Posts filed under ‘meetings’

duany dance under the moonlight

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.

Exhibit A:

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.

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July 19, 2006 at 3:38 am 2 comments

i guess gentilly will have to wait

The Lakeview presentation started late, as community meetings are want to do, so I didn't 'get to Gentilly.

Since I had written the first draft of the presentation, I didn't learn much new information. But it was heartening to see so many Lakeview residents coming back to rededicate themselves to the neighborhood. Although I've done a lot of work with the The District 5 Recovery Team, I never stop being amazed by the organized but grassroots nature of their work. When it seemed that professional planners might never come to their aid, the neighborhoods developed an elaborate committee structure and combined the efforts of Lakeview, Lake Vista, Lakeshore, City Park, Country Club Gardens, Lakwood, and Parkview.

In the end, when the paid planners did come, Lakeview residents were ready for them. They had already developed a proposed land use scheme and overlay zoning districts. They had collected detailed data about current infrastructure needs and mobilized block captains to survey current conditions. So today's presentation was really an oportunity for planners to organize the information residents had already collected.

Here's a mercifully brief photo essay:


Paul Lambert did business before the presentation


Freddy Yoder and Martin Landrieu discussed the agenda while


everyone socialized.


Once the meeting started a consultant presented previous work done by the District 5 Recovery Group,


and we tried to pretend we weren't being filmed.


It was pretty difficult.


Come to think of it, it was very difficult.


Later, Jim Amdal got pretty fired up about infrastructure,


But who can really blame him?


Finally, Martin reminded us that a finished plan is only the beginning of the rebuilding process.


But it's a step in the right direction.

June 18, 2006 at 5:20 am Leave a comment

tag team planning

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.

June 17, 2006 at 4:00 pm Leave a comment

collective strength update


A note for those who missed Robin Rather's presentation to the Neighborhoods' Planning Network:

You totally missed out. Although I had seen her speak to the LRA yesterday, I still found Robin's presentation fascinating and engaging. And for a presentation of methodology and statistics it was strangely uplifting.

In essence, the Collective Strength team interviewed 2500 South Louisianians about their needs, fears, values, and visions for the future. They found an almost unprecedented consensus surrounding issues like coastal restoration, education, and the importance of transparency in the planning process – but perhaps most importantly they found that more than 80% of respondents felt that, if our plans were inclusive and well-executed, New Orleans would be the same or better than it was before the storm.

I know everybody out there must love reading social science research as much as I do, so check out Collective Strength's report here.

June 17, 2006 at 3:57 am 1 comment

and the survey says…

Robin Rather:, daughter of Dan Rather and representative of Collective Strength, will present the results of her in-depth survey of South Louisiana residents. Are they coming back? Do they trust the government? What are their biggest concerns? Do they think the region will ever recover?

Come see this dynamic presentation that will help you understand who we are, what we're facing, and where we need to go from here!

June 16th. 6-8pm. Musicians' Union Hall. 2401 Esplanade Avenue.

June 16, 2006 at 9:52 pm Leave a comment

this weekend’s neighborhood recovery planning meetings

Saturday, June 17th, 2006
New Orleans East – Districts “D” and “E” Joseph St. Martin/Deron Brown, Architects

  • Place: St. Maria Goretti Church, 7300 Crowder Blvd.
  • Time: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Gert Town – Cliff James/Byron Stewart, Architects

  • Place: Audubon Senior Center, 3425 Audubon Court
  • Time: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon

Ninth Ward/Holy Cross – David Lee, Architect

  • Place: Holy Angels Convent, 3500 St. Claude Avenue
  • Time: 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Lakeview – Alfredo Sanchez, Architect

  • Place: Lake Vista United Methodist Church, 6645 Spanish Fort Blvd.
  • Time: 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Tuesday , June 20, 2006
Hollygrove, Leonidas, Dixon – Gerald Billes, Architect

  • Place: St. Joan of Arc School Cafeteria, 919 Cambronne Street
  • Time: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Tuesday, June 21, 2006
Treme/5th, 6th, & 7th Wards Zyscovich, Architect

  • Place: St. Peter Claver Church Hall, 1023 St. Phillip Street
  • Time: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Tulane/Gravier/Claiborne – Cliff James/Byron Stewart, Architects

  • Place: St. Joseph Catholic Church, 1802 Tulane Avenue
  • Time: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, June 24, 2006
Mid City – Cliff James/Bryon Stewart, Architects

  • Place: The Grace Episcopal Church, 3700 Canal Street
  • Time: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon

Fairground, St. Bernard, Bayou St. John – Zyscovich, Architect

  • Place: St. Leo the Great Catholic Church, 2916 Paris Avenue
  • Time: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon

June 16, 2006 at 2:39 pm Leave a comment

a few pictures from the last couple of days

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.

June 16, 2006 at 3:38 am Leave a comment

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