How long have you lived in your neighborhood?
I purchased my home at on the 2300 block of Conti Street in April of 2015, but I was born and raised in New Orleans. I’m proud to be a resident of the Tulane-Canal Neighborhood Association (TCNA).
What do you love about your neighborhood?
I hate driving! I love being in the Mid-City area because it’s close to everything. I’m a nursing student at LSU HSC and am employed at Crescent Care Clinic and Tulane Hospital, both of which are just minutes away. I also love being close to City Park and the Lafitte Greenway, because I love to run. The Greenway’s paths to the park are well-lit and heavily trafficked with other bikers and runners. I can feel safe while enjoying my run. Being able to walk to the French Quarter or Broad Street Theater is priceless to me. I also love the diversity in the people of my neighborhood. It’s one of the reasons that I always wanted to stay in NOLA. I love that I can look down my street and see both young professionals and retired elderly. Everyone contributes something special in their own way.
What successes have you had in your neighborhood association?
So when my partner, Jason, and I purchased the home last April, we just assumed that we were part of the Mid City Neighborhood Association (MCNO). One day, we were volunteering at a trash pick up event along Lafitte Greenway and learned that the MCNO boundary was actually Broad Avenue. After more research, I learned that no neighborhood association even existed for my area, the boundaries of which consisted of Broad Ave., Saint Louis St., Claiborne Ave., and Poydras St. So my partner and I then reached out to neighbors, mostly through social media like Nextdoor and Facebook, and met for coffee. What started with just 6 or 7 of us has grown to an official neighborhood association with monthly meetings with attendance averaging in the 30s to 40s. I’m currently the President of TCNA. While I have the best of intentions, I’m certainly not very experienced with running a neighborhood association. Fortunately, Councilwoman Cantrell’s office and the Mayor’s Office and even surrounding neighborhood associations like MCNO have been tremendously helpful and are coaching me patiently and lending to me every available resource. While still in our infancy, our neighborhood has had several successful neighborhood cleanups, partnered on several NPPs with local businesses, and appropriately advocated for local residents in City Hall Chambers.
Do you have any upcoming events or projects?
We do plan to host something for the “Night Out Against Crime” in October. Once the weather cools, we also will be having more neighborhood cleanups. We just had a “Mixer” at Avery’s Restaurant on Tulane Ave. last week with our neighbor, MCNO. It was fun but also a great networking opportunity for neighbors, so I look forward to more of those. We are working with the "Welcome Table New Orleans" on some upcoming projects and are always thrilled to support the ReFresh and Lafitte Greenway folks with all the things they have going on. Meanwhile, however, the residents remain acutely focused on resolving the bigger problem of our area, which is still blighted property. We have so many overgrown lots and abandoned buildings that harbor unhealthy behavior and dangerous activity. While it is refreshing to see spots of progress, it is not nearly reaching the potential that it should.
What advice would you give to other neighborhood leaders?
My best advice to other neighborhood leaders is to learn the resources of your community. New Orleans is a terrific city with amazing people. Get to know them and find out what they can contribute. Everyone is useful in their own way. Help others realize their potential to improve the community and that everyone’s opinion matters. Don’t be scared to think outside the box. Listen to the concerns of your neighbors, but listen to understand. Don’t just give them time to speak and move on with your own agenda. When you disagree, and there will always be disagreement amongst neighbors, remind your neighbors to attack the issue, not the group. Criticize the policy, not the official. Condemn the behavior, not the person. The rest is just time management and staying organized.