Minutes of the Meeting of the General Membership of theIrish Channel Neighborhood AssociationJuly 12, 2007
President Ed McGinnis convened the meeting. The June meeting minutes were approved.
There being many new attendees, introductions were made around the room, and welcome extended to all.
Councilwoman Stacy Head took the floor after an introduction by Ed, who announced she would be speaking to the blighted housing issue in the city. He passed around a binder with photos and a chart he and Michelle Kimball made in the spring, detailing the blighted properties within the Irish Channel.
Ms. Head stated that her blighted house program will focus on the Irish Channel, because of all the work that has gone into the binder, which will make her job much easier. She is attempting to get NORA funding to assist. She reported that Cheryl Guy has gotten approval to seize and sell properties with health code liens.
She is going to start with five properties before moving more deeply into those listed in the binder. Those addresses are:
- 2900 Annunciation
- 2342 Chippewa
- 4839 Constance
- Lyons Street (not in the Irish Channel)
- 2815 Annunciation
She believes these will go to sheriff sale within the next 6 months.
NORA has promised to use Ed’s list as part of their pilot program to push these through.
Belvia Isabelle stated that she believes 2342 Chippewa is currently under renovation, by a new owner who obtained the property through NORA.
Asked what the best way to deal with blighted properties, Ms. Head advised contacting the Good Neighbor program, then the Health department.
Asked how a citizen would know what sort of a violation they were dealing with (whether it was a health code issue, for instance), Ms. Head said that unfortunately it is currently up to the citizen to determine who to call. Checking the City Hall website will help with this process. However, she believes that when the Good Neighbor program is improved over the next few months, much of this confusion will be resolved.
A citizen raised a concern about crime, specifically about the St. Vincent’s corner store. He stated there have been gun battles and robberies. Ms. Head stated that her resources are focused upon Nick’s grocery on the corner of Washington and Annunciation, but that some of those same tactics may be used to help with the situation.
Asked what action she was taking about Eddie Jordan, the District Attorney, she stated she doesn’t support the call for his being recalled. It would be almost impossible to actually force him from office, and she does not want to alienate him further. He has eighteen months left in his term, and she does not want to go into that time constantly doing battle. She is heartened that his office has hired 8 new prosecutors with violent offender experience. The prosecutor for the case that has gotten so much press coverage where a violent offender was released had only five years of experience.
Ed McGinnis thanked Stacy Head and proceeded to give his notes:
He has been attending other neighborhood association meetings as well as giving presentations on legislative candidates.
There is a cleanup planned for July 23rd.
The neighborhood participated in a Silence is Violence march starting at Sophie’s Ice Cream parlor, winding through the Irish Channel, ending up at Rue de la Course. Captain Bardy attended.
Announced that there is a Neighborhood Partnership meeting, which will be a summit of various neighborhood organizations in the city. The idea would be to create a powerful force in each neighborhood so that any party looking to build or create change in the neighborhood would have to come to the Association first.
He and Charles Burck met with the pastor at Rachel Sims Baptist mission, and a piece on their organization will appear in the next newsletter
Charles Burck made a motion to invite candidates for our district to come and speak. Seconded by Chris Horrell, passed unanimously.
There was a meeting of the board the previous Monday where the board discussed the roles of the various committees and some of the issues we have to deal with in the near future.
Police & Crime (Karen Chaubert, chair): Encouraged everyone to attend NONPACC meeting the following week and explained what the crime sheets are. Stated that Captain Bardy has recently arrested two suspects in recent house burglaries near Louisiana and Magazine Streets. She also said that Bardy is personally out patrolling the neighborhood.
Chair then went on to explain the differences between “Neighborhood Watch,” which is difficult to implement and must have the participation of all neighbors, vs. “Neighbor Watch,” which is much easier and can be built one person at a time. This would go beyond just watching for crime but includes things such as checking on the elderly, and sharing of phone lists.
Sarah Johnson added that the phone lists are good for getting more people to call the police when there’s an issue. The police will come more quickly when they have multiple complaints.
Ed McGinnis requested that further specifics wait for the Block Captain report.
Chair informed the membership that if they’re having an issue with graffiti, she has a resource to help get it painted over.
Schools (Cele Husing, chair): There are currently two recovery schools in the district, but this charter is only good for three years. On the forth year, something else will happen, but no one knows what. They may go back to the Orleans Parish, perhaps. Laurel St. Elementary school got KaBoom! To come in and help them, and Live Oak has new teachers and there is much hope for the future. Ed McGinnis stated that Live Oak is very eager to work with ICNA.
KaBoom!(Cele Husing, chair): The bill to fund the new KaBoom! Project at the Hill School has been pushed back to October. Ms. Husing has a conference call on Monday with the Kaboom headquarters. She feels we’ve “covered all our bases and are in good shape.” The biggest challenge will be getting many local kids to come to design day. This is a critical piece of the build as it will give the children ownership and they will be less likely to destroy the equipment.
Newsletter(Charles Burck, chair): Newsletter promised within a week or two
Bylaws (Sarah Johnson, chair): Chair announced changes to bylaws. They will be emailed out and voted on next month before turning them over to the attorney.
Membership (Sarah Johnson, Theresa Conrad, co-chairs): Theresa Conrad stated that although there was no work specifically for the committee, a new website was under construction and should be available in the next week or two. The new site will focus on interactivity and security. All opinions from the membership are requested.
Block Captains (Mike Fairchild, chair): Chair explained that this is a brand-new committee that will help the Crime committee implement the Neighbor Watch program. Requested that anyone who would like to get involved speak with him.
Committee reports concluded.
The President opened discussion about the Night Out Against Crime, to be held August 7th. Requested that if members don’t want to host a party, they at least attend one. Detailed for the membership the board’s debate over the location- whether it should be in Clay Square, or combined with an existing party at the corner of 2nd and Constance.
Cele Husing suggested we offer a $50 reimbursement to anyone throwing a party for ice, hot dogs, soda, etc.
Karen Chaubert pointed out that if we are going to implement the Neighborhood Watch program, members should know that these parties are highly recommended by the program. If you do want to have a party, you must register it with the Crime Prevention Unit at 504-658-5588. If you need barricades, they can provide them for free.
Sarah Johnson stated she felt we should have it in Clay Square to help counteract the drugs and crime in the area. Theresa Conrad stated she agreed, and added that in our very first newsletter we stated we were ‘adopting’ the park, and we should stay true to that idea.
Ellen Brandao stated that their party at 2nd and Constance was a big success last year.
Chris Horell made a motion that the party be held in the park, Sarah Johnson seconded. Michelle Kimball amended the motion to be dependant on a treasury report before committing any funds. Budget for Night Out Against Crime to be determined as funds allow.
Cele Husing’s suggestion to reimburse party holders was held for the treasurer’s report as well.
Ed McGinnis suggested we create a big ending for the night, and create a reason for all of the people who held smaller parties to come to Clay Square at the end of the night.
Ed McGinnis made a motion the meeting be concluded, Charles Burck seconded. Motion carried unanimously.
Action Item: St. Vincent’s Corner Store- Councilwoman Stacy Head will set up a meeting with the owners and a translator
Action Item: Investigate integrating gmail calendar into the new website under development.