I seem to have gotten myself onto the board of not one but four (4) community organizations. That sounds kind of crazy, but let me break it down.

First of all there is Think New Orleans. I believe I am technically on the board of Think New Orleans, but I’ve acted mostly in an advisory capacity, as someone for the principal (Alan Gutierrez) to bounce ideas off of on occasion. I helped orchestrate a couple of workshops here at the University which went pretty well. Other than that, I haven’t done much. Sometimes I feel a little guilty about that, but in another way I’m grateful that this hasn’t come to represent a big time commitment, for reasons that should become obvious….

Then there is the Mid-City Neighborhood Organization. I was elected to the board last month. The election itself was a little iffy, but this is New Orleans after all. Anyway, I’ve been the webmaster for MCNO for the better part of the last year. I also set up and run a neighborhood discussion group sponsored by MCNO. I helped write the new bylaws. I’ve been attending all the board meetings for months now. I figured it made sense to formally seek a place on the board. I’ll be chairing a Communications & Outreach Committee. All this despite some long-standing reservations about the group. This organization has gone through many phases in its 30-odd years. I want to be a part of the latest incarnation. I hope MCNO will play a key role in the revitalization of our neighborhood.

Next is the Friends of Lafitte Corridor. I feel a certain pride in FOLC because I helped get the group started with the 2nd Annual Hike of the Lafitte Corridor last May. We’re working to build a greenway with bicycle and pedestrian trails and some park-like aspects through three-miles of inner-city New Orleans. I ran for the board because I’m an everyday bike commuter and I live within 500′ of the corridor. I thought it was important to have that perspective on the board. I cautioned that I would be able to serve in an advisory capacity only. They still elected me. This group is exciting because it has tangible goals and a definite momentum. FOLC has already secured a couple grants. However, I can’t take credit for any of the groups’ accomplishments. Other FOLCs have been doing the hard work, not me.

And finally there’s the Urban Conservancy. I was flattered when this group of supersmart folks asked me to join the board. They’ve been around for a few years, and I have great respect for the work they’ve done, especially the Stay Local project. I’m still trying to figure out what I can contribute.

So, my main goal in 2007 will be maintaining my sanity and a sense of perspective and not getting over-committed in all this volunteer work. I’m at definite risk of spreading myself too thin, which could make all my contributions superficial and/or drive me crazy. But I’m hopeful that I can strike the right balance.

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