People Get Ready

[ make levees, not war ]

People are doin’ it for themselves

Posted by schroeder915 on July 18, 2006

Where was The Times-Picayune? The Associated Press was there. So was ABC 26 and Adam Nossiter of the New York Times. I hope I’m mistaken, but I didn’t see any other reporters there.

Among 73 official New Orleans neighborhoods, Broadmoor is now the only second one with their own plan to rebuild (after Gentilly released theirs in May). Lakeview paid for a rebuilding plan to be drafted, but Broadmoor hit the pavement and assembled what will be — no joke — the model for urban planners for decades to come. The incredible irony, and the cause for celebration, is that Broadmoor was one of the neighborhoods that Mayor Nagin’s Bring New Orleans Back Commission put a big green dot on top of.

The 400 or so Broadmoor residents who viewed the first major grass-roots neighborhood plan to be released in the city of New Orleans might be forgiven for thinking they’d be better off to just become an independent township with their own mayor, council, and newspaper. If they’re forced to undertake DIY neighborhood planning, and to get DIY media coverage, why bother with a do-it-for-yourselves (unless-I-can-help-myself) mayor? Why bother with a newspaper that spreads itself so thin trying to cover every beat from Plaquemines to St. Tammany that it misses the biggest story since Hurricane Katrina to happen in the very city which contains its core readership?

In fairness to local politicians, Stacy Head was there. C. “Oreo” also accepted an invitation to show up as an observer — and I think he was “shown up” if you know what I mean. He sat directly in front of me, so I didn’t get to see his jaw drop. After the presentation, Nagin was notably humbled (or was that pandering to a mildly hostile constituency that voted for the other guy), and answered questions. I wasn’t surprised that Nagin didn’t provide many confident answers — just more “Mr. Cool” acknowledgements of the set of problems the city faces, like pumps that don’t work to capacity, and water pipes beneath the streets that lose 70 percent of their cargo before it gets to the tap. Oh sure, it’s just possible — maybe — that the Sewerage and Water Board is getting around to fixing the problem, but we wouldn’t know, because “Our Mayor” doesn’t have anything to say to us about what his administration is doing to rebuild the most devastated city in American history.

One thing Nagin did confess is that the Broadmoor plan to rebuild from the people up was his plan all along. That would be commendable if he played an active role in supporting those endeavors.

Hasn’t it occurred to you Ray Ray that we need a daily situation report? How about a daily press conference Ray Ray? Okay? Just a whisper in our ears every once in a while in between your little ingratiating speaking tours to far-flung destinations? Toss us a bone now and again? Pretty please?

By the way, is it possible that Greg Meffert bailed out because he didn’t want to be the last guy to go down with the ship?

As another aside, it was difficult not to fall under the spell of that wicked shine on Ray Ray’s skull — but I found the will to resist by thinking about oreo cookies instead.

A little bird told me that the Broadmoor meeting will probably be featured on this coming Saturday’s Community Gumbo.

And yes … since some of us have started annoying humoring each other with the song meme, I was thinking of Annie Lennox and Aretha Franklin when I wrote the title of this post.

Related:

Blogging New Orleans — Glimpses of survivors after a neighborhood meeting…

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