WWL>Topics>>11-20-13 2:10pm Angela: on Uptown NOLA

11-20-13 2:10pm Angela: on Uptown NOLA

Nov 20, 2013|

Angela's "From the Front Porch" segment focuses on Uptown New Orleans with Laura Claverie, Bobby Hassinger, and Ted LeClercq of the St. Charles Avenue Association.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Well it's been called the most beautiful residential street in America. And just last year was named one of the world's great streets. We're talking about our own saint Charles avenue. There are many reasons why this avenue was so special all of which we're gonna talk about. But among them is the people who care about saint Charles avenue and that goes far beyond those who live or work on the street. Today we have three members of the saint Charles avenue association. Who have exciting news about great projects they're working on. And also some concern that they say must be addressed. Joining us is association president Bobby passenger. Immediate past president template cleaner. And secretary the association lower class. And you know every week we do show highlighting neighborhood with a Blake funeral and -- city. And we're gonna do many uptown but I think what makes this special is that you are an organization. For the entire street. That really belongs to everyone and so you're sort of the stewards. For all of us and I know that wonderful things are happening on that street. First of all that it's the grand streak that it is an we'd love and appreciate. And I don't drive down I don't think about those trees let's talk about it in the global sense. You know -- like you really hit it in the -- of this this channel. They -- avenue it's an important street not just to New Orleans and not just to those of us who live here but to the world. It really has been named when north beautiful streets in the world on many publications. On it's it's one of the great favorite streets are most walk couple streets it's one every accolade. -- -- can we ran. -- recently when Drew Brees was interviewed by USA today. He was asked what his favorite activity to do in New Orleans once and -- was to run the street car up and down saint Charles avenue industry globally it's. This is the beloved street. It has mentioned that go back to the eighteen hundreds he has. Phenomenal trees. And we are doing everything we can't as an association. To preserve the integrity of the street. And that is the bottom line it would only I was say about the French Quarter there's only one and there's only one saint Charles avenue. And if you don't have people like you who are paying attention and helping direct. And you can chip away at something great like that would you agree. Absolutely. I think we can say we can named streets all over the world that a test. Just fallen apart because people container. And people like -- player who shared our tree project in body passenger. Really have made I made a mission. This trend that's a beautiful word mission I'm on top potential things because we go back a few years. Content and I was thrilled I did not know until like this that that you were the best president not surprisingly but. Low after Katrina I get this call from the show on man who said. I wanna do something for the city just like everybody else and I decided it's going to be planting trees on saint Charles avenue from Lee's circle to Jackson where you saw the greatest need. And by golly you did it. And that's exactly it and in the dark days post-Katrina win we as New Orleans had to figure out how to make our city better. When we read the New York Times editorial that talked about death of an American city. We acted we came together to figure out how -- it helped make our city rise up again and maker to be better than ever. And we did it for saint Charles avenue but look around at all the people you talked to you during that time Leisle Jacobs in the charter reform movement. And milling and women of the storm -- for our -- and citizens for one -- hairy in the Katrina occurred. Their lots of people who decided that they would not accept -- and that we would make New Orleans as good as it can be. And so my wife Courtney came up with this great idea to take a look at one of our most important streets. And a hundred years ago somebody did this for us and so is what we wanted to do was to making great. So that my children Douglas price since season and their grandchildren. And in many people who participated who loved avenue would have a great avenue for us for our city and for the world. Book is when you think about it saint Charles avenue is where we celebrate carnival. It's where we send our visitors to ride the streetcar. And it's where we celebrate our world champion New Orleans Saints ahead. Beautiful I'm just cheers and tears it. No I love the enthusiasm and I loved the heart because that's really what what you're talking about but you also had to raise 300000 dollars or not just saying let's plan a few trees here. We know it started off to be a smaller project as you alluded to book has been an area of greatest need. Was between -- circle and Jackson. And the project became so successful that we couldn't stop we had to go through multiple phases. And there are a lot of people that make a great project like that seeing but I came to saint Charles avenue when I was not on the board and they partnered with knee and because of their love for that avenue and wanting to make it wonderful. They they join with me and together. As after I became president and now today as my last day on the board and I'm rotating off and -- couldn't be happier. With what the saint Charles avenue association is done and what we've done for the city book 'cause it's a little thing but it says big things. It does and I wanna talk to the so you are still the president. As for another few well another thing that's. So you understood that the passion of -- like that isn't sure you have other members of your organization. And what led the way. But when -- first came to us. He. Instead he could felt he could raise the money and he just needed and -- organization behind me and supporting him and so it really his vision and it was a wonderful creation. Talked to that card does the president of the St. Joe -- association at that time was to late Bob cannon and he and I discussed it and we said sheer. You know this this -- as a lot of on the ball. We can support him and it really loose kids project with with the support of strange eleven association behind it. But -- knocked on an awful lot of abilities to raise that money this money didn't come from a couple of heavy hitters it's simply going Galindo the bill. And then on top of that when you plant 300 trees these trees we're not planning on a neutral ground there all planet. Between the sidewalk and the street. Which is public property but it's. Under the direction of the homeowner is that it bases that. And Taylor had business. Albeit on the business. In -- had to get the individual permission. Of every homeowner and -- for all business in front which. He planted trees so it was or like you know a real strong effort and and you still. Maintain them so you have to come up with money to maintain we have maintained them. Action for from the early eighties. And -- -- the subsidiary organization and nonprofit college say the oaks. And this raises money. In conjunction essential avenue association every year. To fertilize that the Thousand Oaks on St. -- that'll get fertilized every year get inspected. And in years to win but moth caterpillars this bad. They we we have a second as a decision that Thomas to whether or not they knee sprain and in those years we do a week. Arranged and those. Praise for the 300 -- planted or is it for all trees along sanction at all trees all of as fraudulent a lot of people think it's the city. You know handling -- and in fact that this is. I -- love of people. The love from people to say and and support themselves stay with us we're talking about saint Charles avenue of the grand streets of the world. And we're going to be talking about a phenomenal project him about the street car I'm Angela on WL. Well we have three wonderful people here who are representatives of the saint Charles avenue association. I think it's very important to note I'm just talking to them. That the majority of the members of the saint Charles avenue association do not live or work on saint Charles happen. And that of course it's all volunteer that that it's just the love of that avenue and the appreciation of it we've had a grand talk about. The work that's been done with the trees the planting of trees which to me that's the art of that street. And now we're gonna move on to. A great project to have about the street column which I did not know until I read this is the longest running continuously running street car in the world. Yes and the world. Best in the world. And not. The streetcar project and we started. It's been a project it's been going on for the last ten years is an arduous process and we are getting very close to happening. -- saint Charles avenue streetcar. Named a national historic landmark. They're only 53. National historic landmarks in the entire state of police began. It's like that could build -- -- -- -- the president tear. That the child abilities Jackson's career in the Garden District though is that the caliber. Of a landmark why is it important to have this distinction. Well and indeed don't forget the French Quarter itself as a national historic landmark. But it's so important this oldest operating streetcar. Operating since 1835. It's an iconic symbol of New Orleans that we project around the world. And everybody remembers in those dark days post-Katrina. Winning wasn't running. And win -- brought it back. -- and that and that articles on the front pages of papers around the United States talking about the street cars back it's it's a symbol of New Orleans. And it's a wonderful treasure for the entire city. And so and national historical landmark is the Nash is the highest historical honor that we give in the United States. On something today hit an important today history and culture of the United States. And the street car is just that and with the help of this administration. And our friends at RTA. We are set to have a vote on December 18. To make. The streetcar the saint Charles line and 54 in Louisiana and that is that is. In Washington they're checking account that's for us this -- has been a ten year project. Bennett then a ten year project. As he -- has been very arduous to get to this level. It -- we had to hire a major. Washington consulting firm call tracers. To develop. The documentation. That has to go before the National Park Service and ought to get this approved. And as has said we will go. They won't take it to. The National Park Service meeting on December 18. We fully expect there will be approved at that time. And if it is it'll bench to be -- the designation would be signed by the secretary of the interior in the spring of 2014. Who has been a long project to get it but. It's it's very it it's very important it'll give us immediate favorable. Nationwide press coverage. If the street cars named. National historic landmark would be great for new Rollins. And every article. Written in the future about the streetcar. Will mention that it is a national historic land law the only other. Movable national historic landmark is the San Francisco. Cable cars and will be one of two in the country that. Are actually movable. A moving. Historic landmarks. And I just have to say as a citizen. How much I appreciate effort by an association a group of people. That made up their mind this was important and have followed through raised the money and and it's gonna happen. It means a lot. We'll all also. It if you think back post-Katrina. But the few months after that without having any street cars running. Most anybody who lived on our new year. The avenue -- and tell you. The first time they heard us -- mystery car. Most don't get years to their eyes and talking -- now -- a very very special. It's a symbol of -- New Orleans is coming back better than ever I mean look around at finally we have the proverbial -- in this guy things are going on people all over the city in good fashion. Now is it happening overnight no. But his progress being made yes and look this is another great example of New Orleans being better than it's ever -- On that subject cranes in the -- I think that we always battle in this wonderful city sort of progress vs preservation. And -- -- organization and try to keep and maintain. Really that the rare beauty of that street and how do you do it. I think just. Working with developers. Working with people who are building. And we we do you have that constant tension between progress. And preservation. One area where we we just scored big victory was in -- day in saint Thomas Sally carriage house. Which is located right behind them now he's Goldstein state house that was really falling apart through -- We were able to preserve the Thomas -- house and it was dismantled piece by piece. And he's going to be rebuilt it in the process of being rebuilt by the wonderful artist -- starving day. That was the real victory for us we don't win them all but we work really hard. To maintain architectural. -- teach him a thank. My and we all remember. The fight between and rice and Copeland and again and again you -- and you lose some but it's and ultimately everybody gets along hopefully. We try. We -- progress really can go hand in hand with preservation yes sometimes. Mean look at the great work that -- gay guys over at the preservation resource center mean. Progress can be preservation and here's an example of the national historic landmark of the street car where progress and preservation go hand in hand. We think preservation is economic development. Let's see more. I think one of the great examples of progress and preservation on saint Charles avenue is the New Iberia bank building. Iberia bought a look a lot that had been collected over ground. Opt for many years and fate worked with us they brought us airplanes. Opt for this beautiful new bank that looks like a saint Charles avenue mansion. It's absolutely exquisite they've they've got a beautiful topic they worked with us about how far to be sent back how it should be like it. What -- architectural design was going to be. Well you can't ask more than that of a corporation. -- stay with us we're gonna continue our talk on saint Charles avenue but now let's go to the newsroom and chain erodes. And we've been talking with three members of the saint Charles avenue association about really some great things are happening. Both with the planting and today the final planting of trees along saint Charles for the next generation and the next. Also about the very good news of hopefully in a matter of weeks we will have a historic designation for the streetcar appropriate link. Now we gotta talk about what's happening with the lights Saturday night and drive announcing Charles avenue from Carrollton. And Laura I didn't -- count them. But I have to tell you I was appalled. At the but the darkness. Well yes there are parts of saint Charles avenue that are totally dark are no -- -- -- they are broke and aren't you missing. -- Our association has been getting phone calls from residents who really irate -- be calling the city. -- daily for two years and -- light bulbs and this is not rocket science isn't -- Michael Ball. I'm getting Ashley -- help we were getting postings on our FaceBook page please help us. So we decided to see what really was going on line. So our board members walked. In ten block area is from Jackson avenue to Carrollton avenue which is that the half forty. And we found. Some pretty appalling statistics. At the time from Carrollton to Broadway 70%. A polite to not work. I'm from Broadway Napoleon. 83%. Of the lights did not I did not work. There were -- missing. There were light standards that had fallen over these wonderful brought our standards that are a hundred years old. Leaning on the ground. We had one neighbor called to say. That when a light standard now. In front of her house she columnist for me and ask for them to come -- and they pick it up and tied to a tree and left it there for months. From Napoleon to Jackson on only eight lights were broken from jacked into Louisiana. On many with broken broken and fourteen network completely broken. I'm under 62 lights. What is released tells us if this is up to the public safety issue. It's also quality of life issue tourism. Issue on. It affects everything when you're driving down gorgeous streak at night and you can't see any. What is the response from the city of we'll get to it. Well we have really. Not had a great response. Now we've heard that they are building. Wired their -- wires. Under neat the grounds. Aren't we don't know when a light shall go on except that they will all be working by the year 2008. T. Are we going to be around 2008 -- and got to hope so passionate. And literally at what is it. I'm not talking about the ones that need to be re wired -- the most -- -- different but for heaven's sake you can't fix a -- or not apparently not it's tallies more. Complicated than it is in other cities where. Light bulb breaks it's replaced in a week. Mean this is basic city services that were before it's not rocket science and you know again and bush is well -- 40000 lights out. In the metro area that is by itself -- Not so why focus on one street because the street number one is a magical street that. It's got to be one of the most used within the city. By locals primarily certain like torch went into everything for tourists but why wouldn't you want that done that's the wonderful. Question and I think it's a question that. Neighbors all over the city are asking -- isn't just to saint Charles avenue problem where putting a real focus on it the kinds. We we value. We value our. Our lights we value our streak which started a campaign called real -- real fast. And we have created bumper stickers. On we and we will be. Giving them out tonight annual meeting and anyone who wants a free bumper sticker. But -- is easy to peel off I've tried them for a week I promised you and will peel -- easily. You could pick up a bumper sticker at the IBERIABANK. Saint Charles avenue and Louisiana. 3421. Saint Charles avenue he peaking at any time next week or so our -- we run out of these bumper stickers and where do you live on saint Charles avenue or not. If your neighborhood is hounding this -- problem and is that your 40000 lights on over the city. Please can get a bumper sticker and make your voice her. On that note we'll take another break we'll be right back and we'll continue our walk down saint Charles and financial under the to do what we are talking with three representatives of the saint Charles avenue association about some really exciting things that are happening. But also their continued concerns concerning lighting and it just I don't. Kind of lose my patience what I think about what needs to be done I know we're tight on money in this town but you prioritize all the time more we're inviting the world. To the city as we should for all the right reasons and we don't do the finishing touches and it just is is foolish not OK that said. What else are you hoping for this happen. One one thing and -- that we would like to see. -- her -- back up that. Saint Charles historic district which is overseen by the HD LC. This controls and demolition and new construction as well as any major renovations to residences -- building. And that currently exist from Jackson avenue to Janet street. And we would like in the state legislature passed the law allowing. The extension of that from Janet street to Carrollton avenue. And that would then preclude. Our eliminate the necessity of St. -- avenue association to fight. Every time enable wants to wants to do something for us to evaluate whether or not it's the right. Thing architecturally did do this historic district landmarks commission the HD LC has the expertise in that. And we have the support. That now hopefully it'll get through. The city but eighteen other neighborhood organizations at all but saint Charles avenue are also in support of extending. This historic district from Janet the Carrollton so that's something we'd really like to see done. One thing we really wanted to Angelo which we understand is now gonna happen is that so much of our streets in New Orleans have been repay it. And and as so many of them have been -- intensive saint Charles avenue has been repaid in Nashville. And we've learned that the administration is committed to you re paving the rest of saint Charles avenue definitely circle. Screen between 2014 and 2015. As the streetcar. Hi project to replace the guys comes to a conclusion. So that's an -- a great example of progress that would be wonderful for an avenue and that is gonna occur and and talk about the street Carta. Is there completion date on that. Some time in in it in 2014 is our understanding. And a great investment and it is and it and it's on the most important thing along saint Charles avenue streetcar so when name we shift right there from. Making streetcar line just right to making an avenue and the roadway just right which is a wonderful thing of progress we wanted. And we were talking you really don't don't have a lot of crime issues right now. Have in the past but now it's if you say no hot spots -- hot spots on and saint Charles avenue we're really grateful that he. In on just a very encouraged I think I'm encouraged because you have such great leadership. And I know that your annual meeting is tonight. And is that an opportunity for somebody again you don't have to live on central element to join we actually -- Had anyone who's interested in saint Charles sanity to come to me tonight it's at IBERIABANK 3421. Saint Charles avenue to 6 o'clock. If you're interested you can joint for twenty dollars a year what we really want. Is more businesses. To participate. In past you know this is the beer avenue Q. IBERIABANK has been phenomenal corporate citizen. A great neighbor and we're so grateful to have their support. But we'd like to see the restaurants shops the bars. Anyone who is on saint Charles Anthony to come be a corporate member. Voice your concerns. Given your support and we would do everything we can't make the -- cup do you make saint Charles avenue the best street in the world absolutely and there's there's. There's more power in numbers. Well we have 600 members right now and we love to see that number down double in the next few years. It again that as we've said it. The majority the vast majority of our members do not live or work on saint Charles avenue. And an awful lot of -- not even live work in the city of New Orleans to hail from out of state from really all over the country. And we welcome members. To saint Charles avenue associations. From anywhere anybody who cares about and once the assist in this support and improvement continued improvement of saint -- Lebanon. And as we speak about numbers you can't do that nine or ten year project the once every hundred year project to replay at saint Charles avenue. Without the committed support of people like Tony and Katherine Skelton and and Sydney and -- best off and garden study club. And the administration indeed and MacDonald the director of parks and part ways for this administration was our partner in this project to allow us to do it. So it numbers are important and it takes a lot of numbers to do a project like this. This that this is nothing more than citizen power. That's exactly what -- -- citizen power yes and if you'd like to join saint Charles avenue association. Send a check for twenty dollars for as much as you -- To saint Charles avenue association post office box 15833. New Orleans, Louisiana 70175. We would -- your support. We heard it here get ready everyone coming up shortly we'll announce the code word in the 1000 dollar. Nationwide holiday cash contest on WW well. We're talking about the great saint Charles avenue and interestingly what she resigns or is absolutely right it isn't just that it's dark at night but there issues during the day with not having appropriate lights. Yes how would encourage any -- listeners to. First ride down saint Charles avenue. Especially between Napoleon and -- count and avenues. Late at night when -- to see how dark it is but then also. During the daytime when you ride down and see how many lamppost. Are on the wires -- just dangling there. How many have been knocked down and and totally removed. Israeli and so and you think about all of the week he sometimes get used to that not pleasantly but we get used to it. But you think of all the terrorists that are visiting New Orleans for the first time and taken them prepare proverbial. Ride on the street car up the historic avenue then. -- -- -- -- And yeah it it looks awful it did all of better than that and I think that's the whole point and that you were commenting about. They are working on the wires they're working on re doing the raw wires to ultimately affects all of us I think some of the deferred maintenance from many past administrations is being addressed it just takes -- to -- -- and I am glad that there's there's an effort made navigated go in and I understand even that there's. A ten million dollars of community block grants have been dedicated to getting the lights on all over the city -- and that's what we need to hear that there is a plan. Still the weekend on a happy note it is good things happening the streets are going to be fixed. And the money there which is great. The streetcar is gonna make it to that beautiful. Designation historical designation. And you'll planned at the lot telling about planning the last three trees to the police to ten year project. And together this morning. When John Denton and the guy you crew planted three trees live oak trees -- determine -- of the streetcar line. And so we've planted more than 315. New -- folks along the way and there on the line and it's a great way to wrap up. Bobby and and now in my tenure on the board as we roll -- that tonight. Like I can gradually you know I truly congratulate you. And Laura thank you for everything you've done to help pull all this together but I think people should just feel good we feel better about our city and feel better about one of the magical streets in the world. That we happen to have so I thank you very very much for being here.