According to a story in the morning paper, our neighborhood has four months to prove its viability.
This is according to the new plan from the mayor’s Bring New Orleans Back commission. (Actually it’s supposed to be unveiled this afternoon. I guess someone leaked it to the paper.) It appears to be a compromise between two extremes. Months ago, the Urban Land Institute proposed a “phased redevelopment” plan, which would have held off redevelopment of badly flooded areas, at least for the time being. A lot of people didn’t like that, particularly if they lived in one of those areas. So other folks began to advocate for more of a “market driven” approach: Let people rebuild everywhere, and let the market decide what’s viable. Conservatives seemed to favor the strong government approach, and liberals seemed to favor letting the market decide. Kind of the opposite of what you’d expect. At least that’s my half-baked analysis.
But the new plan is a compromise. It kicks the question out to the various neighborhoods. If they were badly flooded, they will have to prove their viability. They’re using the City Planning Districts; we’re in District #4, most of which was flooded.
So now we’ve got something to prove. I’m not sure exactly how we do that, but I’m thinking the Mid-City Neighborhood Organization will play a role. And I’m pretty confident that our neighborhood will come back, given our central location.
There’s a lot of interesting stuff in the plan about mass transit and bike paths and so forth, but that will tend to be overlooked right now because all attention will be focused on who can rebuild where.
Of course, this plan is just a proposal. It’s not binding. All sorts of people have to sign off on it. But at first glance, at least, it seems like a “good enough” plan to me. Right now New Orleans desperately needs some clarity of focus for all the efforts that are underway.
I’m sure it has flaws, though. For one thing, what about all the displaced New Orleanians who want to return but who lost their homes and jobs and therefore have no place to live in the city now? How are their voices going to be heard?
If they haven’t returned by now they most likely never will. If they are property owners who lost home and job, without a job the home is useless.
Jobs for white collar workers have all been filled. If you want to work in the service industry or have a specific construction skill there are jobs available. Even city jobs for the bureaucracy is too low paying for those workers to find decent housing.
There needs to be a citywide push to help not only homeowners, but also landlords to rebuild.
I’m wondering the same thing about how residents are going to coordinate and be heard – particularly those who don’t currently have contact with their neighbors. Many evacuated pretty far…
This will take some monumental coordination by neighborhood groups.
But it seems like these plans and proposals just follow one after another. I know we have to get the ideas on the table but I’m still feeling a lack of effective leadership, and I sense the mayor is feeling the uncetainty all around him too. Will he be re-elected in April? Does he even want to be. And lastly, while I’m here, and a little juiced up on the coffee, I just want say–because I know Entergy Corp is a faithful Brox reader–would you, Entergy, please turn on my f-ing gas and electricity now.
What becomes of areas that fail to prove their viability?
“but in the four month period when the fine print is hashed out over who can build where, all renovation will be halted in the flooded zone” ?????? I am now strongly getting the feeling that the master planners don’t want us in our neighborhoods, if we ain’t so damn lucky to be on “the Island.” So now I need the mayor to get back on TV and Radio and tell the all of us he said could come back, to get the hell out, while we decide what’s best for you.
I think the planners just want to coordinate residents/businesses first and find out what their intentions are . . . on paper, so they can then develop a plan. While the renovation moratorium also raises my suspicions, a plan would be good before people start bustin their butts and spending money.
It looks like these planning meetings will be formal and very visible. The role of neighborhood associations will be very useful for the residents to evaluate their needs/wants/problems against what the city proposes. The Mid-City group is solid and vocal so you guys really do have a lot going for you already. It’s easy to find out a contact for your association. I might have it somewhere from the Rock-N-Bowl rally.
Viability will probably look slightly different from neighborhood to neighborhood and this may be why there isn’t a list of criteria available now ???? but being a part of the discussion will be critical. I do think they will be evaluating viability on paper first. Utilities, Jim Louis? Yeah, that would be a great start.
The Mid-City Neighborhood Organization website is at mcno.org — and guess who’s the new webmaster?
Hip Hip Hooray ! That’s really great, it feels good to do something tangible. I noticed your link after I posted…I am whacked out on decongestants, a bit more retarded than usual.
[…] January 11th: The mayor’s Bring New Orleans Back plan indicates neighborhoods will have four months to prove their viability. As we’ll all learn, however, the BNOB planning process itself proves not to be viable. […]