Gentilly Girl- a part of the 99%

September 15, 2008

Mayor Nagin Suspends the NCDC

Here is my letter to the City Council concerning Mayor ( Corporate Capitalist) Nagin’s suspension of the demolition oversight of the Neighborhood Conservation District Committee-

As a co-founder of the Gentilly Civic Improvement Association and the Rising Tide, I am alarmed by Mayor Nagin’s suspension of the NCDC’s oversight over demolitions of homes/buildings.

Yes, there are many places that should be demolished due to unsafe conditions, but many can be saved as their owners are trying to put together the funds with which to finance the repairs. It would be a crying shame if perfectly good homes and buildings are destroyed just because the Mayor has made a “decision”.

You are OUR City Council. You are OUR representatives. You are OUR City’s protection against outrages such as that fomented by Mayor Nagin and his developer friends. As a city, it would be a major loss to have gaping holes within neighborhoods, especially when there seems to be no upkeep on the vacant lots.

New Orleans has a flavor, one that is totally unique in this country. The feel that a person has whilst walking the streets looking at a continuity of History is one of connection and pride of place. It shows how much we love our little place within the suburban sprawl that contaminates most of our country. It’s what makes New Orleans, “New Orleans”.

Please, please don’t let Mayor Nagin begin a wholesale demolition of the city without some form of oversight. My partner and I have invested heavily in rebuilding our home, but some of our neighbors are still struggling to get to where we are right now. They deserve the chance to pull it together, but Mayor Nagin’s decree concerning the suspension of the NCDC takes that chance away.

Mayor Nagin has chosen the wrong path to the restoration of New Orleans. It is up to all of you to keep this City on the right path as we rebuild our wonderful home. Otherwise, we the people of New Orleans may just have to take matters into our own hands to stop this outrageous infingement of our independent rights as homeowners.


Miss Morwen niAnne Madrigal,
Rising Tide

This is how we do it. Sinn Fein!

June 15, 2008

Where Are Our Kid’s Parks?

Filed under: Community Planning,New Orleans,Rebuilding — Morwen Madrigal @ 11:19 pm

Right down the street from us is Perry Rhoem Park. Kids played baseball and football there. Some days you would have trouble getting down Abundance street since there are games going on and every one is parked near there. Folks drag grills to the field in order to make burgers and dogs, and they don’t have kids playing there. It’s a little gem of a place. Nothing but good vibes.

Now I don’t have children. Raised my sibs, and that was enough for this girl. But now, I look at this park, seeing the smiles and frowns of the kids competing in the Past, and I am saddened. FEMA used this place for a trailer park post Federal Flood, and even though the trailers have been gone for many weeks, there is still gravel covering the grounds, power poles and a freakin’ septic system. Where do these kids get to play?

I can’t be an advocate for every park in the city, but Perry Rhoem is now my project. FEMA must restore the park, and I’m looking for good souls to help make it better than before. I want it to be expanded: the kids have a baseball diamond and a football field, but I want basketball courts and more picnic tables so that folks can watch their kids compete. I also want the perimeter treed. I want these kids to have the best, and I will not settle for less than the best for them.

I have seen the private parcels that housed FEMA trailers restored. What about our freakin’ children’s parks? Ya’s know me: I cover many things in the city. Many FEMA trailer lots have been redone, but they are not our children’s parks. They are privately owned properties. I happen to see this as total Bullshit.

Sounds strange coming from the Trans witch, but ya’s know the look on these kids’ faces when they field a grounder or catch that pop fly or hit a home run. The voices of the folks cheering on their little players just playing the sports. I miss that, and I am determined to make things right and better for these kids.

I will fight to get things fixed, but if any of you have an “in” with the Saints or the Hornets, please clue me in. My desire is to get these kids their playground back. And if you find me dragging a grill to the ballpark, just know I’m going to be feeding folks amongst the cheering.

February 29, 2008

Raise the Drawbridge! Release the Gators to the Moat!

The peasants are revolting! (or they might not be… depends on your point of view.)
Lonely is the head that bears the crown. The Defender of New Orleans paces wearily upon the the ramparts of the Fortress of Orleans pondering the rumors that have been brought to light by his operatives in the Kingdom. He looks out into the fog-shrouded night for the glow from and armed crowd. He tries to listen for the creaking wheels of siege engines being moved into position, the sounds of marching feet or the whoosh of an arrow flying by, but alas, there are no sounds such as these tonight just as there is only the glow of street lamps.

The noble Defender stands guard through the night knowing that one day the end is coming. His End and the ending of all of the magnificent works which he so generously gave to the people of the Kingdom. Tears run down his cheeks as he wonders what went wrong…

I call B/S on the above narrative. Our Invisible Mayor is beefing up security at City Hall months after the fracas that accompanied the City Council Meeting that voted for the demolition of the Projects, but only a week after he informed the World that his picture is now on the Aryan websites. (I wonder if that’s what all the new cop toys must be for: protecting the his castle.)

Yes violent crime is up in the City, but since the Flood there have only been the aforementioned skirmish in the Council Chamber in December and the 5k+ March on City Hall to decry the upward spiral of murders here in Jan. ’07. Nothing bad happened at the march, and the probs during the skirmish was limited to a few “outside agitators”. Outside of the fact that City Hall is a bitch to get to work for your needs, it’s a fairly peaceful place (amazing, ‘eh?)

So why the beefing up of security at this time? Is King Amon-C. Ray going to spring some new crap on us in the near future? Will his minions announce the start of more stupid Nagin tricks upon the city? Or did he sell us to Disney?

I really wanna know.

Sinn Fein!

(Note to self: stock up on Greek Fire and arrows. Should get some more torches and pitchforks. Get boots… flats just won’t do for the assault upon anti-logic. Where’s my Captain’s hat? Hitch teh Katz to my chariot!)

February 28, 2008

Nagin’s 39 Pages of “New Rules”

Crossposted to the Wild Wild Left, and Docudharma.

Alright, I’m an anti-blight type of gal. I’ve watched buildings slowly collapse over the last six years since I returned into piles of rubble. Most of the ones I’ve been watching for years still stand, and the City ain’t done Jack concerning them. (Many are owned by churches, Black non-profits (?) and “little people”. The usual suspects.)

Back in ’04 I was trying to purchase a blighted building to create a Trans shelter and education house. Whenever I approached a member of the City with this concept, there was a sputtering sound, accompanied with the sounds of crucifixes banging against the walls. All I was doing was to locate some property and then it was up to me to get support from the Trans community to make it whole. Bingo! One less blighted property in a neighborhood. One gem amongst a block of bits of coal. (not a Racial statement, but one of a geological nature, thank you very much.)

So today, our “Chocolate City” Mayor springs a 39 page revamping document changing the city’s anti-blight rules on the City Council. Needless to say, as a homeowner, I didn’t get a copy, and neither did Betts. I don’t know of anyone else who has seen this document. So we are to just be mushrooms: kept in the dark and fed shit until you decide to “use” us? To fine us? Fuck you Bro! And fuck you with a hayfork.

I am not against many of the prohibitions on the list of offenses, but I am against a wholesale overwhelming of the City Code covering 170 chapters. This “feels” like a takeover and a Disneyization, especially when it comes to the poorer neighborhoods which are primarily Black and poor.

Per the “unknown, and therefore invisible document”: “owners of unoccupied buildings would have to maintain in good repair such decorative features as cornices and trim, keep insect screens on open windows and doors, and repair cracks in foundation walls .” If the place is unoccupied, what’s the point in this? I know many folks who own homes here and there are cracks in their brick foundations. Screens on windows of an unoccupied home? FUCK me now! (There’s no one living there.) Cornices? Shit you fuckmooks, the costs of recreating the cornices and gingerbread could easily pay for 25 sheets of wallboard to make the interior whole and livable. Is Disney trying to require us to keep things looking nice so it won’t cost them too much when they do a corporate takeover of the city as an amusement park?

Will “No-See-Um” Ray become the Mayor of the new Wonka-ville? Will he wear a funny hat? Is there going to be a flowing chocolate river where Bayou St. John once flowed?

Inquiring minds would like to be clued in.

Here’s another one: “unhealthful biological growths” . We have eliminated the two greatest threats to Humanity from our yards: kudzo and St. Augustine grass. I fail to see where theses are “unhealthful growths”, just unsightly pains-in-the-tushes.

Here comes the killer: “Other possible penalties against owners whose properties harm the “public health, welfare, morals, safety and the economic stability” of their neighborhoods could include fines of as much as $500 per day, or foreclosure to collect outstanding liens.” . MORALS? Sweet Zombie Mother Freakin’ Jesus! We are going to legislate morality in this housing shit? Dammit! Most of the offenders of this part of the Code can’t find a trashcan for their McDonald’s shit… they do like at home: drop it on the floor. Morality? Fuck babies, clothing is optional in our courtyard (I’m the only one who will go sky-clad in the side yard for my morning prayers). If some purient cross-wearer peeks over our security fences and sees naked bodies running around and reports it, we’re in violation of this new Code? Fuck you again Mr. “Shouldn’t Be” Mayor. “Morality”? What about your dealings with folks that do not involve prior information (like more than a 24 hour heads up) before you bulldoze their homes? “Morality”? Does that mean anything that would upset the Disneyites visiting our Sacred City?

I want that 39 page report in my inbox in the morning Mr. Nagin. (Your minions can pull that one off, right?) I want a copy of that document in every homeowners’ hands by Monday you massive whack-job. We are the constituants, the Council are our representatives, and you aren’t God passing down the Golden Tablets about how things will be here. It’s OUR city you congenital idiot. (You can run back to Dallas when the shit hits the fan, but we live here.)

The Council will consider this on March 21st… okay, I want copies of this document in all homeowners’ hands by the 7th. We are the homeowners of the City, so we should get some say on this shit… savvy?

Or do you have a hidden agenda with these kinds of pronouncements?

February 11, 2008

Looking Back… (A Memory)

Here is another look back at the first few months post-Federal Flood here in New Orleans. At the time Betts and I were in SoCal, and the only way for me to “be with” Gentilly was to use an e-list.This letter started a movement to build a community association, and ultimately it did. (Just not exactly my version of the dream.)
(posted to Docudharma)   GentillyGirl :: Looking Back…
Maybe it’s just a melancholy nature, maybe it’s inherent memory of things, but I’ve started looking back at some of my writings  post-Deluge and what has become of my observations. Maybe I’m just searching old ammo to try to stop what I am beginning to see in the UNOP (Unified New Orleans Plan stuffs, especially the limited performance demographically within these “meetings”.I wrote this to Gentilly After Katrina on Samhain, 2005. These are my thoughts that helped to start the GCIA. Now that all of us in the city are in Phase Two of the rebuilding torture, I hope that this reminds us all of what we aspired to accomplish when we got involved with the recessitation of New Orleans.

Dear Gentilly folks,

In Life, we all must live within the circumstances of
our own individual existences… that’s a given. It IS
the way of the World.

For those who for whatever reason will not return, may
you find peace and prosperity in a new place. May it
bring you joy, and may the hurts of what happened to
New Orleans and yourselves be soothed over the coming

Myself… we’re going back, even if it means that our
little house becomes Imladris, the “Last Homely House”
on the edge of a modern day Dresden. Our lamps will
shine, and yes, I will be heartbroken to not see a
mirroring gleam in the shadows, but we will go back

Many of us shall.

Yes, even with our limited resources and years
remaining, putting our lives into the hole so to
speak, we will return to rebuild this city, and it
will become the wonder of the 21st Century. New
Orleans shall become the example of what can be done
when the Spirit is called upon. It will be a memorial
to the soul of a wonderful collection of people that
the modern world rarely sees: New Orleans culture.

This is what makes up “History”, and anything less is
an insult to the memory of those who built the place
and survived through almost three hundred years of
various misfortunes and Blessings.

I stated this concept before on this list… those who
wish to rebuild must band together in order to survive
the next few years. We need to have the strength that
comes from a chorus of voices in the face overwhelming
odds and modern-day demands. Vox clamantis in Deserto,
(the Voice crying in the Wilderness”), will not
suffice in our situation.

Take a look at the banality of what passes for life in
most of our cities… cold, cruel, and cultureless.
Everything is the same, and everyone has the same
nameless identities. They are all exchangable and

Does that sound like anything we had here in this

Is this all that Life is supposed to be?

Shall the cheap triteness of Post-Modern civilization
be the only thing that our descendants ever know?

Doesn’t work for me, just as it doesn’t work for many

The problems of Old New Orleans, (graft, corruption,
enforced poverty, segregation.), in many ways have
died with the Katrina disaster. New visions will lead
to a better city, a city where every human being, no
matter who or what they “are”, will be welcomed and
valued. A place that is truly a “City upon a Hill”.

It can only happen if we speak and act, not the fools
and stupid concepts that led us to this disaster over
the many decades…

We are the ones who can create an equitable society.
We shall be the people that control their destinies.
We are the Spirits that will say, “No more”, to those
who just use folks up and throw them away.

All of us, no matter one’s particular situation in
Life, are worth more than that.

Let’s get this baby up and running, rebuild Gentilly,
and help restore the Spirit of the city we all love
and cherish. I’m ready.

Her Blessings!

Morwen Madrigal,
Sugar Hill

September 26, 2007

If What Kind of Locality Defines Us as a People…

… then head thyself to this great discussion. It is hilarious, insightful and damning of how Modern American building and architecture in their hubris, especially over the last sixty years, have created a living Hell we call Suburbia. Watch the whole video… the last five minutes are very important as the discussion turns to what this truly means to us as a Culture.
Much like the Humid Haney, this is why I live in New Orleans. Spending over three decades away from my hometown, most of the places I lived were soulless, deadening… non-Human. There is no “Sense of Place”… no sense of connection with anything or anyone. Here I’m a citizen. In this place I feel connected with my neighbors and friends. New Orleans is a Real Culture, and I revel in that.

The thing is: all of what is good here will die if we let the demons of the Past that fled towards their Suburbia attempt to recreate the schlock that defines the suburbs in our city. It is a dead end, and our souls are in peril if it happens.

May 2, 2007

A Park vs. A Shopping Mall

I enjoy reading the New Yorker’s “New Orleans Journal”. Yesterday’s entry concerned a trip down the Lafitte Corridor  which many of us here in the City would like to reclaim as a walking park as opposed to it’s current use: a three-mile long junkyard. As I read further into the piece a sickening thought hit me: the Victory development group wants to build their retail center right through the heart of the Corridor!

Sure enough, as I read on, this conversation pops up in the article:

“A Georgia developer called Victory Real Estate Investments is trying to get permission from the City Council to hollow out twenty acres of mid-city in order to build a suburban-style shopping mall, which would bisect the Lafitte Corridor. As currently proposed, the site would include a hundred-ninety-thousand-square-foot Target, an eighty-thousand-square-foot Dick’s Sporting Goods, an eighty-thousand-square-foot Bed Bath & Beyond, a fifty-thousand-square-foot book superstore, and more than a hundred and thirty thousand square feet of other shops, surrounded by twenty-five hundred sun-baked surface parking spaces. For a city as pedestrian-friendly as New Orleans, it is a stunningly wrongheaded idea. What’s more, it might end the dream of the Lafitte Corridor. But, as Geoff put it, “This is a hard time for the City Council to say no to anyone who wants to drop tens of millions of dollars.” 

Now, I knew that Victory was planning retail development in Mid-City, but I didn’t realize that they wanted to build one massive project as described above. This is NOT what we need here in the City, especially in the Mid-City area. This will become a blight on the landscape, an ugly paw of the suburban mindset clawing it’s way into our quaint little landscape. The traffic alone cannot be handled by our small streets, and Carrollton with the trolley line, will become a nightmare. Our infrastructure is not set up for this kind of development.

I say that Phase One of the Corridor project should start today, and that all concerned citizens of the City stay on the asses down at City Hall to force Victory to change it’s plans and come up with a more decentralized shopping scenario.

April 7, 2007

“Big Box vs. New Orleans” Petition

Thanks to Think New Orleans, I got word about a petition concerning a retail developer that wishes to build a strip mall right in the middle of Mid-City. Please sign it if you care for the way our city gets rebuilt.

Do we really desire to live in a pseudo suburbia? Could we actually want traffic to congest major streets, tying up time and burnt gas, giving us pollution probs? What’s going to happen with the local stores, especially ones that are trying to get reopened? Will the “feel” of NOLA be replaced by the onslaughts of development that ignores the style of living we enjoyed here pre-Flood?

Can you NOT imagine a day when automobile-driven siting will result in deserted strip  malls pocketed in many parts of the city whilst we are using Transit, walking and using bikes shopping in our neighborhoods? 
If your answer to any question is no, then please sign this petition.

March 19, 2007

More on Nagin’s Conspiracy Theory …

Well, Mayor “Chocolate City” Ray started spouting crap this last Thursday at a conference, and it seems to be running in the Blogs and MSM.

Facing South has a great Progressive take on the real story here in NOLA .

Good paragraph from the piece:

“Treating property ownership as the sine qua non for policy consideration didn’t raise any eyebrows locally or nationally, except among the ranks of those who were left out. Neither the black Mayor nor the majority-black City Council has shown initiative in taking into account, much less defending, the interests of poor New Orleanians. The city’s evacuation plans notoriously failed to anticipate adequately poor people’s circumstances and needs. Landlords began evicting tenants without a hint of due process as soon as water receded and rumors spread of possibilities for extracting exorbitant rents from construction workers. The state officially prohibited evictions before October 25, but that prohibition was academic for the tens of thousands of people dispersed in shelters around the region and nation. And even that minimal right was flagrantly ignored with impunity. New Orleans City Council president Oliver Thomas complained in February that government programs and agencies had “pampered” poor people and proclaimed that they should not be encouraged to return. As he put it, “We don’t need soap opera watchers right now.” At least one other black councilmember expressed support of his view, as did the New Orleans Housing Authority receiver.”

If “No See’um Ray” wants to face the “enemies” of New Orleans, he should first take a look in his freakin’ mirror.

The same goes for Oreo Oliver Thomas. Yes you assholes, I have your freakin’ Racist numbers. Come down on me for my statements little boys. I’ll even make it smaller for you little boys since I am a “Momma”. Shitheads… Momma rules you morons.

March 5, 2007

New Orleans- 18 Months Post-Flood

Professor Bill Quigly has written up a piece for the Louisiana Weekly that is a spot-on take on what our city is doing and not doing a year and a half after the Federal Flood.

Here’s a snip from the middle of the report:

“It is impossible to begin to understand the continued impact of Katrina without viewing it through the lenses of race, gender and poverty. Katrina exposed the region’s deep-rooted inequalities of gender, race and class. Katrina did not create the inequalities; it provided a window to see them more clearly. But the aftermath of Katrina has aggravated these inequalities.

In fact if you plot race, class and gender you can likely tell who has returned to New Orleans. The Institute of Women’s Policy Research pointed out “The hurricanes uncovered America’s longstanding structural inequalities based on race, gender, and class and laid bare the consequences of ignoring these underlying inequalities.”

The pre-Katrina population of 454,000 people in the city of New Orleans dropped to 187,000. The African-American population of New Orleans shrank by 61 percent or 213,000 people, from a pre-Katrina number of 302,000 down to 89,000. New Orleans now has a much smaller, older, whiter and more affluent population.”

We, “The 200,000″, aren’t the ones dragging out the rebuilding process of the Metro area, it’s that business and politicians are the big impediments to creating a healthy city. It is their expectations of big money and their bigotries that are at play here. The rest of us just want our lives and city back.

Sinn Fein

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