Confessions Of A Neighborhood Leader

Sun, 12 Mar 2006 03:17:52

It has NOT been a quiet week in Lake Wobegone. I went to community spirited type meetings two nights in a row. I’m not your basic corporate or organizational type so I’m not fond of committees. The only kind of meetings I like are short ones. But as a post-K neighborhood leader I could go to a meeting every night if so inclined which I’m not. I did however survive the meetings this week without losing my sanity such as it is. <heckling erupts from the virtual bleachers>

Item-1 Showdown In The Hood:
There’s an old African-American Methodist church in my area which has been in bad shape for quite some time. Our neighborhood is the Neville’s ancestral turf: the church is not far from both Art’s house and the house his Uncle George (Big Chief Jolly) Landry lived in which was inherited by Charles Neville. It’s Neville country y’all but only Art is here post-K.

I’m a preservationist as well as a nut so I spent several years trying to help save the church along with the good people at the Preservation Resource Center and others. About one year pre-K we thought our ship had come in: someone bought the church who pledged to save it and convert it into 4 condos. It was pretty rickety pre-K so I expected it to come down during the storm. It was still standing but the owner now wants to demolish it. It only gets worse and it was all because of one of those pesky meetings.

The owner/developer called a neighborhood meeting to show us the plans for the new project. It’s uglier than Mr. Moron’s hairy ass y’all. It looks like a badly designed suburban dentist’s office. It gets worse: they want to build a four-story building with 19 condos with the lowest priced ones fetching 275K. The developer is using Katrina as an excuse to stick us with a Yuppie ghetto. Here it is try not to vomit:

To use an inelegant but apt phrase this is a very tall pile of dogshit. The worst thing about a very bad project is that some poor bastard’s house is swallowed up by this monster.

The meeting was tense and featured yelling screaming and accusations of racism. It was as ugly as the building. Fortunately the developers need a zoning variance for this atrocity to be as tall as in the plans. It’s going to be a long struggle. Me I’d rather blog about Crazy Kim than fight some greedhead developer but what can ya do?

Item-2 You Say Debate I Say Forum: It’s election season which means its candidate forum season as well. I’ve staged two in the past and even met two of Dollar Bill’s daughters because Jalila Jefferson was one of our debaters/forumites. Anyway this time I won’t have to do it all alone. Woo-hoo. I met with other neighborhood leaders to plan a forum for candidates running for Council District B which is currently held by Council Clown Gill-Pratfall. This was the civilized meeting; held in the swanky boardroom of  Trinity Episcopal Church in the Garden District. Trinity has a great music program and the boardroom was alive with the sound of music. I looked for Richard Rogers but he wasn’t there; neither was Christopher Plummer he was too busy acting in every movie made in the last 2 years.

This was the civilized meeting which makes me wonder how they screwed up and let me in. Oh that’s right I went with Dr. A. Nobody would bar the door to Dr. A; nobody would even dare.

The most interesting thing about this meeting was that I met Mitch and Mary Landrieu’s sister who is a dead ringer for the Senator. I’m glad she doesn’t have her brother’s hairline…

Item-3 Dollar Bill Jefferson Watch: It’s now been 23 days since the WaPo’s “Dollar Bill better start packing for prison” story and the local press remain in booster mode. It looks like journalistic malpractice to me y’all. It’s relevant:  Dollar Bill’s machine is cranking up for its candidates including Gill-Pratfall. Wake up local newsies.”

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