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Story #11

It’s the eleventh story about our renovation in this morning’s paper.

Saturday, September 09, 2006
Stephanie Bruno Contributing writer

NOTE: With work on their house at a standstill, Bart Everson and wife Christy Paxson dig into their jobs, both paid and volunteer, and find cheer where they can.

Like many New Orleanians working to get their homes back in order post-Katrina, Bart Everson and Christy Paxson are dealing with a project that proceeds in fits and starts. But recently, progress stopped altogether, and problems that surfaced weeks, even months, ago have yet to be resolved.

Everson confesses that he is responsible for delaying some of the work. “Our contractor asked me to make some selections for the downstairs renovation, and I just haven’t had the time,” he said.

Another reason for the delay was a temporary lack of funds, caused by a snafu involving a check from the mortgage company.

Finally, Everson said, “the check arrived and I signed it over to Mike (the contractor) right away. We’re making some headway, though, because he and I got together for a financial debriefing on how much has been spent so far.” Now that the contractor has cash in hand, Everson expects that work will resume soon.

In the meantime, he is devoting many hours to planning efforts in his Mid-City neighborhood and working with others to promote a bike trail along the Lafitte corridor. He and a friend have also started a campaign to raise money to establish a public library in Mid-City to replace the branch that closed in 1958.

Paxson, too, has found plenty to occupy her time despite a lag in the work. A sixth-grade science teacher at Dwight D. Eisenhower Elementary in the Algiers Charter School District, Paxson was present for the parents’ open house several weeks ago. Twenty parents came to talk to her, a far greater number than in the past, she said, and the school seemed serious about students reporting on the first day of classes, which in the past was not a strong suit of Orleans Parish schools.

At home, both Paxson and Everson are finding that Milo — the kitten they “inherited” when their neighbors moved out — is providing a good deal of diversion, especially in his negotiations with other feline members of the household.

Other aspects of the couple’s home life are less amusing. “Hot water is still flowing from the cold water tap and garbage is still in the street,” Everson said. “So basically, we’re still dealing with the same stuff we were dealing with weeks, even months, ago.”

Although the outside of the house won’t be repainted for some time, musing on the colors has proved to be a productive pastime.

“Remember, I decided just to post a picture of the house on my Web log,, and see what people had to say,” Everson explained. “One person agreed that white trim would be too harsh and that her own house was what she called a ‘screaming example of too excited about color.’

Another sent a photo of a house with colors she liked in Indiana, and others suggested Internet sites for picking colors.

“But best of all, we got a response from Louis Aubert, a professional color consultant.”

Aubert, a New Orleanian, was directed to Everson’s blog by friend Karen Gadbois, a leader in the Northwest Carrollton neighborhood group.

“Karen told me about it, and I wanted to offer some advice,” said Aubert, who also advised Long Road Home subject James Perry on his North Miro Street house.

“I suggested a stronger green for the body of the house and a softer pale cream or yellow for the trim. They could paint the stair treads cobalt blue and the window sash and door a strong plum. To complete the effect, they can add reds and orange in flowering plants, especially tropicals, for the punch they’ll bring to the project.”

Everson and Paxson were thrilled to get Aubert’s advice and promised to post a picture once the work is done.
But, Everson cautioned, “Of course, that could be a long time coming. We’ll see how the money holds out.”

. . . . . . .

Stephanie Bruno can be reached at

Published inOur House

One Comment

  1. OT, but I thought you might be interested. Across the street from my house, a yard sign has been put up reading: “Renters Beware! Do not Rent this property. The Landlord is a Slum Lord! from Concerned Neighbors”

    Fwiw, I’ve been in the sixplex and can confirm that it is ill-maintained and pretty slummy, and everything I’ve heard about the landlord is negative.

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