Dec 11, 2013|
ON THE FRONT PORCH—this week we’re talking Algiers—Algiers Point is New Orleans 2nd oldest neighborhood. What tops their list of concerns? Crime, blight, a ferry that’s still not operating and quality of life issues…all they want is a neighborhood that’s a safe & pleasant place to live & visit.
We're discussing the hot topics of the day with co-host of First Take, Todd Menesses.
Angela discusses the shooting in Lafayette and says farewell to WWL as she hands her timeslot off to Scoot.
What's trending in sports, news, and entertainment?
Angela talks with WWL-TV investigative reporter Katie Moore and Tulane law professor Tania Tetlow about the city's backlog of uninvestigated rape cases.
Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)
Well I appreciate usual listening to our whole hour on hunger I think it's something we need to talk about in this area and if not this nation. And clearly the second harvest food bank -- an incredible job intimate to learn that they every month are struggling to get funds. So if you have anything to donate what their big money and -- hopefully you heard what he said. They will take your canned goods and appreciate it. But if you were gonna spend twenty dollars in Hershey store in canned goods send them the top money and they can make like five times that amount -- it. So again good people doing good things. Now all we are gonna visit with another neighborhood this hour from our on the -- segment. Today we're going to the West Bank to Algiers point neighborhood to get to know who they are and what their concerns are. And what makes their neighborhoods special. Joining us is skipped -- president of the Algiers point neighborhood association. Skip Gallagher president of the out no he isn't he's a board member of the Algiers point association. And he's a man who led the charge against the bridge tolls we gotta talk. And how there is a par -- With confetti kids a neighborhood organization I'm really looking forward to hearing about that is well thank you for coming and I love the segment because I love. I love this area and our. All of our areas made up of neighborhoods so this is an opportunity to get to know each other and neighborhoods so I went -- to start out by telling me. What are the parameters of your neighborhood what makes Algiers point. Well the the defining boundaries of Algiers point bar. The river on two sides where you know makes have been in the Mississippi. And then it's also bound by Newton street. Upper river and then down river is founded by Atlantic. -- with the population news. The current population about your point I think is. Six or 8000 somewhere in that -- is about 2000 households. -- Have you all live there forever. Well -- my wife and I moved back after Katrina and and you know settled back in Algiers point she and her family grew up in Algiers point for generations they lived there. Which you finding quite a few homes in Algiers point there there's a big contingent of people who live there for generations. And also there -- a lot of people that are that are newcomers as well. I've been there a sense. 2001. Rented her a couple years loved my neighbor so much 52 in 2004. And their route sixteen years somewhere in that area while I mean think about it. I love to hear that I loved my neighbors to make such a difference when you when you love your neighbors. In get over anything -- to love you neighbors okay. Tell me in your own words what is it that makes it special. Well. Of course is a beautiful beautiful all the time in New Orleans neighborhood and in fact Algiers point it is almost as -- -- the French Quarter on the other side. So. You know there's a great collection of old architectural terms over there. You know also the diversity in neighborhood I I really appreciate there's a great collection of people like -- sort of been -- for generations and then quite a few people. Who and just moved into the neighborhood. I love it there we have children. There are a lot of people with young families there there are some wonderful parks and also I think like -- said I think everybody in deploy military who have their neighbors. Nice. It's easy enough to you move around in the point a lot of people I think. Two minutes is really comfortable place everything's pretty close to walk through it and it's quiet. So -- you want craziness. Here cross a river in your Mardi Gras and it's chaos and then a few minutes later your home and it's quiet and it's really pleasant. There's a lot of young families and kids. And boy out I love my neighbors except when they tell me that my shirt won't work and I need to go up. But other than that they're pretty nice this is. This is a man who walked in the radio stations that I should have morning jacket it's cult is -- cook I found out later on today was cold. Yeah he'll look great wolf thanks okay. Heather. They see the neighbors are determined to help you really don't want to -- out -- and senator Sam I have a big again for me I've lived in lots of different parts of the city and and I love the mall for different reasons but. I have never ever been so close to my neighbors I've just everyone is so friendly we all. That's stick up for each other room we need to we stay out of each other's way when we need to it's just it's like having another family. It is I agree with the very wall workable area but not such a pleasure. Now I think of I think there may something over sixty countries 49 states. And I keep coming back here and I love it here. It is so unusual and unique and I've been to so many cities in the United States that just don't have the character. And then when you're looking for neighbor -- asserts there's more than a few really great neighborhoods and -- but I ended up and Alan first because I had some friends that live there. And once I. Start walking around there so I've got to stay home bound jumper to Wednesday. Did Muster much damage at Katrina. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Some places are and I think -- dipped down to five feet in some areas but most it's all above sea level so. It's pretty high I think some of the damage that I saw which was more than the structural damage is that we lost some neighbors. That just their jobs moved out and Orleans and we lost them and I still miss some of those folks. But she had new ones movement. You know bid but it takes a few years to get to know folks again and you're right they're great people again and most state. So you know people on there's lots of people that you've known for. That decade or more. So you're right but boy there's a few of them African coax them back and talk to their companies and you know get -- expect. There. But what's nice also I think about Algiers point is it it's a real neighborhood feel. But you have the various bars and haunts and activities there which makes it very nice blues and do things on the Levy which makes. You know last week and we had. The bonfire move. And holidays on a point which has been a tradition now for I think 67 years. Something like that holidays on the -- seven years -- gets all the neighborhoods. All the neighborhood businesses. Sponsor events that all their establishments and he usually culminates in the concert and then Rihanna concert. Before the proceeding the bonfire last weekend. And it it's just one of those great activities -- neighborhood where all the justices. To great collection of people great collection of food the music is wonderful. You know and it's a -- just a great setting an ex -- we have the best we have the best view of New Orleans from Algiers point. Here had a great promissory to bend in the river and now we've got all the green space in the in the levees paved on the outside its regret this great. -- of addition park addition there. That it's been a recent new addition in the neighborhoods it's just you know added to one of the great futures over there. They're talking about Algiers point and we have with the sun three people who love where they lived skip stander skip Gallagher. And Heather as a party. And now let's talk about because I think anybody -- been to Algiers point who knows there really is very special. And I love to which he said. -- we don't think about those terms we look at the French Quarter is being very very old which it is but Algiers point isn't too much behind. -- or you know just location wise and in settling. Let's look at today's issues ago as we've talked with every neighborhood. You have issues of polite. And how that's being handled. We attack those really early on after Katrina in particular. As we had issues like Albany original plate prior to Katrina and Katrina aggravated those. Properties that were left abandoned for years suddenly faced pretty difficult winds rain and and they didn't farewell. And we approach that afterwards and looked particularly properties have already by him before the storm and then after. And push forward on the -- processes city had a -- process. So we were a little lucky that many of the buildings that were blighted neighborhood were attacked her early but because neighbors got involved and so I'm tired of living exodus. When neighbor talked to me about a proper uses you know just after Katrina. He said I've lived with his derelict property for twenty years and can you help and that's where the neighborhood could help cut togethers or group. And went forward on these properties and what did you do we we had we made sure that neighbors attended the -- meetings and testified. And when they did that it's very difficult for a judge to look and paper in the I think core group of neighbors and went to one just last month. And it was 77. Neighbors there. That testified that. It's very difficult I think for the judge to look at that -- well no one cares or. We'll let the owner continue on for another three or six months or year or longer which in many cases happens. So it makes a big difference -- these hearings if you care you've got to go to hearings and you can always drama open neighbor to neighbor to do. If they can't make it because -- from the middle of the day -- that are so letters entered into. Vacation and what happens is torn down is -- the one we just testified against who was torn to the ground to was it two weeks ago. Two weeks ago sort of ground by the owners so it's gone and we've been living with that since Katrina. So I'm just. Always curious about what the mentality is -- someone who will who is the owner who won't allow it to go in such disrepair and really being very disrespectful. And neighbors. There's some good and I think is different combination of factors that led to a in this case that. Banks ended up with property whose mortgage and the banks and an open in the banks are slow to act. And until they were faced with city action to banks I think we're not gonna take any action. So if we did not push that into the -- process and then. The neighbors on their I think it would have set for many years more on the banks decided. What to do with it. And rats would arrive and we've had issues just like that -- he's showing up in the building rats. We had. Some homeless living in the building which was quite dangerous because it wasn't on holding it up any longer. So we had a number of issues like that and we were man we managed to approach it in a very coherent way and a board meetings. And I think it helped. Other neighbors. We shared this information how to do this. With other neighborhoods. And I think they've had some success but it really relies on quite -- neighborhood. An -- -- sort of groups going and saying look I can't make them meeting can you can you get a couple of. The neighborhood chartered. Charted. Where you know where that spots are that need help. Yes. Yes skips. Skipped -- as captain up today. Map that lists every blighted property in our vicinity. And has it has included all details for relative to the case is on all those properties and really takes people like skip and to make sure that your neighborhood. Remains. Remains. Safer vibrant community and we have a lot of people in our neighborhood that really are on their toes about making sure that the -- You know issues are dealt with in a timely manner finding problems addressing problems and really being proactive about keeping our neighborhood. The great places it is. Real -- neighbors to almost adopt that blighted property is there. Own personal way to improve the neighborhood and then they inform neighbors when something is occurring what's happening. And that is really helped if one person adoption that then forms others. It makes it much much easier and we have a neighbor that does that so there's not like somebody that's happening the effort there's a bunch of small fish if you will. Happening their individual effort and then the other fish gather to say okay we need to come together just like this meeting a month ago. Where six people show up at the hearing I think that's very rare closed meetings are held in -- small room and pulls more chairs and they -- world people came from. And it's with short -- that building's content system I mean it's taking charge. It makes a difference it makes a difference if your neighbor doesn't care and on shows up. And it may not be that your -- doesn't care sometime -- can be informed and it is difficult you've got to figure out a way to get out of launch or work curbs on them. And that's not convenient -- the end of the day you're gonna make that time. -- do you have good relationships at City Hall. As an organization have you had to go to them -- we have X problem. We've done it for years and I absolutely I think skip standard. Has there compete he got a great relationship with the city count park City Council member Christa Paul or. And with the commander of our district when we have crime issues and all moderates seem to have them. So and certainly I did in the past. So I still attend them monthly meeting on crime for the area let's talk about crime. And what has happened. In the last several years. Well. Because were. Almost a peninsula word. I think isolated from a lot of a lot of crime in the city however. We certainly do have our share of crime. At the moment our crime statistics for some of the lowest and of any neighborhood in in New Orleans. And a lot of that is because we've been proactive about crime issues in our neighborhood. Algiers point association has. Through really begun to skip Keller has. Started a -- program program. And we have been using to a large degree the project Nolan crime camera systems to. Monitor you know -- -- were problems and we've had great response from mean and we have some you know a hundred crime cameras in our neighborhood now open and it's made a huge impact. On. You know the amount of crime -- neighborhood. And people know now you know at our neighborhood is protected and you know somebody you -- stuff goes somewhere else you know -- a sudden. And it's it's helped him in a very direct way when somebody is committed a crime and his caught on video which we've had a number of cases that just that's happened. Well particularly nice case which I think occurred on your block these two cameras caught. On Heather's blog two cameras caught -- breaking into -- car actually I think is next block over two cameras caught somebody breaking into a car nine cameras folder and home and a camera caught him gone in this house. Happened on Wednesday and Thursday was arrested. He had a long criminal record his cousin three months later did the same thing was also arrested and -- in jail now and what they had face was videotape. Of the crime of them walking home of them going home. And it it didn't work out well. Did it I knew the police are often concerned about people will they testify against criminal. In the case where they're faced with video it's. Tough for them to warm and that. So maybe they're sending a message. The cousin didn't get it soon enough but all they've they're all watching. And I think we're seeing longer times in jail but it plea bargains I think are reduced. And so these folks the we had one quite awhile ago. And elderly man who'd been stealing for years and years and he -- on camera and churn -- he's gone for us from his life. It was his last chance. And he'd been stealing for three decades. But oh my -- took the cameras to finally nail him he was he was caught on to cameras and really really short footage. And it was all over for him. And that cut in most of his crimes were petty crimes that -- been committing stealing -- lawn mowers weed eaters but those. You hate to get up go -- -- -- and we're not there it's not there well it's also yours. Well that seems like that's who should be the case. It's our day to meet our neighbors who were talking about a beautiful neighborhood Algiers point with -- skip stander. Skip Gallagher and Heather. As a Perry -- -- -- talkie will -- you have this wonderful organization very clever kids. Feeding in -- that Bryant and confetti -- sudden. Talked to okay. It was actually started by the now councilman and Kristin Palmer. And Jackie Clarkson helped to they pretty much restored to. Major active recreation parks in Algiers point. And I've been on the board since 2008. More volunteer group. We he. Do the things that the city is unable to you mean they do basic maintenance they -- For the most part they pick up trash -- collect trash but other things. Keeping the equipment been -- I think we we we contact the city on certain things that we improve areas like. Marching an area that just broke ass anymore. And and we hell hold events for Algiers point and old Algiers in Algiers and and we've become pretty popular people even from these -- come to our events some Easter egg hunts Halloween parties. All sorts of different things sporting events just reinforces. Neighborhoods yeah it brings us together it brings -- families together. One of the parks. When it was started. As a nonprofit the confetti kids. They got a beautiful fence built around its its iron. Piece of art to it it's quite amazing. But what it does is it it allows you to actually. Relax and have your kids play and you're not worried about the running in the street and so parents get to talk to each other and you know share. On some of their concerns and some of their joy -- while their kids are having a wonderful time. It is Al teacher's point that can self contained and that it has a grocery storm dry cleaners. Since the we've had a dry cleaners for a long time and we had a cafe for quite some time. And we more recently got a small grocery store. It's more of a corner strip but it does carry your real basic groceries you know produce things like and the guys they're really nice if you asked them to carry something they will. So we just got that and then we're not too far what do you know driving distance from other places we are hoping that federal city the city will have a grocery store -- -- Does anybody know the status of that. It has -- content confusing. It started out with a bang and then than just what happened. I think there's some bills to pay and people are fighting over -- -- Hulu to -- well that isn't an Algiers point. But that's -- -- that's another whole show I think we'll look forward to. It does seem to be growing in any sort of organic way. Whoever it hasn't gone that bolstered Marines moved in there it seems to now be growing in a more organic way and so I think it's going to be successful. And on any doubt about that. But I think a couple of years now you're asked what's going on -- gonna have this image that it's different than it was a year ago and it's and there's more there and is more services and more people. Now I think it's changing but very slowly at least that's from my point. I made a big mistake and in introducing him and I said you were saying -- A person who fought against the tells yes you were fighting for the -- -- did did I know it is an Algiers point but it leads to Algiers point so we have to talk about it yet. -- believed strongly that to we should've kept tolls and so that we -- -- the police. -- yes that's one of my biggest concerns was that -- getting over the bridge in the morning which I use every morning. Is that the police were responsible in the past for clearing those wrecks and they were very good and very prompt about doing that. And we had 29 officers patrolling about thirteen miles roadway. Since the tolls have been removed were now down to seventeen officers -- incorporated and Louisiana state patrol. And they only patrol essentially the one mile around the bridge so the rest has been defaulted either to Jefferson Parish Orleans parish. Which means they have to call a car up to the roadway to remove Iraq. Which would explain some of the times so sometimes you're gonna go through and Iraq's you can fly right through other times wrote it's going to be a long way. I have to leave work a half hour early earlier than I used to to ensure I -- particularly -- And it's not an option. And that's what I'm concerned as it will produce even more officers and I've been told that some of them will be. So it's my concern it's coming true to some extent and the other officers we have right now our paid on surplus money. The money that was left over. Once the told expired. That money will eventually be gone too and then officers. Will be moved by the state. So we'll see how this works out so the state is insisted that the local area will pick up. In the response to wrecks and things like that which the the other twelve miles of roadway that house. Mile on either side shot about right yeah most of the road race in Jefferson Parish so in an accident happens up there. Whatever jurisdiction and controls that portion the roadway response to that -- But I passive go over an average all the time and I actually happens in a lot of police -- announce that I'm thinking about it. But even with seventeen you think to they would have them. At least. On the bridge all the time. I -- and that was that numbers stated that that numbers more than nine months old and I was told the time that they were losing two more officers so. I honestly don't know what number they're -- today it's less than seventeen but. -- some number less much less than 29. So you're saying they're being put paid with a surplus funds one surplus runs out. The state police will still be in charge of it. But they're not as committed to having those numbers -- not committed to those numbers or to the assignment of the police were there assigned they work from the state. Mistaken reassign them to any place like. New York. And there are other concerns to mean. Algiers point -- Algiers point residents got to learn a lot about bridges and how you fund public. Transportation. Like the fairy and to you know. We learned about. That the how little funding there is at the state level for. Improving in maintaining bridges and -- this is a pretty important bridge so we're we're pretty concerned about that but we are also. In the beginning of this I'm concerned about keeping the theory. And I have to say that Algiers point again came together and really made their point clear. That we were not going to do without. -- surface there -- so many people that. Live in Algiers point because they can take the ferry to go to work in the French Quarter the river walk. On they don't have a car they don't have time to wait the extra time it would take to take a bus. So you know we we came together and it really was powerfully at 101000 signatures on a petition. And that was originally linked to the tolls the and that that whole argument changed overtime. But still the same argument is keep the theory and because we've been so strongly that -- the theory an organization worked really hard on that. Our fairy godmother and how come Mayfair and she's still keeping abreast of you know power we're going to be going about that and right now there is a fairy but it is it's only for pedestrians. Right and it has some limited hours it's not later in the evening but that's gonna change it they are TA. And is working all that out. So that's loneliness thing. It is a good news thing yes you know. You know we would of course like to see it -- was full hours and I have a more self -- reason for every person that takes a fair it is not on that bridge when I need -- Say this has every reason to take and I Harry and the man's gotta get to work idea. And which is one point two million people a year. Take -- fairy IE would prefer them on the prepares. Really what we're hearing is that people care about Algiers point and you got a very activist neighborhood. And you get the results of that they're telling me in the commercials and it was Heather who put together that 101000 person. Petition. It as you're saying it takes one person to say we're gonna do this and get it done and the people will jump on and and that's that's the way it should work. We have good leaders and we have good followers you -- it hurt Hillary we have examples like. Like Kristen Kristen missiles and Omar and Jackie Clarkson who. Live or have lived in Algiers point as saying you know their their role models for us really but -- what you can accomplish. Enough city government. And aesthetically -- we've got you know master builders of artists musicians. You know -- one the only folk artists in New Orleans -- old Algiers you know -- Japan girls get home from and and so. There's that expertise is well. Adds beauty to -- her neighborhood let me ask you because we have asked every single neighborhood we count on. The situation with potholes. And light light. Rear their heads every time we do -- show. That. That the lighting is a big deal for a lot of -- a lot of neighborhoods isn't an issue which you. I street lights out. I think less so and then it has been in past years we've that we had a period a few years ago where there and quite a few out. And they were really kind of post the last few hurricanes we've you know a few more go out. But really right now I think we're in pretty good shape I think most of them in Algiers point have been taking care of and you know potholes -- an issue everywhere in New Orleans but I we don't have we don't have the issues that some other areas and out years have because as an older neighborhoods you know I mean. The street the road bits of settled for quite along time so that we don't have is that in the issues as some outlying areas you know years. And the bosses have gotten lighter yup and has revealed that when they drive by now you know the dust from the -- -- doesn't -- -- -- -- -- -- And I can tell they're a little smaller player and out of dust because of what would you say is that. The biggest issue who faces -- neighborhood. Not all at once and I. Too much love yeah. They already been through so many big issues in the last couple of years and we knew -- tackle those and bomb really I think just maintaining. Maintaining our our attention on those issues to make sure they don't just fall by the wayside in turn into problems again. I think is an issue at the moment to really maintain the continuity part of our culture and our neighborhood. And and I think also confidence spreading our success into the outlying areas around us will -- community stronger and more vibrant. And you know I've been working on that alone there is the president -- association. And really I mean I think we're sitting we're sitting pretty good now and then. You know words were of virus happy community and and I think it's a great model for a lot of others in new world news. Have. They have battles to conquer. Is used to take care of and addressed. The building that was just torn down is not actually within the boundaries of our neighborhood just on the edge we cooperated with -- another neighborhood. To get their building torn down. With for example I gave you earlier when we -- 67 people showing up to testify. That was not actually within the boundaries and years ago we were approached to help. And yeah of course right it's just on the edge of our neighborhood but it's it's surely needed to ago. My -- I'm just always so curious about why these processes take so long. I know there have their laws of center center but at some point you gotta just say enough. You know my feeling is I was the president for -- just after Katrina. And my feeling was that the city city hostess functional and those things have radically changed in City Hall. And I think the City Council is radically changed I think the employees of city hall of radically change their behavior. And the stories that I think other people have going in at 9 AM retaining am not finding one and office those are gone you can go and at 9 AM and go to that office and you'll find an employee there. It will assist you. A physicist more good news we're getting out of counters point it -- -- -- -- City Hall news does if you -- Yeah it is changed and they're pretty remarkable way I didn't honestly think it's in my lifetime. We're talking about Algiers point and it's a wonderful place to live and that's the message of these three people. And so in your final thoughts you invite everybody to pay it's not too late their places they divide. Oh -- come check it out I mean we've got. Tons of green space over there wonderful neighbors and it's it's a beautiful little neighborhood. And I current personal or party's next week that we the Algiers point association holiday -- crew holiday party. Is on Saturday night. Check our website Algiers point dot org for details about that it's our neighborhood potluck that. Generally brings you know few hundred people residents are neighborhood in and -- everybody's welcome. And great places for kids yes -- kids. And dogs and along the badgers you -- of dogs and kids and kids and dogs. There's a lot of both sick kids dogs leaders people who will fight for what they want it's the perfect area not I really appreciate all of you coming in skip standards skip Gallagher and Heather apart. Thank you very much and we look forward to seeing what's happening in the future encounters point.