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Story #8

The eighth article about our renovation appeared in the Times-Picayune this morning.


Saturday, July 22, 2006
Stephanie Bruno Contributing writer

NOTE: This week, we revisit Christy Paxson and Bart Everson, whose North Salcedo Street house is taking shape with a new stair and a few interior walls framed in the basement. But the couple is waiting for a plumber and electrician before the walls can be closed. So while they wait, they’ve found other concerns to occupy their time.

Workers have shifted their focus from inside to outside at Christy Paxson and Bart Everson’s house lately, tending to the siding that sheathes the ground-level basement.

“When the exterior walls were reframed, we kept a lot of the original siding,” Everson said. “But some new siding was laced in. Now the crew has to get all of it ready for painting.”

That means long hours doing the tedious work necessary to ensure a good and lasting paint job.

“They’re caulking around the windows and doors, also some of the places where the siding pieces come together,” Everson said. “And they’re sanding all of the old wood, both the siding and the trim around the windows and doors, to make a smooth surface for receiving the primer, and then the new paint.”

The prospect of applying the new paint has raised a new issue for the couple.

“Of course the wood has to be primed — that’s no big deal,” Everson said. “But Christy and I have to talk about what to do next. Do we try to match the color upstairs? We could try, but it probably wouldn’t be an exact match. So does that mean we have to paint the whole house? The upstairs probably needs it, but repainting the whole place is an expense we haven’t really budgeted for.”

Everson says the solution for now is just to prime the siding on the lower level and wait to see how the renovation finances work out.

If the uncertainty bothers him, it isn’t evident. Nor is he impatient as he waits for the plumber.

“I spoke to our contractor, Mike Kaplan, about it a few days ago, and he says the plumber should be here by next week. In the meantime, there’s plenty for the workers to do.”

One task was to complete the installation of the basement door the couple managed to snare.

“We scoured retailers and salvage places, but couldn’t find the right one,” Everson said. “A friend gave us one that she had rescued from a trash pile, but it was too big. When Christy returned it, she gave us another salvaged door to try, and it fits perfectly.”

Everson said that while work proceeds on his house, his neighborhood’s planning efforts have occupied much of his time. He finds he spends almost seven nights a week on the process, either at meetings or subcommittee get-togethers or working on Web applications.

“The meetings have been running me ragged, but in a good way,” he said. “Our neighborhood is in Planning District 4, which includes everything from Gert Town to the 7th Ward to Mid-City. We also have Mid-City Neighborhood Association meetings; those are a subset of the larger District 4 meetings.”

Everson said the Mid-City group has organized itself into 12 subcommittees to methodically address the myriad aspects of developing a well-designed plan for the area’s future.

“The process is incredibly inspiring,” he said. “Dozens of people from the community are working on different aspects of the plan, and they’re dreaming big dreams about how to bring our neighborhood back in the best way.”

Despite the dreaming, Everson said he and his neighbors are realistic: “We can come up with a wonderful plan, but what happens then? Long-term community involvement and oversight are critical. So how do we do it?”

Everson is optimistic. Perhaps it’s because he has adjusted his expectations to match current New Orleans realities, as he wrote recently in his blog: “Today was a good day. Our garbage was picked up. Our mail was delivered. The electricity only went out once, and only for a brief while.”

. . . . . . .

Stephanie Bruno can be reached at

Published inOur House


  1. the reasoning for the trapped doors in louisiana is because of the flooding problem. the trapped doors would open for flooding waters so that the house would not float and it would be easier for cleanup.

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