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2 Responses to “Your Comments on Bring New Orleans Back”

  1. on 01 Nov 2006 at 5:17 am Paul Ikemire

    I was there from the beginning, talking with Dean Kroloff in November, 2005 about Tulane/Gravier and the timeline for major development of Tulane Ave. I was actually worried that things would go too fast and the neighborhood would be planned before the new year,2006. Kroloff made it clear that things were going to take a very long time and that there were many obstacles to the timeline. He mentioned that March would be soonest that plans would begin to be adopted.

    I went to a very collective neighborhood leaders meeting held by Mayor Nagin on Feb 14th. The energy was very high, with the main planner and Nagin talking with presidents of neighborhood association about the upcoming BNOB survey teams that would take 3 months to complete their neighborhood meetings and report out plan by May 20th. Since the start date of this new phase was only 6 days away (Feb 20th) and it was clear that funding was not allocated yet, I immediately sensed something was wrong.

    So after waiting a few weeks for this planning process to start, Nathan Shroyer, Paul Baricos, myself and other neighborhood leaders starting setting up infrastructure for a neighborhorhood initiated planning process. We had often talked many times about a council of neighborhood presidents that would meet and work out concepts together. We first started with a district 4 meeting that was held as a warm-up prior to an upcoming visit from the AIA. Because of the clear need to update and coordinate district wide and cross-district meeting information we finally decided to have an innocent wednesday meeting that would allow groups to introduce themselves to each other (first NPN meeting was March 15th, 2006). I promoted the meeting(s) at non-profit and city/FEMA meetings that were already organized on a weekly basis and other groups did the same. We struggled to collect sign-in sheets and to build a steering committee, database of emails etc. PNOLA sent a member to be on the early steering committee of this Neighborhood Planning Council (now called the Neighborhoods Planning Network). So for Tulane/Gravier and PNOLA, the planning energy started on the district level and NPC/NPN level because there were less then 20 people living in Tulane/Gravier at the time. So in March and April, Tulane/Gravier was depending fully on itself to share and listen to information at the NPC. We needed some series planning help.

    Fortunately, as an early pre-emptive decision before PNOLA was even legally formed, I had been talking with Peter Lynch at the City College of New York (CCNY) school of architecture since late october, 2005 trying to recruit their class to study a 36 block portion of tulane/gravier that PNOLA was initially focused on. In early December, I sent information to Peter Lynch and Michael Sorkin to try and get funding for such a field course mission. I did not hear back from them through the holidays and assumed that the initiative had failed.

    But at the point that the BNOB plan was clearly failing to get of the ground (mid April) and that my senses were fearing the worse for the future of New Orleans and for Tulane/Gravier, a CCNY student named Adam Watkins called and said his classmates were coming down on May 1st to collect more date and finish their project. Apparently, the class had been approved and 20 students from a masters level urban planning and archticture course had been focused solely on Tulane/Gravier and the 36 block area that I had original spoken about to Peter Lynch. When 4 of the students arrived, they had maps, preliminary studies, and dense demographic land use matrices.
    PNOLA hosted the students and held it’s first Tulane/Gravier neighborhood planning meeting on May 1st 2006 with 25 residents, volunteers, landlords and business owners attending at the Blood Center on Galvez and Tulane Ave. We listed major assets and divided out task forces to work on different subsectors of planning. We then held a subsequent meeting on May 20th with more neighbors totaling 35. The May planning material revealed concerns about security, open space, major housing developments, and street repair.

    Micheal Sorkin and many other neighborhood initated planning groups or student groups presented plans on June 24th, 2006 at the first Neighborhoods Planning Festival as a finale to the Neighborhood Initiated Planning Process (which should be added to this websites feature plan list) – facilitated in large part by neighborhood organizations, academic insitutions, the AIA and the Neighborhoods Planning Network (formally called the Neighborhood Planning Council)

    Tulane/Gravier for the first time since the 1970s had a rather comprehensive planning document compiled by one of the most respected schools in the nation.

  2. on 01 Nov 2006 at 5:41 am Paul Ikemire

    The following string of emails was the starting point for the NPN and a view into one part of the neighborhood initatied planning effort that took place during the collapse of the BNOB process.

    Dear Folks,

    As I understand it, this AIA facilitation money is one
    part of a whole plethora of resources being offered to
    our neighborhoods. Thanks to our lucky stars – because
    we need it!!! Paul is right to urge that we meet and
    plan together in advance of each milestone planning
    event and publicize these efforts through the media.

    Planning district 4 and all planning districts will
    benefit from a cross-pollination of resources and
    ideas being made more available through an awareness
    of our shared opportunities and goals.

    The establishment of a “Neighborhood Planning Council”
    in which presidents and representative leadership of
    neighborhood organizations can meet, share information
    and experiences, and apply together for resources will
    go a long way towards showing their citizens that the
    neighborhoods remain in control and that their return
    to our city will have meaning and dignity.

    Neighborhoods self-empowered can actualize more
    opportunity than governments will ever be able to
    provide; and, direct aid to neighborhood organizations
    is more likely to reach the efficient standards we all
    want to be able to demand (post-Katrina and

    I look forward to working with you all to establish a
    dignified and authentic process for aiding our
    communities. Thanks in advance for your assistance.

    Yours very truly,

    Nathan D. Shroyer

    — Keith & Fon Scarmuzza

    > Thanks for the notice, Paul.
    > Please keep us informed of the location. Someone
    > from DNIA will certainly
    > be there. I have been contacted by Keith at the TP,
    > and we are informing
    > him of DNIA’s current planning efforts.
    > Look forward to seeing you all.
    > Keith Scarmuzza
    > DNIA Member
    > —–Original Message—–
    > From: Paul A.R. Ikemire, PNOLA Director
    > [mailto:director@pnola.org]
    > Sent: Thursday, March 09, 2006 6:46 PM
    > To: nathan shroyer; kmuzza@bellsouth.net
    > Cc: vbutler7@bellsouth.net; administration@mcno.org;
    > romar1@ix.netcom.com; Meg Greeley; Gayle Ruth;
    > Laureen Lentz;
    > xelamercedes@gmail.com; fcoco@bellsouth.net;
    > maryj.sutton@dhs.gov;
    > rkroloff@tulane.edu
    > Subject: Ad hoc Planning District 4 Meeting –
    > combine plans, prepare for
    > BNOBC
    > Members of Planning District 4 and friends,
    > See the forwarded message below regarding a meeting
    > next
    > week to combine and talk about each others plans and
    > objectives as well as talking about putting together
    > a
    > “council” for dealing with the city planning teams
    > that
    > are suppose to come out into “Planning District 4”.
    > The
    > meeting place is still not set, Paul Baricos is the
    > one
    > organizing the meeting. He is a neutral, non-profit,
    > city-wide neighborhood resource/organizer so it
    > works
    > well. I believe he’s spoken to other people within
    > District 4.
    > Please pass this message on to other neighborhood
    > groups
    > in Planning District 4. There is also a writer from
    > the
    > Times-Picyune who wants to do a focus piece on
    > district 4,
    > his name is Keith Darsy 504-826-3491. We want to
    > make sure
    > the public knows that we are working together and
    > pushing
    > forward while we try and work and wait for the city
    > to
    > help plan etc etc.
    > Comments?
    > Sincerely,
    > Paul A.R. Ikemire
    > Director, PNOLA
    > (877) 895-1841
    > director@pnola.org
    > http://www.pnola.org