WWL>Topics>>1-16 1:10pm Open Mind: Garden District

1-16 1:10pm Open Mind: Garden District

Jan 16, 2014|

Angela talks to Garden District Neighborhood Association members Rivers Lelong and Jennifer Lauscha to talk about the Garden District.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Yesterday we thought it was a beautiful today but today it doesn't get more beautiful than it is outside. Perfect blue sky. Gorgeous weather it just going to be out plan. I'm glad you're listening because we're gonna have three very interest -- shows today. Beginning with our continuing series on. Getting to know or neighborhoods and as I was just saying to our guest I've learned so much have lived in the city for what seems like for ever. But I still have a lot to learn and I've loved talking to people who love where they live and they're gonna tell us about where they -- And our second hour were going to be talking to you guessed it. Should a coach Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis. And in our third segment we're going to be talking about. What is happening in Jefferson Parish with the discussion on who's gonna take over the hospitals it seems to go on and on and on. But again we start today with our neighborhoods. It's a New Orleans neighborhood people from around the world come to city. The guard district is the iconic look and feel of elegance the this is much the Crescent City as Jackson square and the riverfront. But what is it like to live there. In our continuing look at the world's neighborhoods today we meet to Garden District residents who will tell us the joyous. And may be the continuing struggles. Jennifer launch has lived in the Garden District for ten years and is on the Bart board of the Garden District association. As is rivers long who has been a resident as he says most of his life. So you were born in the Garden District. I was actually born further uptown to -- in my grandmother's home when I was -- small child lived there growing up. Then moved away for a few years and then took over from my father right after hurricane Katrina and for most my life I've lived in the -- history. And it's an interesting story -- families in the -- -- like killers. Community's homes have been in their families for a hundred. Yes actually my great grandfather built the house and 1890 threes on the fourth generation. That's lived and it. But actually Jennifer you be surprised are only about 34 families and have that kind of ten year and houses. Most of them are actually new newcomers they may have been in the city for a long time that. There's a lot of new people always in the Garden District coming in it was a nice. You know Nixon -- in the news. And draw the picture for us what are the boundaries at the Garden District. Well and in the popular mind boundaries of the Garden District Jackson. Saint Charles Louisiana and magazine. But our neighborhood associations little more expansive than that. We include all the way both sides -- of -- past Jackson and those sides cry on the -- past saint Charles. So it's a little broader than what many people think of a cigar industry we represent those areas as well. But I love is that your association has been around since 1939. And that's right that had to been one of the early early associations. I would imagine maybe the French quarters older group I don't know him and you need that association I think that's what we've all learned post-Katrina. Is safety in numbers and get things done in numbers and it's just good to have an organization behind. -- such enthusiasm I think that's the word. Of that I've seen in people's eyes it sat in the studio as you do talking about what they've accomplished post-Katrina. Clearly -- the Garden District was not hit as badly certainly with water. As other neighborhoods but she did -- -- Substantial damage to -- And you know -- fences. Normal problems mean chimneys Clinton ever with water coming down from the top mean there -- certainly. There was extensive damage to not to a lot of times there I think what's happening and since Katrina is semi people have been updating in renovating their houses. Kiffin and an insurance money came in and I don't think think -- district -- let's discuss it. We are talking about that outside. It's just beautiful and there's very little blue light in the Garden District. Is that an. Issue -- organization. Attacks. Well. You know as Jennifer said there's not a lot of polite in the Garden District but we do attack it where it exists. Usually it's an individual problem with the homeowners who may -- elderly the or. Absentee -- some reason. And so -- -- a lot of neighbors where they have assist them that kind of problem ours has more property specific in and we tried to. Get the city to enforce coups and try to persuade people to have to crack problems when they become serious. Do you ever has an organization actually go to the homeowner in saying. You know what -- the issues of something anybody can do. I think that's always the first Baptist says he didn't try to communicate with and union leader -- person or via letter. To find out what the problem with the situation is and see if we can help them. You have such a beautiful. Mix of homes -- mean but you have that. Is -- iconic it is what many people who come from all over this country and the world. Have the image ignore it beyond the river beyond the French Quarter it's those big beautiful homes Manhattan -- You draw the new no -- come -- and I think when you consider the economic. Impact at the Garden District has on our city as a whole because of these beautiful -- scary significant. I mean we're such a draw for people take the streetcar and come and walk around the neighborhood the neighborhood has sim it's energy there's always people walking around. You know of course there's always the neighbors walking their dogs are -- children like you know we always have. Tourists they're always fair and they're always asking questions and I've seen neighbors stopping give directions and talk about the history of their home. You know it's just it's a wonderful place to live and the other nice thing about our neighborhood is that it really -- neighborhood. And I think the Garden District association. Has done an amazing job preserving that and making sure. That some of this commercial and business it's coming and hasn't affected. That this is a residential. Area you know we're not open for business if you will we are. We won and maintained the integrity of the neighborhood and I think the Garden District association since. 1939 has been doing that very well. And again and to a little bit more something you touched on about people just walking -- line you walk on your -- there's a group from Cleveland so -- look. Which is great. I went and interviewed and rice and witches. And she's always she'd walk now granted they -- -- in -- but they're also looking. Incredible. But she got into just walking and talking to. She did I heard that -- car. But she was definitely me preservationists. And never. She renovate it and willingness to the people in our neighborhood preservationists if you think about. The financial obligations and it takes you. I'm one of these songs and just renovated in general. But can just on going -- I mean we rivers and camera laughing it's always something there's always. An issue whether it's a gutter. Or shutters are. You know rotten stairs it's always something that needs in pain and union down the paint stores to Allen in our area because. All these wooden houses. We go into great debt level. The neighbors are wonderful in that they maintain their these beautiful it was because they're really not our homes we really maintaining them for generations. To come. That's what it's so touching about the Q fourth generation. That really is there there -- My house -- I -- -- -- house that we need to spy -- tech has two years to renovate we've been in it for six years total now. And we learn the second -- to live in the little lady we -- -- -- was in her ninety's. And her husband passed away and she was raised in house team. And it really is special. But we are seeing a lot of young payments in the neighborhood. There's tons of baby strollers Rollins neighborhood around the term and you really want to see it and we dean and the neighbor in the neighborhood association. Has and a great job encouraging. Family get togethers like we always news we've been testing for the past few years the wonderful on Halloween party and we had. -- and neighborhood troll if you will with safe houses of agreed to open their houses and path -- McCain Indian we have. He and purses on patrol in and we have a little neighborhood party in gated backyard. For the children to run around and you know we just to lot of things like to really making. Feel like a wonderful special place in my neighborhood we know your neighbors free. Know your neighbors very very important bullet this neighborhood day and we're getting to know people in their life. In one of the very special neighborhoods of our community the Garden District. Someone who has lived there most of his life and and Jennifer launch -- who's lived -- ten years they're both equally committed to keeping it the special places it is. Are you -- talking briefly about. Everything to me in this community whether it's a French Quarter whatever is the delicate balance. Between keeping the sense of neighborhood -- also encouraging business we want that especially small businesses. You've got glorious magazine street which is such. Success story. Even before Katrina but we just cheering it on but the realities are that can cause issues so how have. Tried to balance that. Well magazine street is one of the most important areas that the Garden District association works to a it's part of our neighborhood -- brand and business owners of property owners there are -- members often in our organization. And we also have to look at the interest of the residents who live nearby particularly along camp street. And this balance is a difficult one because. -- no one's fault there's not enough parking for the businesses exist already along magazine street. And as you said. Magazines she's been thriving and sue every month or to use a proposal for new business often -- strong. And that poses a real challenge and we try to work with these new businesses. Through good neighbor agreements to find ways that they can work harmoniously with the residents nearby. For example limiting the hours that they might be playing loud music. Trying to restrict video poker from coming and trying to make sure they're real restaurants rather than just bars. But some problems like parking really aren't solved formal because there's no magic solution there's no way that we can by being people couldn't. Nature to simply solve the parking problem there isn't really a place for all the scars. And so I think you'll see an ongoing tension between the residential interest over parking. And then the business centrists along magazine and we try to balance that. You know as best we can at the Garden District association is there anything. In our code that says for a restaurant there has been a minimum number of available parking spot. Yes there are restrictions and in the in the Qaeda but they're also exceptions particularly historic neighborhoods where. There really is no way the restaurant can meet. And I think the new zoning candidate which you may. To be good topic for show for you to to talk about the city's adopting. That's one of the issues that the city really has to grapple with which is how do you. Encourage businesses historic neighborhood is without destroying the quality of life and. Parking is one of the key elements how do you balance that and be realistic at the same time I personally don't think. That every building between Jackson avenue in Washington can be turned into a restaurant. And still have a quality of life. The economically. Might be economic cancer if you just look at the highest dollar generating value businesses. Property owners tend to look at restaurants and Tennessee cannot tell at some point no you can't all be restaurant. Or else the neighborhood won't be a nice place either for you or for their striking gonna kill the golden goose -- exactly yeah. So I'm. Have there have been instances you don't have to name names but where as an organization. Perhaps with others you have contested and people have not been allowed to open. Well you know yes but I think is far more limited -- sees a very limited situation -- an absolute yes or no. It's more of a question of will we we support you for alcohol license. Will we support video poker. And you know historically. That tells people for the district including their current councilman. Councilman Cantrell -- very supportive of neighborhood Anthony was very opposed. Say to an -- call all that beverage permit being issues. We may be able to stop that in some instances and that that can have an effect that very -- I would say. I can't think anything off the -- mine and while I've been on the board where we said absolutely no he's always been more about the conditions. But I do think there's the possibility. Within the next five years of -- come down to an -- no position. -- -- five more restaurants open that stroke you know what about the 61 about the south of Lebanon aid. I think eventually force yourself in -- my personal view and an absolute no we're not area. And we've. Been able to sign good neighbor agreements with messages places that. You know have proposed new businesses new restaurants and and if their willing to work with us as the Garden District association representing the neighbors. And we're willing to help -- work with farm because. At the end of the day they're going to be our neighbors -- Found it. And they bring a lot of the neighborhood TB is people like people -- organizing history and have dinner and Sharon store so. That is really is a great in the Kennedy for the car industry wanted to make it sound negative is just one of the issues -- -- association. As you said we have to balance and then the hands. And to be our friend and to work with us and stay within the guidelines that TN that the neighborhoods are asking for because at the end of the day we're gonna be their biggest supporters that's right that's right is making reservation. Her her I can just make you wonder how many more restaurants can economically so -- -- -- we all leaked that. Well it's finishing questions I ask who new restaurant it's a new development right now on magazine street. And I asked the people who were developing who we have a good neighbor agreement with and who they're supporting. -- civil do you think would work at every building between Jackson. And Washington restaurant. And their answer was yes because that would drawn in as a dining sort of cluster. People would come from other parts of the city and -- eat I'm not so sure that that was there you that's bearing interest and on the same token. Do you have as the French Quarter has with the brokerage commissions that are. Standards of renovation. Or things on how you can't dictate anything we don't hasn't association the you know there is some historic district landmark commission authority. It's much more limited analysts in the French Quarter long -- freedom for for good Ariel in the Garden District to. To do things with your homes and -- association as a group really other than the citizens. And showing up at the steal scenes meetings in expressing your viewpoint. We have jurisdiction to connect. And it's really lenient there has not been any new construction. In the Garden District in years. We had an instance this past year where house burned down and there are some planes proposes to rebuild and you know we can look at it as the hardest association and comment on it but at the end of the day we really don't have any say on way. Architectural look at house should be somebody could still -- -- you're just hoping that. But they'll keep with and then the context of the neighborhood you would want them to think that you would want to become citizens national. It's a special that so many movies -- me and it's. A busy. We get in and there's good and bad with it but for them as part I think neighbors. And has been extremely. New patient. With the onslaught of media productions have been taking place in in you know in the end. But they're also very considerate and kind to laugh and make sure that. They clean they don't stand teammate. -- but it's a lot of equipment it's alive it's a -- and you know allies on the -- to be shut down you have to. I think it vinyl large see exactly Jennifer described it. But as an association you know even there you can have issues there's one particular house which the owner I think. -- out here very frequently the movie productions and is becoming a friction point was the immediate neighbors around there. But I think that by and large is just as Jennifer describe where people. Are happy for the -- industry be there stay with -- we're gonna continue our talk about the Garden District but now let's go to Dave -- in the newsroom. We are talking about the garden district of beautiful special Garden District with Jennifer -- and rivers along. And we were talking about. Really maintaining standards. You know since 1939 when you started -- -- action. But that the issues of today and you brought the -- clinching point about people now wanting to rent their homes. Offer special events Mardi Gras Super Bowl in particular. For big money. And and that can be a problem. City ordinance requires that Reynolds -- for at least thirty days. And so if you just trying to for a week and you were -- -- violating that ordinance. However the city as many higher priorities and chasing down people who are running their home for a weekend for a party. It's -- cigar industry association tends to have to try to enforce the limited extent we can. Which is really more friendly persuasion than anything else sending letters to you homeowners reminding them of the ordinance and trying to persuade them. Not to violated. And honor their neighbors because. -- Jennifer you're closer to a couple of those parties where they can't some big side effects when they in -- large scale and such and it's. -- -- The noisy generators to the noisy bands playing until after midnight it is scary thing and there's issues like that and it's funny it's you know every. -- mean by it. You know again we give back to where residential neighborhood we don't wanna be open for business so we don't really want. Corporate business is coming and then throwing huge Super Bowl parties and -- -- And then just walk Wednesday. Rented the hotel has hit back at. What about that breakfast. Another issue we've as an association have had to have really struggled to trying. To. Police. There are a few legal bed and breakfast in the Garden District that are actually out by city ordnance and there for very long time. But as -- case a lot of neighbors in the cities vacation -- -- other Internet sources. A lot of folks have created new -- practice and on the themselves through the Internet. And again violations ordinance. And so we learn about -- we sent letters and tried to get the seat to enforce the rules against him. But again it's -- in the city's other. Needs news isn't the highest on the enforcement lessons that we end up being fine line to try to keep them from. Two lies spread is again he can affect the well and I think thus far been pretty successful. You know. Crop up from time to time it's not Ceres and the organization has sentence really wonderful things and which it paid for yourself and -- -- vote. The the newest project that we've sort of taken and is the replacing the blue streak piles. Along all the corners in the neighborhood. Now it's such -- Old historic tradition it is beautiful in the white tiles and I think it's been very well received to see some of them coming back but -- been -- -- To -- there whenever. It's a lot and it's a project we're gonna have to face because it's extremely expensive. And you know we raise money -- here. They are these are the ones we've been using are made by derby pottery on magazine street. And me and beautiful job and work and have been working with as well. And says that's an extremely well received in that something that you can see it's a neighborhood when he thinning your association. He knew you Cindy in on the money to attend jazz in June of party and they were ahead. You know it's nice unit at some of that money is you know -- they think that you -- you concede because you don't need you don't always know it mean we're going after illegal bed and breakfast. You know -- -- look at the blue tiles were the good -- positive -- other nice thing we've done is really tried to beautify. The streets with treaties. We've done. We've replanted trees all along Jackson avenue. On the neutral ground and we also worked. Very closely linked the saint Charles avenue association. With clean teen books opened up and down the avenue. They've done a miraculous job on the. And financially have them on talking about the -- economic can -- it's just inspiring when they've done in how well it's gone. Another thing we've ever -- on his. Pine trees. Like termites. And and spring ones in the monies raised only trees we've been -- And then trying to help on the owners realize minions found that their entries in society arts navy -- When his term -- And if we have a guy out -- poetry he's prepared small amount additional money eakins -- tree and hard. And so we hope we saved a lot of deals trees term programs well right now down or also bunch tree hackers. -- that that's very important because that's one of the identifying. Aspects of the Garden District is a magnificent tree at some rain. Also the it cemetery and I love that the team that. If it is a work in progress but certainly we have cleaned up four of the sides of that cemetery. And -- she is such a draw for tourists who were walking to the neighborhood I had to get through -- He is things from -- that cemetery. -- it's it's really beautiful it's also been a big. Site first and the mideast. Dunes is one -- easier navies joining sites witches. Which is actually good because oftentimes in the crews will donate money well now with the cemetery in -- hours we should put a plug in for -- cemeteries we should really do yeah. Tremendous work with all senators including mafia amateur stay with history and continue our top about the Garden District I'm Angela under the anyway. We're getting to know the Garden District for people who live there and and not love it and -- take care of that and are really doing many things to help it. It is flourishing right now and yet you're not totally. Exempt from crime. Not so you again kind of take care. Things in your hands well the Garden District -- and the size cigar industry association as our district security district as well. Which is a pretty special tax assessment district that the residential neighborhood voted to produce. It. Let these small extra tax Milledge on properties. And it takes that money and on runs a 24 hours seven to eight weeks security service. That's available to all residents of the neighborhood. So if you're coming on a night -- -- Person walking in the door you can call them on the and if you're taking issues that your car you want and watch you. They commandeer. They look at your house when -- at a town dropped by more frequently. I'm also respond to you burglar alarms and so forth roughly unseemly that police would. They may get there sooner because they're closer. All that being said yet to use the service for to benefit you certainly crime in the Garden District and majority people don't call -- -- -- come home at night and occasionally. You know there is an incident. There's actually very little statistically. Serious violent crime in the car industry but if you look at the neighborhoods around us we we and jump on central city. We -- up. Irish channels actually greatly improved. Itself as a neighborhood so their crime is going to -- -- there's still more crime and there. And so clearly if you look at a crime. It's all around us and to some degree will occasionally entry. You know our advice to people in the neighborhood is to use the patrol. As best talent to minimize your risk and then we used to patrol. To try to just generally watch neighborhood right now the security district which is totally separate and apart from the Garden District association. Is also studying putting up a crime camera system. But that's still planning stage and be very expensive. And there's no real agreement yet to my understanding as to what exactly that entails that's probably. A few years down the road before that could be serious. Factor do some residents of the Garden District have cameras are on their home publisher -- okay it just trying to interconnect them. Well actually this would be a Garden District in my understanding Garden District security district camera system that would be independent of what the residents and com and then they'd be better suited to answer those -- -- has a different board and -- one of the issues that we're mentioning him break -- -- and we're very much advocacy group of the GPA. They are administrators of public funds are coming in their tax assessment they run the patrol. On they would on the camera system that they -- created. And you may be to garnish association should be taking a more rule had -- -- crimes cheese. Because right now we we're tending to focus more on other you know issues such as bad breakfast since I mean parking. And they focus on administering their programs. And so maybe there's something more we can do. You know to bring you know attention when is needed to the to the issue that. I don't want to overstate the shot in the Garden District is doing very well on the crime fraud and if you act prudently used to patrol. I think you are actually pretty -- camera don't make use of off duty and a PD or just say surface and he set up this combination. -- these when I see I see off duty and it PD. I'm not on the security issues -- I see them using our district off duty policeman but they also have a private. Service that provides most of manpower. So you feel safe. As long as yet friendly acting like they are very good and something that we've asked every single neighborhood group. One of the biggest complaints have heard art street. And it just drives everybody crazy that we can not get these street lights fixed. And I know there are a lot of lights but their other cities have a lot alike and they get them fixed. Has this been appointed discussion with any OK go absolutely overnight we -- night. You know given any special. Privileges as far as better street lights it's better lighting or less potholes and I think we. We -- the same as every other neighborhood in the city where we have lighting issues of possible issues and it's -- struggled it. You know we as a city. All half. I don't know how to fix -- there's apparently phone number you can call. But I don't move that should I don't know how responsive it is you know -- we had about a month ago we had done Jeffs appears president. John young and I don't know how it came up with. Potholes and and street lights he looked at me and said -- on the hair -- -- know what it is about you'll that you put up with it. And he said if if somebody calls City Hall in Jefferson Parish and says you know my street lights out. We go get it fixed and this -- of there's a possible we may not be able to -- deep in for it but we get it fixed enough to. And so it only added to my frustration is Hampshire anybody who's listening this year of this is something. We have got to attack me in and they're doing more than just pretty Monica beaten them in the cardinals I don't know. He was let's go to capitol has done stories on pot holes that are one bedroom bath and a half I hit. An enormous that is one it is dip in the street new Egypt for it and and anxious as I and is obviously some broken arm hand there. He's dipping his behavior is gonna be -- thankful it's an -- ankle you know open up those wild car right now justice giant depression and they fixed it becoming Paxton Nixon is sinks again. On that happy note we'll take one more break but stay with us as we continue our talk about special neighborhoods activists I'm Angela under the aren't we are back with our wonderful wonderful friends that make friends and we like to do that our neighborhood series. Jennifer launcher and rivers along talking about the Garden District which really is one of the most beloved neighborhood since. If something Jennifer you'd said Whitman to -- realized that it wasn't that far. Ago that people didn't have the appeal. And the back then there was determine in the neighborhood's history where. The crime got to be too much for the people who lived in the neighborhood and a lot of people left the Garden District. And fled to suburbs they -- -- York North -- And so what was -- what happened was a lot of people packed and were able to coming in and pick up these you know houses that it. Really reasonable prices. That the neighborhood is just florist and is doing so well it was doing well before Katrina and I can't. Say that if it's just even better since Katrina. Well I can't thank both the view enough for not telling us all of -- the listeners. About where you live because this is how we get to know -- community better and continued success and all of the effort you have. Thank you very very much stay tuned everybody in our next hour we're going to be talking to. Two wonderful -- guys. Now let's go to the newsroom and -- --