WWL>Topics>>12-4-13 3:10pm Angela: on Gentilly

12-4-13 3:10pm Angela: on Gentilly

Dec 4, 2013|

Angela gets an update on all things Gentilly with Leslie Bouie and Dalton Savwoir of the Gentilly Civic Improvement Association and Nick Kendle of the New Orleans Citizens Project.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Well each week we get to -- neighborhood better in our on the front porch segment and today we go to -- until. A much beloved neighborhood that was hit hard by Katrina. But as we have had in the past we have three -- residents who were like warriors and their efforts to return their neighborhood. Back to the way it once and perhaps even better -- bullied as president of the gentility terrorists and gardens improvement association. She has retired from shell is an organizational. Effectiveness consultant. Dalton -- our junior is president of the John -- civic improvement association. And as a member of the gentility terrorists and gardens improvement association he was public information officer of Orleans parish district attorney's office under four different. District attorneys and today is working at Ben Franklin elementary school. And -- Kendall who for the last three years has worked for a committee for a better New Orleans as a citizen participation project manager. Working with -- neighborhoods. As they addressed issues at City Hall someone -- welcome all three of you -- thing and as we have in the past for people who really don't know. A much about your neighborhood maybe they drive through but they don't know give us a sense if you would. Literally the perimeters what what are the borders of what makes -- to. You know that was one of the things Angela first of all thank you for inviting us on. And when we were talking yesterday in preparation for this that's one of the things that. Is always up for discussion so what are the boundaries -- -- -- so we like to think governors is going from the linked to 610. And then from bayou Saint John to the -- now so that's what we consider gentility it's it's somewhat. Aligns with. Planning district six. You know but when you think about it to the -- about I just can't thank you enough -- given us an opportunity to come on. To talk about this neighborhood that is so dear to our hearts -- we just love it in their forty years over forty years down's been there. All of his life and I think -- I've only been working there for about the past three years but I have loved working with the people until until he graded -- so much about it that that that we Italian. That we could share and I always brag to my neighbors. And my friends who don't -- engine -- And say where the only neighborhood that has stage at Jazz Fest and -- We have our own signature cocktails Mitchell agent Chile which is a combination of of eliminated champagne. We have the gently festival which is great. Service that we provide to. The first responders and the community. We have great architecture we have universities and in just a diverse neighborhood of people it's it's just a great place. And one has made it suspects. Dalton that you -- your entire life. Well again I think in the friends over. On WW. Radio. I have been a lifelong resident of -- I was so raised on -- street went off of 610 and it is infield before six and got there. We thought for sure who's gonna get past humanity's street and and take registry so it was -- to move into the lake front and at that point 1960. No -- in the real fortunate to -- one look at it we were able to stay. Onto as a student and then. Housed within two into a graduate from single high school and 68. Then now I -- -- -- that went to school Chicago Boston came back to New Orleans and I want to do you know please know that until until. So before that matter of the first time I should say we've moved until park. And then on my second marriage. We moved over to onto to -- terrorists and -- been a member. Potentially terrorist group and also the -- of -- association since 2008. It's just a sense of neighborhood. Then makes it special and it really is it's. And you know when you when I got the invitation to come on the show entering his seventh during a couple of people with me. Ideally I would advance 22 people to come with me because we actually have 22 different neighborhood associations. Engines silly but we also have an umbrella organization which is the gentility civic. Improvement association of which -- the president says he was a natural -- -- we have to bring adults and because he knows so much on all the other neighborhoods of gentility and of course -- who with his work and in helping us to organize and to be an effective. Umbrella organization of how to communicate among child. Onto that and tap into it's it's her and get your background is urban planning. Yes innocent so you come here and you look at at the neighborhood in the participants in it and just weaves them together. Yeah and I think you're gentility there's like. Individuals that just so proud of their neighborhood organizations and they're proud to be part of a single family residential community. And you know I think that's when the things that makes a potentially very unique and if you look at the demographics of gentility it's almost like a microcosm of New Orleans it's really. A mix of black and white and and it's amazing how well you all these groups get together and work together on non common issues what is the popular what was the population prior to the storm and now. And now. That's a question now haven't they answered to wanna say it was about like 40000. Prior to the storm. I'm not sure of the latest figures. May be like 3235000. Will. -- to what we saw recently on we dose of about 40000. On -- that Clinton took it upon a vote on tomorrow 4000. Black African Americans and about 101000 points and gentlemen right now. As a problem the 2010 census. And though we really feel that diversity is one of the strongest. Positives and engines and Hillary because everyone is welcome. And nobody has a preconceived notion in terms of blog you know with a two film not and and and when people similar to neighborhood they used to stay there because it's. Full of single family homes. I always say is the best quality of life because it's close to and you'll at least fifteen minutes we've come -- you wanna go Lucy Lawless. Fifteen minutes away from from the wounds these pistons away from downtown the fifteen minutes away from memories so you can beat them in terms -- album. No -- cannot -- -- here and often will have -- call -- sometimes the best kept secret some of our neighborhoods because will have ever neighborhood associations. We'll invite speakers you know from other parts of the city to common share and talk about some of the things that. They're involved in NR and efforts to continue to learn and grow. And they'll come in and they'll they'll look around the neighborhood and say well gosh I didn't even realize. This neighborhood existence how long has this been here. And in the civil PC architecture it's gotta have been here a long time. So you know it's it's interesting it's always fun to show up our neighborhood and surprise our gas with just how great -- -- We'll stay with -- was we're gonna continue this conversation. About -- -- and the issues you're still battling and then some of the big victories right after this financial under the W. Well you sure get a sense from our three guests the gentility is a very special place both historically and an even today as it battles its way back. Many people lost everything and some are lucky living on that region didn't get any water which is great. But it was almost like where do you begin. And how do you bring that neighborhood back -- get the people back. And sort of if you can talk on those efforts. You know I think -- Does this. Katrina wasn't a good thing obviously -- it was a horrible thing. But one of the unintended benefits of Katrina is that neighborhoods in neighbors came together like never before. To fight full line. Coming back to fight for. There ability to rebuild their homes and not become green spots to fight for their ability to. To get the funding and that they needed to rebuild their homes. And so when I talked about the early of those 22 neighborhood associations. Along of that strength came from. The ability of those neighbors those those long term residents of gentility to come back and fight for what was -- as they they were they when not going to become. A statistic or something that you would see in a museum years from now on people would say well what does that all that's. Person I used to live engine chilly there at the museum now because gentility is gone. But everybody did fight to come back and that is the strength of those neighborhoods think. Actually made it work it wasn't easy they are still. Houses in gentility that are empty. -- -- we have the -- home you know we have blight we have some houses that are owned by the rolled home an interestingly enough. -- whenever they have an auction and they do a good job of identifying. Appropriate homes to put in there auctions whether they be. Homes in need of that -- have already -- in need of repairs are a lot. It's interesting thing is the homes in gentility and lots engine -- generally sell. So it's not like you -- this inventory of properties at a turning over repeatedly. You know I don't know what the percentages because I've never asked but I would be willing to bet that a lot of those sound -- our percentages. And -- -- higher than in some of the other neighborhoods. That we've heard about. And so and I think that the reason for that is because. -- -- personal it's a pretty place but you know it's it it could be referred to as the downtown of uptown you know we have. A -- feels avenues. Pregnancy only if Franklin Saint Anthony although the o'clock oak line. Oak tree lined streets really pretty neighborhood's pretty streets. And the other thing about it is so affordable. So as a -- few taps out. You know with all of them they're building there in his mid city tap cell with all their redevelopment the younger urban. Professionals with families and children are now looking more -- in Chile and there are quite surprised it with a fine. They fine of really great architecture. They find big lots with the off street parking if -- wide streets you know wide avenues. It's really so we're we're seeing a lot of that. Interest you know we're seeing a lot of the influx of -- -- -- I'm very very good no it's huge congressman and each. Asked neck. You work as sort of a liaison with City Hall yet helping them to. On the issue of polite because every neighborhood -- has faced that and how is it received I mean do you get a a good response and this means to be taken care of. I mean certainly it's something city does want to address and it's definitely something in the neighborhood associations are fighting very hard to address. And it depends on the part of gentility as far as how big an issue blade is because some of the neighborhoods were hit much harder than others settled gentility terrace neighborhood which is close right there on the gently ribs. What's and hit quite as hard and has recovered much quicker. And has probably almost entirely back. But other neighborhoods that are closer to the lake front like -- Ebert Seabrook a par Burbank gardens they were hit very hard. And are still really trying to recover from brought -- So the city is. Working to address played but you know -- the problem citywide and so it's happening gurneys and -- Yet it's happening very slowly and with some of the people I've worked with -- they've been reporting the same house for years and years and years. And still hoping to get that addressed. But it. Plates also being addressed sort of outside of City Hall so there's a number of nonprofit organizations who are helping people rebuild and address plight. So there's like project home again project homecoming Saint Bernard project. Yes and other organizations that are out there in the community working with residents to rebuild homes and I think it's done a lot to help address the -- -- is that I was gonna say this as sort of a catch 22 engine to a because we want to eliminate blight. But we don't want a -- homestead now so we work with the preservation resource center you know -- -- she. Provides resource -- to us to help us to. You know preserve the properties that are up for demolition we wanna preserve them so we. We try to keep them and encourage investors to come in the -- has -- -- what about the but -- ever everything from drugstores grocery stores banks have they returned. Let me tell you this -- into this -- don't sell -- again. Com I'll appoint all those who says that a lot of new missiles used as well formed as a result of trying to come back and trying to fight to come back. -- saved into the civic association was formed. Harris was meeting in December of 2005. For the very reason the reason that we hit -- depend upon each other and upon neighborhoods and come back. We didn't get any helpful in City Hall -- getting help from insurance companies and that is still flooding. Excessive. Coleman seems to functions battles so this is a definite residential problem we have now noncombat. Number two. Says TC has been for we've been known to be named to organize now potentially -- The Clinton was so she's a she talks about all are part of the into the city of -- association decently. And with that in mind we are now making shots because we can come back as collectively to fight the battles that lead to the real face. Certainly don't want to mention is that. When I don't know what my wife of one dollar recent policy enter into the -- we will -- Because we do we live when that -- The agents of the ridge but we know we both lost houses lived in and we'll talk for instance being told to -- and talk. She does what effect around to have fun from six feet one Rome we'll just looking to find a good area. -- him to do to to purchase a home in 2004. Which was exactly nine months before the storm hit. Who just lucky but I can tell you how many neighbors. Had just lost everything has come back and own so it was it was a good can come to come together not a form of association and we can just isn't musicians collectively. Stay with us we're gonna continue talking about some of the issues -- facing today. But now let's go to the newsroom and on names. -- bully Dalton said mark and nick cancel our guest talking about gin chilly and it's recovery from Katrina kind of where they are right now. Let's talk about. Streets. Potholes. Lights. And every time we've done neighborhood this has been. The battle. And it's still about its collateral. You know we had a lot of work done in gentility. With the path to progress program. So Franklin avenue was repaint deletion -- was -- feel -- it was me me I think all the way to was on lately. A lot of them in Britain which patent street -- supposed to answer yeah it -- and gentlemen. But so those are the main you know streets obviously and it's helpful because they have a good traffic flow and it it helps. But once you go off those main streets like in the neighborhood streets and the side streets my gosh it's a mess right communism or we are prime interest alien and I have to admit. Some of those streets were in deplorable condition before Katrina. So it's not as if you know this region right give them on Katrina it was fair to civil all say you know what we have a game plan. Okay has. -- City Hall they have done a really good job getting more money from FEMA to fix some of the roads damaged you know from Katrina but the problem like Leslie said was. The other road condition for terrible way before Katrina so. That money -- getting from team that's kind of a drop in the bucket at the big problem. I'm not sure exactly what the number is but it's -- multiple billions of dollars to. Would be to kind of take every road -- -- it to how it should be. And then -- One -- thing Dalton but it's the one thing is the C really hasn't allocated too much money for maintenance of street lights and roads and unfortunately I was just reading a report that was issued last week that says that the city probably doesn't have money for the rest a year to fix street lights and -- And so you know that that is the heartbreak and I keep harping on this but it's important on many levels as of crime fighting issue and just a sense of well being. Whole strip of saint Charles avenue was out whole strip of Claiborne -- -- whole strip of general de -- is how he introduces. When you. If you talk to the city officials to mayor and a City Council people. They'll tell you that the FEMA money was a drop in the bucket. But that the streets on especially the major stories Omaha state owned by the federal government -- upon the I attend on court kind of thing. And and that they have no money is of the unions and those funds and specific for those streets could go to prepare stuff. But I remember last year when we went to the mayor's budget. Meeting -- whatever ends the director of public works was at one of the meetings and he said. We have all of this money and we gonna pay we have this -- to progress program. And we gonna fix all these streets so I was all excited as I was FEMA money so I raised my hand a -- great that means you can use your normal public works budget. And fix some of the back streets. And I got this blank stamp and he said well no since we have the FEMA money went out of hand any. You know just normal public parks budget the SE issue -- -- sense of just kind of took that money away. From public works that they would have used to fix just the normal street repairs and relied solely it was my descending on the FEMA money to fix that the major streets. Yeah and with regards to street lights the city of the bunch of community development block grant funds -- street lights. But those can only be used for capital projects so if they need to do major repair to a street late. They have money to do that but if they just need to change a lightbulb that you don't have money to do any of those repairs they allocated I think. Maybe 50000 dollars in the budget for street -- repair for just the general maintenance. So there are some very old street lights that need major sophisticated work or not just the light bulb and I think we all understand that. But it shouldn't I'm just not getting a sense it's prioritized. And I think when people certainly local and Antonio visitors took. You think what is the matter and just so darn I hate to drop that that's like low hanging fruit that's table stakes -- just gets in the game you have to have lights. He have to have good streets and then you build from there but it. You know it just amazes me that you know just the simple things just simple things and -- good streets -- and street life is street lights it would just psychologically. It helpless as well yeah and the dispute about Entergy and and what part does and is -- responsible for. Vs the city and how much is you know. Well that's why that's why we have city government to figure those things don't I don't mean nomination but. Let them do it that but by golly it are they figuring it out -- that's my that's my problem is not. We'll let me just say to this is election year so don't be fooled. OK you'll see a lot of progress on streets you'll see a lot of progress on things like them on the boy's home. You'll see that interview was shopping center you know funny mean demolished even though they had monies in in the budget over the city food for years and years and years. This is an election year cycle. Audience so don't be for the what was going on now. Our question is what's gonna happen after 2014 intends on these projects that you'll have distorted and then you'll see over of them wanted to finish it. Convenience and drama Ronald you know I like to visit other neighborhoods -- to visit the city period. And I go uptown SC magazine street beautiful you know well that. A pedestrian corridors. So -- now for rent streets as the new magazine street with there -- wonderful -- -- pedestrian corridors women and and most of those are fueled by university climates. You know sees value in knowing that I mean Tulane -- -- Loyola. Town and sit it out. But then when you look at gentility we've got you know senator -- the Baptist theological seminary. So we've got four universities but we have not been able to generate that. That pedestrian corridor -- people friendly. Where you can walk and visit a restaurant him a class a line. You know this is a coffee shop know what we got yesterday was. Reinforcement of a mandates. Not Hannity. Alcohol permits a way to describe the more the moratorium -- -- yesterday so that's why a City Council and you know I think things like that Angela tend to be. -- punitive. Then there unconstitutional. I think they interfere with. The ability for for small businesses they're free enterprise small businesses hire people. -- crime is associated with the inability to get a job small businesses hire people. You bring handsome and superb point gonna take another break and come back over to pick it up there imminent talk about. What you're civic groups can do to kind of storm City Hall took her to get those small business is going more to come. We'll be right back. We're talking with really three people who cares tremendously about their main engine -- And I'm listening to them really talk about how they envision it. And some of the sort of roadblock you're hitting is that you you need more small business. Unique and jobs -- issue. So you're kind of feeling frustrated. Not gonna put words in your mouth but that's. Maybe City Hall isn't cooperating with that. Philosophy. Cooperating with that philosophy I think just systemically. -- code enforcement laws in some instances. On to -- their prohibitive. So as an example and sometimes communities plan to that is well so you have a little shop say it's on corner and be. And the owner wants to open cupcakes. Do open it. When you have people that will say no don't open -- cupcake shop because of details. Next it'll be a gunshot. So it's like they're punishing the cupcake shop owner for fear of what may come next. So the question becomes how we change our zoning laws to to not be allowed to grandfather in. Something that's call so if it was commercial for a cupcake shop. And the coffee shop fails then it's not commercials anymore. The next commercial -- order of business owner has to come with a new -- and say OK I like it to be commercial but I -- opened a coffee -- fine. If that fails next owner would say I -- have its own commercial. I wanna open a -- shop and I'm saying all very positive things because. You just don't know what would happen if you were alive if you allow free enterprise to be free who knows what could happen. Talk to us if you will because you're our urban planner expert. Yet so. -- gentility it's kind of more of a suburban community it was mostly developed with the exception of -- -- and guards after World War II meals so. As a result you have a lot of kind of division between the residential. Portions and the commercial portions so it's not quite the same in uptown because you know it's a lot more mixed there so I think that's part of the issue. And another part of the issue like -- was saying is there is kind of a lot of fear of certain businesses and unfortunately. That. Well fortunately keeps a lot of bad businesses out but it also stopped a lot of good distances from opening up. And so it is kind of a challenge dealing with that as like urban planning issue because. You can't really distinguish between a good cupcake shop in bad cupcakes up hello I don't really know what about -- excess would be lunged at -- concern right yeah. Let's talk about crime. Is it a big issue intentionally. Well -- as -- to chime in on that topic because I really believe that caused entirely on mole on that decree known as the -- want to. There's been increased crime activity in intentionally especially when you look at I was like sergeant who was punched him talk. Well it's great to have you know on. Deal Wal-Mart shopping center of the -- there. But as you well know. You know petty crime and harms of all of all kinds of things with the -- on Ron who would it was gonna increase also and I wanna know. If you won't want are people gonna be responsible for patrolling the area not just a shopping collects. But also those people down -- shopping over the city hasn't meant -- -- to -- department too much of petroleum have been a -- -- they don't feel on the ground to make sure thousands policy for people who Sharpton. I think that's -- -- of that has not been addressed by anybody and I would like to see something like that you know be addressed head of the shopping center being built. You know talking about the you have a great commander of their your district Brian and our allies PS John -- -- -- Kosuke and Patrick Smith. Three excellent individuals to work with and I just wonder a conversation with them. Just saying this is our concern. You know financial and we've never gotten a no from those three men I don't think we've ever done and now. The question becomes for them is do they have enough resources and do they have the manpower. To do everything that we would like to see them do more visibility you know we ask about crime in gentility we had the dubious distinction. In gentility terrorists. Of having the first murder of 2014 men in the corner of drew and humility on the street when you know thirteen 203000002013. And then -- what is about two or three weeks ago. We -- two -- three other instances where a young man was killed to a Q and it's it's not constant. You know it's not. Crime all the time but it's one. Instance where it happens and there's something other house that happens that seems to be related to it and then it just like it goes away. Because we have you know the NO PD in our meetings every one month they bring the crime maps we look at it we have a -- so little petty things like car thefts and you know tombs of lawnmowers and -- that isn't that but the major you know the big crimes we generally don't handle that but. You know it's all it's it's it's no different from the rest of the city now you know is now freeway and we need most is not a constant -- gentility. It's not constant -- it it will be quite as it happens. But we've been talking about a beautiful neighborhood -- that's fighting the good fight. Some great leadership and -- lest we believed all conceptualize. And canceling your final thoughts. I would. I would just like to invite anybody who hasn't to a -- Italy recently. To cover -- drive through -- and it's like. You know gain an appreciation for -- of architecture for the people for the Evans. Time and Bible and available yet and violence -- believe that great homes and and then closing I would like to say things to -- down so well for joining me. You -- who represented gentility and civic improvement. It I would really like to saint nick Kendall is mixed in with us from the beginning. As we try to rebuild and as we tried to. As as we became a model. -- thank you all so much now --