Tulane VISTA Blog

Fighting Poverty with Passion

Field Report: CBNO

Jack-Duffy_headshot

Jack Duffy serves as the VISTA for the Committee for a Better New Orleans (CBNO).

There aren’t many months that shape up nicely into digestible, we-made-this-much-progress reporting periods. This past month is a poster child for difficult relationship. With Mardi Gras, the honest-to-God arrival of spring, daylight savings, jury duties, ribbons cut, and good-bye receptions all falling in the last three weeks, there has been a constant churn of errands and eras starting and ending. Work has continued, certainly, but it’s hard to think back across all the years that have passed since last February to tell you, ‘we made this much progress.’

In the past few weeks, I have returned to working on our neighborhood mapping project, focusing on the neighborhoods surveyed in the Lakeview area. The most recent focus of this effort has been to reconcile the self-reported neighborhood association boundaries that the Office of Neighborhood Engagement and City Planning Commission released in January and the neighborhood boundaries CBNO surveyed last spring. There aren’t many neighborhoods in Planning District 5, but there are enough overlaps between self-reported boundaries and discrepancies with officially designated neighborhoods to guarantee that untangling the lines that are present in Planning District 5 won’t be straightforward.

Parts of PD3, PD 4, and PD5

Obvious what’s going on here, right?

At the time of writing this, I have heard from most of the neighborhood association presidents who represent areas with problematic boundaries (to have heard back across the board would have ruined the premise of this post). I’m curious to see what will come out of this.

The factors that have helped these little boundary gaps and overlaps bubble up area as varied as the (possible) existence of a resident-funded security district, vestiges of NIMBY-ism, collapses of old neighborhood associations, and vacuums where organized neighborhood associations never were. Neighborhood identification is more subjective and more political than I originally thought it would be–it may even be impossible, as a result—but puzzling it all out is a lot more intriguing than I thought it would be, too.

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This entry was posted on March 26, 2014 by in VISTA Field Reports.

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