Gentilly Girl- a part of the 99%

February 22, 2007

The Demon Inside…

Filed under: Gentilly,New Orleans — Tags: , — Morwen Madrigal @ 9:03 pm

17 months ago a handful of us spent many hours and lots of money to defend Gentilly post-Flood (GCIA- Gentilly Civic Improvement Association) . We created an umbrella association to aid the various neighborhood associations in their rebuilding… to make sure they were not forgotten. Now, as I’m leaving the Board, a few renegades, whose motives I cannot decipher, are calling themselves D6CC and are attempting to add yet another layer to the rebuilding process.

Their main member, Dr. Marty Rowland, subverted the desires of three small neighborhoods that we initially included in the GCIA family: South Sugar Hill, St. Roch Bend and Indian Village. Dr. Rowland lied to me and others about the fact these areas were to be included in District 6. They are not. Now he represents himself as the leader of a new association for Gentilly.

I have to wonder what Dr. Rowland, Karen Parsons and the others who stand with them hope to gain from these actions. Is it about money and power, or fame?

Personally I don’t freakin’ care. I’m only concerned with Gentilly, and I’ll be damned if folks seek a profit for our citizen’s losses. I didn’t spend money and time to create an avenue for cretins to rape the citizens of Gentilly. I think such actions are of the most base kind, and I will work to stop them in their damn tracks.

What a handful of us did after the Flood was meant to help, and now I’m seeing that monsters have stepped in to wreak their will. This cannot stand.

For those associated with this hideosity, come at me assholes. The shit-storm approaches, and I will win. I stand for Gentilly.

October 3, 2006

Know Your District: The Disparate 97th

Okay, a nod to Stephen Colbert is due here or the little “neo-con” poop will probably sue me.

Tonight we start our multi-part series on the 97th State House District. First we will examine the make-up of the area contained within the District. Next will be the current problems each neighborhood faces in the Post-Deluge world. Later we will examine the two candidates in the November 7th General Election and their visions for the District and whether or not this will create improvement for their constituants.

The 97th is a really odd District. It lays across the city from the river to the lake. It contains parts of the Bywater, St. Roch, St. Claude, Gentilly Terrace, Dillard, St. Anthony, Gentilly Woods, Milneburg, Pontchartrain Park, Lake Terrace and Lake Oaks. It’s a maddening example of Gerrymandering, except I can’t understand why any party would want it that way.

Though the majority of the District is residential peppered with small businesses, there is the commercial area along Chef Menteur in the Gentilly area and the light industrial areas of St. Roch Bend and Sugar Hill. The railroad corrider and the Florida canal effectively cut the 97th in half, and it also gives an explanation for the differences between one half and the other.

Starting at the river is the Bywater, haven for Bohemians and fairly prosperous. Most of what is a worry there is retaining the spirit and feel of the area, especially with the coming redevelopment of the river front. Their major battles at this time are to keep rents from spiraling out of control and the possibility of high-rise condos being built. Population Post-Deluge is fairly high there.
Next we come to St.Roch/St. Claude. These areas are predominantly Black (88.2%) and many buildings are in various states of disrepair, blighted being a good term for the worst of them. Except for a smattering of businesses on St. Claude Ave. and spots in the neighborhoods, there is no great Retail presence. Streets are in horrible disrepair. Much of the population has returned.

Lakeside of the railroad corrider things change. The population is mixed, blighted housing is not a major problem, and there were areas of retail establishments unlike the riverside of the corridor. This area was mostly devasted by the Deluge and their population recovery has been fairly slow. It is one of the most heavily organized areas in the city since the Flood and has been singled out as a good test area for the start of the rebuilding efforts.

The 97th has it’s quandries, and our next segment will look at the runoff candidates and their priorities.

August 22, 2006

This is what I do…

Filed under: Civic Blogging,Gentilly,Katrina,Levees,New Orleans — Tags: , , , , — Morwen Madrigal @ 4:13 am

Two more weeks, and I’ll celebrate the anniversary of the start of my blogging about the News Orleans Flood and the destruction of the Central Gulf Coast by Katrina. ‘Tis been a very long year, and I am in no way the person I was back then.

We didn’t have to axe the roof of our house to escape the floodwaters, we had left the day before. First time I ran from a storm, but I couldn’t indulge myself the luxury of being the tough girl: I have loves and responsibilities now. The trip to Houston was filled with tears and waves of horror over what might befall the city that harbored my family for centuries, the city whose fading lights in the distance along the highway filled me with such longing as a child. New Orleans is my home and my fate.

I remember the motel our girlfriend fixed us up with in Houston: the three of us had stayed in the adjacent room two months earlier for Pride and our filming efforts for a band we had just released an album for. One trip was anticipatory, the latter was one of fear. I remember using the ‘puters of the motel to monitor the storm and the city that night. After many hours I packed it in and went back to the room where Betty and Opal were. I was elated to announce that New Orleans had dodged the bullet, and then I went to sleep. How was I to know that in a few hours the levees would fail, not a victim of a hurricane, but of faulty design and construction?

I awoke in the early afternoon, dressed, and made my way to the ‘puter room to check on our city. Right about then was when the reports started coming in about the levee failures. Sitting there, looking at the positions of the breaks, I saw our home, friends and life slowly inundated with water. I watched New Orleans drown. Never in my life have I felt so wretched.

Within a few days our girlfriend out West was sending us info about the entire scenario. I sat with a magnifying glass to pick out our home in the satellite photos looking at the water level in our yard. I looked over other parts of the city and couldn’t see roofs. At least I could see ours. There was video of folks stranded on roofs and Interstate rises… I couldn’t help them: I was eight hours away.

Frustration became a Spiritual neighbor until I started to cover every news and info source that I could. If I couldn’t help in New Orleans, at least I could help those of Her people that had fled prior to the storm’s arrival. My skills as a researcher became my every waking moment, and through the use of my personal website, my New Orleans e-list and my original Blog “Thoughts of the Dark Rose“, I relayed info as it came in. I offered opinions about the whys and hows of what had occured, and viciously stamped down anyone that assumed the city was dead. It became a crusade and a salve to my soul.

We spent three weeks in Houston trying to set up a base of operations for our work, but Rita came along, and we fled for SoCal and our friend’s house. We needed distance to settle ourselves out.

Through these avenues I managed to meet many folks, and I was even able to account for most of our friends in the Diasphora. Some folks on a Gentilly e-list and I started talking about forming a cooperative to aid our neighborhoods through rebuilding: others joined the chorus, and the Gentilly Civic Improvement Association was the result. Now the GCIA is the umbrella organization for 26 neighborhoods that comprise Gentilly. We speak with one voice concerning the rebuilding, and are now slated to become the model area for the recovery efforts in the city.

None of this has been easy. Fact checking and digging source material takes time and effort. There’s also the time spent considering whether that which you have painstakingly researched is actually complete enough to post. Sometimes I have jumped the gun, but fortunately instinct was right, and I didn’t need to post a retraction. It’s a very fine line between feelings and fact.

Those months of exile between Rita and February continued in this fashion until we returned for a Recon vist, and then my Blogging world changed… We reentered our world called New Orleans. That’s when I began to truly understand the “Thousand Mile Stare”.
Part Two soon.

July 7, 2006

Free Cat Neutering & Spaying

Filed under: Gentilly,New Orleans — Tags: , — Morwen Madrigal @ 6:13 pm

Starting Sunday, 7/09 through Thursday, 7/13, the Big Fix Rig will be in Chalmette at the St. Bernard Unified school campus. Pet owners from all Parishes are accepted. Neutering and spaying of cats will be free at a mobile clinic.
Call for an appointment- 504-401-0709.


July 6, 2006

N.O. blazes trail for grant money

Filed under: Community Planning,Gentilly,New Orleans — Tags: , , — Morwen Madrigal @ 5:55 pm

This is certainly good for the rebuilding of the city. I’m glad the the LRA is not holding up the distribution of the Block Grants to homeowners pending a citywide Master Plan.

The first excerpt explains the LRA’s part, and the second concerns some of the Neighborhood Planning Associations.

Work on a combined recovery plan for New Orleans neighborhoods should be complete by December and could later gain the force of law if it prompts major changes to the city’s zoning ordinance or master land-use plan, officials said.

The project’s completion is scheduled for December, months after the Louisiana Recovery Authority is expected to begin doling out billions of dollars in rehabilitation grants and buyouts to individual homeowners, but that should not be cause for concern in New Orleans, said David Voelker, an LRA board member heavily involved in negotiations with city officials.

“They’re able to get them (grants) on the same timetable as before,” he said. “Most of those (homeowners) by now have a pretty good idea of what they want to do, so there’s not reason to hold them up.”

He added, however, that as the neighborhood-specific planning effort plays out through the fall, it may help homeowners still struggling with rebuilding choices.

‘Pivotal step’

Louisiana Recovery Authority officials have fretted that slow neighborhood planning in New Orleans left a gaping hole in their work on a regional blueprint for recovery. But Andy Kopplin, the agency’s executive director, on Wednesday praised negotiations for the so-called Unified New Orleans Neighborhood Plan.

“Our job at the LRA is not to plan for the vision of New Orleans,” Kopplin said.”


“The planning program will take into account independent planning efforts launched early in some neighborhoods, including Broadmoor, Gentilly and Lakeview. A flurry of planning initiatives launched in Gentilly through the Gentilly Civic Improvement Association, and affecting nearly two dozen neighborhoods, make that part of town a model for the citywide effort, officials said.

Decisions that neighborhood residents are now making on rebuilding their homes will influence planning for infrastructure improvements, whether they involve water lines or transit service, Bingler said.”


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