Fighting Poverty with Passion
One of the peculiarities of writing monthly blog posts is that every time I sit down to bang out a few hundred words describing my most recent month as a VISTA it’s another time of year. That applies literally, obviously, but the calendar in New Orleans moves from season to season—football season to the holiday season to Carnival season to Lent to festival season—moreso than in any place other place I’ve lived. I bring up this rule of thumb to point out that, now, obviously, we’re on the cusp of the only exception.
Everything begins to slow down with Jazz Fest in the rearview and summer weather arriving. (Or maybe this is just a sign that, after living near the intersection of Basin and Canal for two years, I’m too attuned to the barometric shifts that dictate the comings and goings of tourist crowds along Canal Street.) It certainly feels like things are slowing down. This doesn’t complement the VISTA life cycle; I’m within 100 days of my expiration date, rounding the last turn, and looking into the home stretch of my term of service. There’s some cognitive dissonance that comes with these realizations.
There is good news to report, too: there is (finally) light (really!) at the end of the Blight Resource Guide tunnel. We set a date! In conjunction with the release of a guide to fighting blight in weak market areas by Alex Miller (it has a working title so long it might be a German word for an emotion), we’re hoping to release the print version on June 21st at an event in Zion City. I’m knocking on every visible piece of wood as I write this. If you get this joke, you had better be knocking on wood too.
In other news: I surveyed an area of Planning District 5 nestled between the Lakewood Property Owners Association, 610, and the West End, to see how residents of an otherwise unidentified area perceive their neighborhood designation. At the time of writing, the survey period isn’t closed so I can’t say exactly what the results are. Regardless, it’s been interesting working through this part of CBNO’s mapping methodology for the CPP. I’ve also been working on some of the under-the-hood gruntwork that goes into keeping a spreadsheet of contact data up-to-date. I won’t regale you with stories of cell formatting and the logic behind sort-levels. We’re turning the corner into the relatively blank part of the New Orleans calendar: the weather’s too nice and you should fill in the blanks with something better.