor permit for a Mellow Mushroom franchise at that location.)  She is talking to potential small grocers and looking at the feasibility of mixed vendors there (e.g., a small bakery outlet, small fish vendor, small vegetable vendor, etc. – sort of a permanent farmer’s market).  She is open to any and all ideas and assistance and can be reached at

Annette Bak reported that Priestley School has 170 students for the fall (hoping for 200; but up from 40 at this time last year) and will now be housed at St. Henry’s on Magazine until the modular buildings are installed at the Leonidas site.  That could take a full year, but they hope not.  Priestley will have an information table at our Palmer Park picnic/meeting on Saturday.

Jerry Speir reported on grants available through the Recovery School District to neighborhood associations and religious groups to deter truancy and to help provide greater security at the schools.  Johnson School is the only RSD school in our neighborhood.  Kevin Brown noted that these programs have worked in other cities to re-institute “local control of the schools.”  Jerry suggested another committee meeting soon to consider possibilities.  Lyn Adams and Julianna Padgett  volunteered for the committee, along with Kevin Brown, Pax Bobrow, Annette Bak, Jerry Speir, Jean Fischer, Cindy Morse, and Betty DiMarco.  (We’re happy to have anyone’s involvement who’s interested.).  Amanda Smithson noted that she has experience setting up after-school programs for Save the Children and that she could help.

In a discussion of the Treasury and finances, Jerry Speir suggested the following dues structure, which the group approved:  Dues are voluntary, with the following levels suggested:

$10 – individual
$20 – family/household
$50 – supporting member
$100 – sustaining member

Evan Wolf volunteered to create a membership form before the Palmer Park gathering.  Marshall Hevron called for all Board members to pay dues in support of the organization’s funding.

Amanda Smithson reviewed plans for the Annual Meeting/Picnic in Palmer Park, next Saturday, August 18, 4:00 – 7:30.  Everyone is asked to bring a dish to share.  Chairs and ice chests with whatever you want to drink would also be appropriate.  Volunteers are also needed for set-up, manning tables during the event (to sign up members, explain committees, etc.) and to clean-up afterwards.  To volunteer, contact Amanda at   Set-up helpers should arrive at least by 3:30.  Julianna Padgett agreed to contact Phoenix Recycling about providing recycling bins.

Neighborhood Crime Patrol:  Chad Gilman, who got the patrol started, is leaving the city and needs someone to take over administration of the patrol.  Bob and Mary Perkins and Evan Wolf have offered assistance.   Chad has suggested that CRRA make the patrol an official activity of the association.  The Board felt it needed more information before taking that step.  Evan, Bob and Mary, and Marilyn Barbera will work with Chad on continuing the operation and bring that issue back before the board at our next meeting.  Marshall Hevron wondered if automatic credit card billing could be set up, to simplify the task of collecting monies.  Anybody have any experience with that?

In the crime discussion, it was pointed out that we also need someone to go to the monthly NONPAC meetings (New Orleans Neighborhood Policing Anti-Crime Council).  Meetings are the second Tuesday of each month at Touro Hospital.  Pax Bobrow expressed possible interest.  Anyone else?

Jerry Speir reported that the City Planning Commission is working on a non-conforming use report to convert the old exterminator operation at 1900 Carrollton to a coffee shop.  He also noted that Jazmine Café at Carrollton and St. Charles has requested a liquor license and that the Zoning Committee will meet with them to discuss it.  Discussion ensued about parking problems in that area, loitering at the daiquiri shop across the street, etc.  Marshall volunteered to contact the Public Belt Railroad about parking possibilities/limitations associated with their property.

The group also agreed to support  the Northwest Carrollton Association in their call for attention to permit problems associated with the Daiquiri Island on Earhard Blvd, and to support the Maple Area Residents, Inc. (MARI) in their call for Bruno’s to live up to their commitment to convert the old Bruno’s to a restaurant and to close it by 11 p.m. each evening.

Next Meeting:  Monday, September 10, 7:30 (place to be confirmed)—unless the Saints are playing on Monday Night Football.

Palmer Park Party

Palmer Park entrance monument

The CRRA’s General Meeting and Party is THIS SATURDAY, August 18, at Palmer Park, corner of Carrollton and Claiborne.

Come join us between 4 and 7:30 for a good time. Meet others who live in the neighborhood and learn about the CRRA. Rain date is Sunday the 19th.
Free live music. Free grilled burgers and hot dogs.
Bring your own drinks and a dish to share. And a chair, if you want. And maybe a fan, too.


We plan to have a table set up for each of our committees, to inform participants of our activities and to attract new folks. Food and music are part of the plan.

Anyone wanting to help with the day’s activities and/or to be involved in the planning should contact Events Committee chair Amanda Smithson at

Downloag the meeting flier

CRRA Board Meeting Minutes – July 16, 2007

Attending–Board:  Annette Bak, Marilyn Barbera,  Gordon Cagnolatti, Betty Dimarco, Rodney Dionisio,  Rudolf Garrison, Marshall Hevron,  Todd Leavitt, Cindy Morse Julianna Padgett, Llewelyn Soniat, Jerry Speir, Evan Wolf

Residents:  Amy Borrell, Raul Esquivel, Beatriz Ocampo, Eric Odom, Doug Paulson, Jill Stephens

Guests:  Gregory Ensslen (Freret Business & Prop. Owners’ Assoc.),  Enrico Sterling (Councilwoman Midura’s office), Marilyn Kearney (Oak St.-Main St.)

Enrico Sterling, Director of Constituent Services for Councilwoman Midura, announced that he has been designated our staff representative in the Councilwoman’s office.  He can be reached at or 658-1010.  He fielded a wide variety of questions on issues including streetlight repairs, noise from commercial establishments, illegal parking, street repairs and the like.  One of his primary activities is helping citizens identify the right agency within city government to address a problem and following through until there is resolution.  He asked that, when we communicate with him by e-mail (preferred) that we include “CRRA” as part of the subject line so that he can sort e-mails easily into neighborhood folders.

Greg Ensslen, with the Freret Business & Property Owners’ Association, reported on his organizations’ efforts to create a new “Arts and Culture Overlay” for Freret Street, with a plan to attract live theatre, perhaps the old “Movie Pitchers,” a flea market/farmer’s market and the like.

Cindy Morse reported that KABOOM will be installing a donated playground at the Johnson School, 1800 Monroe Street, on July 26.  They need volunteers and tools (particularly wheelbarrows and shovels) and perhaps help with lunch and snacks.  If you can help, please contact Cindy at

Annette Bak reported that the Priestley school is now recruiting for the 2007-08 year for its architecture and construction curriculum.  Registration is open through August 3.  For at least the beginning of the school year, the school will continue to be co-located with the McNair Elementary School at 1607 S. Carrollton.  When its temporary buildings are available, the school will re-locate to its permanent site on Leonidas, awaiting the renovation of that building.  More information is available at
The school’s phone number is 504-324-7200.  Annette is on the Priestley board and can be reached at

Marshall Hevron reported on planning for our next general meeting/party at Palmer Park on Saturday, August 18, 4-7:30 (with August 19 as a “rain date”).  We plan to have a table set up for each of our committees, to inform participants of our activities and to attract new folks.  Food and music are part of the plan.  Anyone wanting to help with the day’s activities and/or to be involved in the planning should contact Events Committee chair Amanda Smithson at

Gordon Cagnolatti reported on plans for a Night Out Against Crime event on Tuesday, August 7 at 6:30 in the Castellon parking lot, in conjunction with the Oak Street/Main Street program.  We hope to have door prizes, activities for children, music, and the cooperation of both the police and fire departments.  Anyone wanting to help should contact Gordon at  Part of this year’s Night Out program involves each neighborhood picking a particular intersection to target for improvement over the course of the next year.  Tentatively, the Leonidas and Hickory intersection is the choice for our neighborhood.

Annette Bak reported that the Bylaws Committee has made significant progress and should have a draft to circulate prior to our next Board meeting.  Issues that provoked the most discussion were a possible name change (perhaps from “Residents Association” to “Neighborhood Association”) and a possible boundary change to resolve overlap with the new Palmer Park Neighborhood Association.

Betty Dimarco and Todd Leavitt reported for the Quality of Life committee that, for rather complicated reasons, “truck routes” (or “no truck routes”) are presently unenforceable.  Despite that, we will continue to work with the Councilwoman’s office and others to attempt to reduce the number of large trucks on small streets.  Todd also reported on communications with other neighborhood organizations in the area about possibly improving the city’s “green laws” (primarily concerning the way that the city deals with trees on public property).

Jerry Speir reported for the Zoning/Planning Committee that the moratorium proposal re: major projects in the area (pending creation of a new zoning ordinance) is in progress.  Marilyn Barbera reported that, with the help of Councilwoman Midura’s office, there have been improvements in the way that the Riverbend Walgreen’s handles garbage at its back entrance.  Walgreen’s has also committed to replacing palm trees at its rear.

Julianna Padgett reported that ThinkNOLA and others are hosting a Road Home Unconference on Saturday, July 28, from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm at the Lindy C. Boggs Conference Center at the University of New Orleans.  According to their website   “The Road Home Unconference is a participant driven, working event.  There will be no lectures from officials. Unlike the civic meetings we’ve all grown so weary of, there will be no lectures, you will not have to wait hours to speak for minutes. We’ll have a structured
working environment, where we can work together to find solutions to the delays and the shortfall.”

There will also be a “retreat” on city-wide “citizens’ participation” activities on September 7-8.

The next board meeting will be Monday, August 13, at 7:30, place to be announced (back at Asian Cajun if their room is available.)

Board meeting

Monday 5/21 at 7:00 p.m. in the back room at Gelato Pazzo, 8115 Oak.
Guest presenters and CRRA business.

Board meeting tonight

Monday, April 23, at 7 PM at Gelato Pazzo, 8115 Oak Street.
All are welcome.
Tentative agenda:
The Priestley School, the new Oak Street/Main Street program, committee reports (Quality of Life & Zoning/Planning), planning our next general meeting, this weblog.