New Orleans’ Update

This is a letter I recently wrote to a friend also on the Gulf Coast as an update on the situation in New Orleans. I am a slacker and this conveniently covers much of what I was planning to write. Will add more as time and internet access permits.

New Orleans is transitioning in its political scope, looking at long-term solutions, such as the office of the inspector general and the successfully tacked on independent police monitor (which i helped do some research on and was in the council chambers today to support). Today, the city council also voted in favor of this vague Master Plan zoning, which is as of yet an unwritten but mandated plan that has to be reviewed at least every five years and no more than once a year. So it’s weird because there are so few safeguards to prevent the zoning plan from taking away individual property rights like the VA-LSU hospital plan in mid-city…you know, that old eminent domain, for the greater good thing. But the zoning plan is a positive for some folks in that it will be a city-wide comprehensive standard that would draw business and development investment into the city, something that many argue is holding back the full recovery.

These are both proposals to add to the City Charter, which can only be changed through a popular ballot vote….to be held in the fall. But it seemed the hardest part was getting them through the city council (and getting the support of the police orgs, which was somehow miraculously done).

Also, there is a burgeoning citizen participation process being developed and I’m attending the inaugural summit this weekend. I’m still ruminating on my role in this whole process, kind of trying to get advice from my landlady who should have gone but doesn’t want to. I will try to bring my full self and that’s all I can do.

Other than that, I’ve been going blueberry picking in MIssissippi several weekends and been making tasty smoothies for these ninety degree days. I was just told, not unusually, that I had something, a lot of something in my teeth–blueberry skins indeed.

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