Posts filed under ‘gentilly’
I can honestly say that every morning I wake up with pretty much no idea of what my day holds. In addition to the everyday uncertainties of constant contact with New Orleans and New Orleanians, the shifting planning landscape ensures that by day’s end I often have an entirely different set of expectations than I had over my first sip of coffee. I’m starting to become neurotic about attending as many planning meetings as possible for fear that I may miss something huge.
Tonight my roommate made shrimp for dinner. I had gotten a few pounds of Louisiana shrimp at the White Boot Brigade Festival a couple of weekends ago, and we were starting to have a hankerin’ for some seafood. I mention this not because it is particularly significant to eat shrimp in New Orleans but because it illustrates why I was anxious to get home. It’s hard for a Louisiana girl to think of anything else when there’s shrimp on the stove.
Unfortunately, the shrimp had to wait because I am, as I mentioned, neurotic about missing planning meetings. I headed off to the Gentilly Civic Improvement Association‘s land use and zoning committee meeting, a weekly event that generally doesn’t include very much drama. The discussion generally centers around things like “design overlays,” with voices only starting to rise when people get to talking about the Army Corps of Engineers.
This week was different. As I sat there with my laptop and diet Coke, passively dreaming about the shrimp I was going eat, a vision appeared in the periphery. A tweed-clad silhouette with an cartoonish smile and a large document under his arm. It was Andres Duany.
Now for those of you who aren’t urban planners, I’ll start by saying that Duany is the closest thing the planning world has to a rock star. More accurately, he’s the closest thing we have to Ann Coulter. He presents a holistic worldview about ideal urban planning, but in the end his ideas only really work for rich communities. And most academics think he’s a pompous ass. So imagine our surprise when the man himself, the messiah of the new urbanity, walked in the room. Support my my neurotic meeting attendance. You never know what’ll happen.
This discussion – the shrimp and all – is my circuitous way of saying that the new GNOF/Rockefeller planning process is getting underway. I am assuming that Duany is here to interview with the GNOF people in response to their recent RFQ. In the coming weeks neighborhoods are going to be making a lot of decisions, and I’m assuming that many of them will be divisive. Will they stick with the planners they have or interview new planning teams? Will they buy in to the new unified planning process or oppose the non-transparent methods used to create its structure?
I’m still not sure where I stand on all of these issues. Maybe I’ll know by tomorrow night.
Yesterday's Festival of Neighborhoods went off without a hitch. I was there representing UNO's College of Urban and Public Affairs. It was, perhaps, my first effort of purely academic historic preservation, as the College itself is set to be demolished in a week.
Luckily, we didn't have to answer many tough questions about the fate of CUPA. This is because we spend the entire day explaing that we were neither advocates nor critics of modular housing. We'd decorated our table with some posters from a planning class' recent recovery plan for Gentilly, and they included a suggestion that manufactured housing might possibly, maybe, in some cases be an affordable option for some people.
Note to self: never associate oneself with modular housing. People are really freaking militant about it.
Between being inspired by all the great planning work and complaining about the stifling heat, I got a chance to snap a few pictures. Take a look at them by clicking on the image at the top of the post.
I'll be trying to make it to two meetings today: Alfredo Sanches' presentation to residents of planning district 5 and the Gentilly Civic Improvement Association housing committee. Of course they are taking place at exactly the same time, 1-3pm. This makes me strangely annoyed, as though Lakeview and Genitlly were colluding to ensure that I miss out on neighborhood planning breakthroughs. What if there were some revelation of the public will?
Or worse… what if I forgot about something I'd promised to do. I've never really bought into the anthropological ideology, but this participant observation stuff is tough. I'm constantly asking myself iterations of the same question: What skews my analysis more? Participating in planning as a concerned citizen of New Orleans, or the artifice of forced neutrality. There's an exhilarating dissonance that comes from flinging myself into this from both sides.
Subtitle: I know you're jealous of all the community meetings I get to go to….
My mother and I saw this make-shift memorial to a building lost. Strangely moving. If anybody can tell me more about this building, I'd be grateful.
CityWorks, Tuesday Night
Eat your heart out ladies! Gentilly Civic Improvement Association, Tuesday night
Let's Play "Count the Documentary Filmmakers"
Neighborhoods' Planning Network, Wednesday Night
Wait! You missed one!
Kathleen Blanco: Concerned yet Confident. LRA meeting. Today.
The City Council's paid planners met with members of the Gentilly Civic Improvement Association and other Gentilly residents today for an all-day meeting at UNO. The Army Corps showed up later in the day to give a report on the status of the new flood gates at the 17th Street, Orleans, and London Avenue canals. In short, Orleans is done, London Avenue should be finished within the month. Who knows about 17th Street. If you live along the London Avenue canal and would be willing to allow the Corps to do soil borings in your back yard so that they can collect accurate data about the soil, please contact them.
Check out Civic Improvement Association's Website for more information or to volunteer to help survey the neighborhood.
Click on the image to see more pictures of the meeting.