Word on the Street

On Saturday, I got on the scooter and headed straight for trouble. I met with Jim Taylor, the president of the Mid-City neighborhood organization. I asked him about the strategy they are laying out for the viability plan. I really wanted to ask him about this area, the Iberville Corridor, Louisville, which has always been included in Mid-City but never really seemed to be represented in the organization. I just had to put it on the table. I knew what the answer would be. Taylor said he’d like to see the boundary stop at Broad for Mid-City proper. The two neighborhoods are starkly contrasted with the gentry up there near the park and the Iberville and Lafitte housing projects at the southern boundary. It was going to take a great effort to bring the two together for this viability thing and I just didn’t see an effort on the part of the organization to extend a hand. Well, Taylor confirmed that it ain’t happening. In fact, he said he’s going to try to pass a rezoning rule that would prohibit multi-family units beyond the double shotgun in the neighborhood. I asked him, what about the fact that we need to get folks into housing in the city while they are maybe working on their house in other parts of the city? People from Lakeview, Gentilly, the East. Taylor’s a smug dude, he just shrugged this off, that’s simply not his problem. There you have it. I said, so it’ll be like the suburbs out here. I was blunt, he didn’t argue. I have tried to discover the coolness of Mid-City this past year. I did the Tour-de-Pants pub pedal and attended their rally at the Rock-N-Bowl after the storm, I have tried to find some edgy coolness besides the annual bonfire. The best thing I found was Pal’s. Taylor also said they are conducting surveys in Mid-City on their own to determine the number of residents there but you won’t see them down there below Broad.

As you may recall, I have been volunteering with the city doing the rapid population estimate. (T-P Story) Well, this weekend the Office of Emergency Management completed another round of these surveys which they have been doing at regular intervals. It was a whole new ball game in there this time with all the students back in town. When we started we had maybe 8-10 teams out there visiting these randomly selected homes. Yesterday, there were about 40 teams! It was really unbelievable, it took us a couple hours just to get our assigned area because they had so many teams and they assign the people who were there on Saturday first so we had to hang. I usually get Gentilly, this time we ended up with Faubourg Louisville, this exact area, formerly part of Mid-City.

There’s also a third part of the story, a melodramatic scene, where I actually do get blindsided for crossing a line that I was unaware existed but I’m keeping that petit cauchemar to myself. Anyway, of all the places for me to end up today. But I do my duty. There’s some reason the spirit of the city put me here today, even if it’s none other than to force me to fight the blues.

The first ‘point’ we were assigned was on Tonti, the homeowners weren’t around but a really sweet woman next door came out sportin’ a pink playboy bunny t-shirt and her leopard print slippers. It ain’t the island, it ain’t all GAP. She was just wondering what we were doin. She expressed a real positive attitude about the people presence in her neighborhood and said, “now don’t take this wrong, but there’s even some white people up in here now.” We did not take this observation at all wrong. This neighborhood has languished a bit in it’s repopulation but there’s now a steady increase in the numbers of folks there and the clean-up of the debris is getting done on a regular basis. Entergy is around and told us that soon they should all be powered up with that newfangled electric power. There were a lot of orange vests out there, you wouldn’t have guessed it was a Sunday in New Orleans.

When we checked in at the OEM at the end of the day we met a guy from the REAL census bureau in Washington, D.C. We spoke to him for a bit and shared our excitement about how the fact of his presence there shows how important the project has become over the past few months. The OEM isn’t doing another round of surveys until after Mardi Gras if you are interested in assisting you can email Nathaniel at oem185@cityofno.com.

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