The jazz project extravaganza

I was going to write about the Jazz Project unveiled by Mayor Nagin, but I wasn’t sure how I felt about it so I was thinking it over before I made a statement on it. Then, t johnson requested we write about it through our ‘Suggest a Story’ link and after reading it, I have to say, she makes some pretty good points. I’m not sure if I agree with her entirely, but there’s a passion in her voice that struck me as very sincere. Though it may be a cop-out of a post, I felt compelled to post her ideas verbatim.

It’s important to note that she appears to have found opportunities in Houston, Tx that eluded her here in New Orleans. I don’t mean that to credit or discredit her, but simply to add context as a way of seeing where her frustration and disappointment come from. I really appreciate the suggestion and respect her view. And to those of you who have made suggestions we haven’t gotten to; we are watching and we’ll do our best. Thank you Mrs. Johnson and all the others for the suggestions. Keep ’em comin’!

“People from all over; other state and local governments, as well as people overseas have done in the efforts in the Hurricane Katrina relief. I am however appauled at the recently reelected Mayor Ray Nagin. He and other politicians have received a $715 million in which it has been decided to construct a 20 acre project jazz project to expand tourism. This is a time when New Orleans renters and homeowners are still in limbo about what to do with their homes. As per New Orleans Times Picayune article dated 5/31/06 this project of Mr Nagin was announced. I, wasn’t a home owner while in New Orleans, however, I have been blessed with the opportunity in Houston. However everyone is never as fortunate, and I feel that if Ray Nagin cared as much as he did during the storm on TV then he should realize that this is not the proper time for tourism. It is a time for helping innocent tax payers rebuild their homes. New Orleans has the French Quarters, which attracts millions in revenue for the city. New Orleans have beautiful parks such as City Park, and Audubon Park which, are well over 20 acres of land that he can enhance for his tourism. As far as money to help educate the children… your guess is good as mine. I guess tourism outweighs education as well. Homeowners, renters, and the homeless in New Orleans right now are sleeping in trailers, the streets, hotels, etc., in some cases right in front of the City Hall that Mr Nagin calls his office. How can Mr Nagin at a time where people are in despair can he focus on tourism, at a time when these citizens, less than a month ago voted him back in to office, after listening to him campaign with apologies, remorse, and conviction. Mr Nagin cried during the storm on TV and radio about how he’d never fail his “Chocolate City” as he was ridiculed for his appropriate comment. Now the truth has come out that its all about lining the politicians pocket in the Crescent City. Its about tourism and revenue. Not the love of our fellow man, just as some of his hasty decisions in Katrina. I’m not writing to you as an angry black woman, but as a disappointed child of GOD. What have these people done to deserve this treatment? How can Mr Nagin look at him self in the mirror? Grandma always said “take care of home first!” In church we are taught love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Well, he isn’t taking care of the New Orleanians first and doesn’t care about them as much as he cares about himself. Eventually, one day he will learn a valuable lesson about biting the hands that feed him. These people reelected him after he let them down.”

Agree? Disagree? What do we think of this new project? For my part, I’m still undecided and cautiously optimistic. But I could change my mind at any moment. Would the project, which must have been in planning stages for months, have still gone forward had Mayor Nagin lost the election? I’m not sure that’s a question anyone is willing to answer.

12 Comments so far

  1. dangerblond (unregistered) on June 1st, 2006 @ 1:05 am

    I have some of the same questions. First, although I HATE to do it, I must take Nagin’s side on one thing. The money for the new complex is not taking away from city and state housing efforts which are definitely underway and will help repair homes and get people into homes. If you are talking about HANO, that is a huge mismanaged mess that was taken over by the federal government for corruption long before Katrina. It is taking too long, but it is being done. The importance of tourism to New Orleans should not be underestimated, and everything they are planning to tear down is ugly as hell.

    That said, I wonder how much of a pie in the sky this is. I also wonder what is to stop the people who own the Hyatt from pulling out of the project if they have financial reverses in a couple of years? Will we be left with a half-done mega-project? And, I have to wonder how, when we have had to keep Louis Armstrong Park locked up 24/7 because we can’t afford to make it safe or maintain it, can we afford this gigantic green space?

    Even though I have misgivings about priorities and wonder if it will ever happen, I have to say that we have abolutely nothing to lose from rolling these dice. It’s a very ugly part of town. City Hall and CDC look like a banana republic right after the revolution. New Orleans Center never made any sense and it looked like it was cobbled together from left-over concrete and covered with pink paint. I’m surprised it stayed open as long as it did. If the Hyatt wants to tear down their ugly hotel, great. I would be furious if I thought they were using money that is supposed to be used for housing, but I do not think they are.

    As for black New Orleanians voting for Ray Nagin, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Repeatedly. Here and elsewhere. Just because someone is white does not mean they are not on your side. I don’t think Nagin this doing this fast enough, but in all honesty, it is wrong to think that nothing is being done about housing. I am following the housing issue and will write a post about it here soon.


  2. NATHALIE (unregistered) on June 1st, 2006 @ 8:13 am

    Jack,

    I am very disapointed that you would repost such false claims without doing any research on this topic yourself. It is excruciatingly frustrating when people in the rest of the country base thier judgements on our city from 10 second sound bites, but extremely depressing to see locals do it:

    “He and other politicians have received a $715 million in which it has been decided to construct a 20 acre project jazz project to expand tourism.”

    It’s not like someone wrote Ray a check, and said do with it what you please.

    According to Nola.com:

    “Hyatt has already invested nearly $3 million on planning the project so far, and executives with the hotel company say they have about $400 million in financing lined up. About 53 percent of the project’s financing would be private. Developers now need to work with public agencies, explore tax credit projects, approach foundations and seek additional investors to put together the rest.”

    You can read the rest here: http://www.nola.com/archives/t-p/index.ssf?/base/news-5/114905512862970.xml&coll=1


  3. Covingtongirl (unregistered) on June 1st, 2006 @ 1:21 pm

    Jack,
    From all that I have read on the Jazz Project, it looks like a no-brainer. The city would benefit greatly from this project; and let’s face it; our City Hall is without question terribly antiquated. I’m very familiar with that part of town and believe me, it was patched together (over the years) like some crazy quilt.
    That being said, whatever Nagin had to do with this project, I cannot throw stones his way, and that’s a first.

    One more thing, many heartfelt thanks to all the authors here at NO Metblogs. I can’t tell you how refreshing it is that you are not the ‘We Four, No More Club’ – You guys and dolls are always willing to hear what the great elsewhere has to say. This is how we learn, eh?

    Oh, and Richard, your faultless letter to Mr. Hollywood, I mean Jessie Jackson should be sent to the TP, all local TV stations, FOX! NEWS!, CNN, etc. I thought it was terrific.


  4. Jack Ware (unregistered) on June 1st, 2006 @ 1:24 pm

    Be all the disappointed in me that you want. Fact is, people do feel this way and one way to deal with that is to talk about it. I didn’t really have the time two research it, but now that you’ve mentioned research, I hope you realize that finding one source doesn’t really constitute research. Besides, you can see how there would be some misunderstandings with statements like: “…said Mayor Ray Nagin, who called the 20-acre proposal “breathtaking” and described it as “the state’s biggest capital project ever.” He called it “cost-effective” and a “big-bucks deal.”” in the same article as your quote.

    If nothing else, the city would have to foot the bill to build a new City Hall and the other city buildings that would be torn down. So there’s this: “a massive renovation or relocation of the city’s civil courthouse at Loyola Avenue and Poydras Street. The project has been estimated at $90 million, Civil District Judge Michael Bagneris said.” again from your own article. but I’m not saying the money shouldn’t be spent or that its a bad thing – as I stated in the original post I’m undecided.

    The real fear I have after looking around the net some today is that the project will turn out to be nothing more than “The Galeria” in Houston, which is nice, but not something I’d like to see in downtown nola.

    Besides all that, don’t waste your time being disappointed in me, convince t johnson that it’s a good thing. Help us all make up our minds. I don’t have time to research everything I throw out there. Sometimes its best just to throw it out there and let everyone talk it through. A lot of times, that changes my mind or helps me decide how I feel about something. I hope that kind of thing helps others have more well-rounded opinions as well.


  5. dangerblond (unregistered) on June 1st, 2006 @ 3:52 pm

    I also think t johnson’s voice should be heard. If she is confused about things, she is no more confused than I am. I found it very authentic.

    Also, can’t post a comment to Richard’s post but BRAVO. I stopped listening to Jesse Jackson after it came out a few years ago that he was demanding jobs for his children, a la William Jefferson. I see no evidence of integrity there at all.


  6. jack (unregistered) on June 1st, 2006 @ 3:58 pm

    Richard may have turned off commenting on that post. You can email him and ask him about it if you want.

    The whole issue with the Jazz thing isn’t very clear. It’s a big thing spear-headed by a corporation. The devil is in the details on this one and I don’t recall being given the details…lots of spin – but no details.

    I do think the artist’s rendition should have had about 4 ft of water accross the whole area – that would’ve been fun.


  7. Ted (unregistered) on June 2nd, 2006 @ 9:30 am

    Nice comments Covingtongirl! but it’s you that’s refreshing!


  8. Stephnie (unregistered) on June 2nd, 2006 @ 10:20 am

    Ditto on that from Mid-City!


  9. Paul Murphy (unregistered) on June 2nd, 2006 @ 12:29 pm

    Agreed! Covingtongirl your comments tend to be a breath of fresh-air. Well thought out and insightfull.


  10. Covingtongirl (unregistered) on June 2nd, 2006 @ 4:07 pm

    O.K., O.K., since everyone is being so nice, Abita’s on me tonight!! :D
    I’ll be the chicklet double-fistin’! Something new and different!

    If ya’ll miss the fun, don’t forget tomorow on Freret Street, lookin’ like a pretty sweet weekend to me! :)


  11. Paul Murphy (unregistered) on June 2nd, 2006 @ 10:47 pm

    Missed ya again Covingtongirl ;)
    Can’t believe I am home so early, but I have to get an early start tomorow. 5am Revelie for me!


  12. Covingtongirl (unregistered) on June 4th, 2006 @ 2:12 pm

    Hey Paul! Sorry I missed you; I didn’t do all that walking abound (bar 2 bar) I went to Tchoup N Joe’s and parked myself. I just let the party come to me! I’ll have to tell you at a later date how the rest of the night worked out, crazy! Come back home safe.



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