Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Neighborhood Wish List

I have never been one to get excited by stories in the paper and magazines about up and coming developments in my community. I believe it when I see it. Actually, I believe it when I see people coming in and out of the building. With that in mind I want to discuss my current area of the city. I live right along the border of New Orleans East and Gentilly. There are thousands of people living out here and most of us are middle and working class people. Any given day you can ride around this area and see work being done on houses everywhere. I would argue that besides the affluent non flooded neighborhoods, there is probably more working people in New Orleans East and Gentilly than any other neighborhoods in New Orleans. So why is it when I want to buy a non bootleg CD I have to spend gas and time just to go to the store? I know we are supposed to be all in this recovery together but its obvious no one in control of the money wanted us to move back out here. This may seem petty to most people but by the time I get to a place with a really good cup of coffee to sip on the way to work I am already in the building.

This is not about the obvious things like a hospital or new schools. This is also not intended to disrespect and minimize all the stores like Winn Dixie, Home Depot and Sears that are open already, the small businesses opening up around the area or the Asian and Arab grocers who were here months before anybody else. What I am trying to say is that I want some of the things that are on the Westbank, Metairie, Slidell or Uptown. I think the folks around me make enough money to warrant some of these things. Here is my list. If you want to add to it or tell me about something being built please let me know. Keep in mind we had some of this stuff before the storm. I know we won’t get all of this. I will settle for five and would actually be shocked if we get one anytime soon.

Wal Mart
Best Buy
P J’s Coffee ( I would be in here every morning. They would probably stop charging me after awhile.)
Any Big and Tall Men’s Store
Buffalo Wild Wings
Fox and Hound
Borders Books (because I have a discount card)
A movie theatre (with proper security)
A cigar shop
Martins Wine Cellar
24 hour fitness center with a basketball court
Chuck E Cheese
Cell phone stores from all the major carriers.
Applebee’s, Outback, N.O. Hamburger and Seafood, Bennigans, anything?
Another original restaurant like Sassafras will be ok in place of the names above.
Burlington Coat Factory
Kroger’s( I know we don’t have these in New Orleans but they have the best steaks and beer selection for a grocery chain )
Golden Corral
About three of those 5 min oil change spots.
A really good hibachi restaurant

I think five from this list is fair. We definitely have the space. I have a great idea. How about we tear down that destroyed Six Flags park that is an eyesore and never going to open again. We can take half of that space and give some of these companies free rent. I should send this to Ann Duplessis and hope her lack of a pay raise hasn't affected her ability to open emails.


Anonymous said...

Send this to her black man! If you get five off this list, I'm coming back home.

Anonymous said...

You live right along the border between New Orleans East and Gentilly? I always thought the border between New Orleans East and Gentilly was the Industrial Canal. You don't live in the Industrial Canal, do you? :-)

Ah, now I see: if your senator is Ann Duplessis, you must be on the N.O. East side. Much of my own efforts as a community planning dilettante of late have focused on the center of Gentilly, around Gentilly Blvd. and Elysian Fields, which would at least be more or less on your way home.

I must say that you've provided many more practical suggestions than most of us dilettantes, who tend to speak in generalities about the "New Urbanism", transit-friendliness, mixed-use, and the like. A list of responses would fill up this entire page, so I'll find some other way to get them to you. Here's a sample: the cigar shop is a must, so long as it is called "Ashley Morris' Havana Club"!

Anonymous said...

You forgot one very important entity. A HOSPITAL. I guess they think everybody in the neighborhood die from a gunshot wound; therefore, no need for one.


Anonymous said...

That's a really good list. I would add something like a footlocker, The GAP, Children's Place. What about a whole mall? I would really love a Krisy Kreme! T.

Clifton said...

Actually Kama,
If the levee does what it did before I will live in the Industrial Canal. I am in walking distance so I figure that's the water destined for my living room.

Breez said...

Cliff, let's think of how many of those things we had even BEFORE Katrina? In the East, without crossing "the bridge", you had Wal Mart, Dillard's, Cell phone stores (ahem kiosks) and an okay movie theater.

The closest PJ's to the East was the one near UNO. (I loved the tasted, but am I the only one who thought it smelled just a little bit like armpits.)

An Applebee-esque establishment was ALWAYS a 20 minute trip minimum. IT's downright criminal.

As much as I miss home, I love having access to everything I need (including not one, but TWO Whole Food stores) within about fifteen minutes. I run errands every weekend and still only have to gas up my car once every two weeks. If we could get that (and a suitable school system) in New Orleans, I'd be home faster than you can say "crawfish boil."

Anonymous said...

Nice sense of timing there! There's an event at Dillard next Saturday that could save you a 42-cent stamp to Sen. Duplessis. From the latest NPN newsletter (yes, I get it; in some ways, Honolulu would make a decent NOLA neighborhood!):

"WBOK 1230-AM in New Orleans will host a news conference to discuss the current shortfalls in New Orleans East and Gentilly. We will gather information and solutions from residents which will be presented to Louisiana politicians.

Leaders of the New Orleans East and Gentilly communities will have the opportunity to express community needs and other vital neighborhood issues, with intent to create a vibrant New Orleans East and assist the Gentilly Neighborhood associations in rebuilding these important areas.

When: Saturday July 26, 5:00-7:00 pm

Where: Dillard University Kearny Hall, West Wing"

That will give everybody (except me, alas) an hour to beat feet down to the Quarter for the Ashley memorial event later that night. Sounds like quite a well-rounded evening!