NFB Board Meeting – June 3, 2020

Present: Julie Jones, Brian Luckett, John Andrews, Michael Owings, Susan Korec, Stephen Haedicke, Anthony Eschmann, Rhonda Findley, and Tyler Harwood. 

The meeting was held via video chat due to the coronavirus pandemic, and started promptly at 6pm. Despite a few technical issues with audio it went fairly well. 

Julie told the group that the Riverfront Alliance has been active and that she and Brian have been present for meetings with councilmembers Palmer, Williams, and Moreno. The group discussed concerns with the compromised Neighborhood Participation Process (NPP) protocols (LINK), as well as a lack of activity and personnel at Safety and Permits. They also discussed the future of New Orleans tourism, how to make it less intrusive to residents, favoring residential development over hotels, and favoring local business over big chains. The recent loss of a few historic buildings to fires was also discussed. 

The board then talked about the continuously deteriorating conditions at the former NSA buildings. We wondered when the period of “due diligence” would expire, and if the city still has some responsibility for maintaining the property. There was a rumor Joe Jaeger gave up the lease (which has since been confirmed to be false). Concerns and inquiries always seem to result in blame-shifting. 

Rhonda Findley suggested NFB host an online general meeting and there was some discussion around how to best organize it. If possible, it would be great to get updates from Councilmember Palmer and a representative of NOPD. Tyler will look into how best to host it. It was agreed we would have the meeting July 1st at 6PM. 

Brian Luckett proposed NFB make donations to a food banks that has been distributing food in the area, and Tyler encouraged NFB to support the Krewe of Red Beans “Feed The Second Line” as well. Brian motioned that we make donations to both, Micheal seconded, and it was unanimously approved. 

Julie then expressed concerns about our inability to have a board election, which should have been months ago. Anthony explained that the bylaws do include an emergency rule that would allow us to appoint a new board member to fill empty seats until we can hold the next election. John motioned we appoint Joe Brown (pending his consent), and Micheal seconded. The motion was unanimously approved. 

We continue to get emails from Myra Harris, who lives across the street from the warehouses at Royal St. and Montegut St. Myra has a long history of issues with noise from special events held at StudioBE, an art gallery in one of the warehouses. Tyler sent a letter to Councilmember Palmer’s office that explained her concerns, mainly with amplified music, loud generators parked in front of her home, and a possible change in designation that could allow more special events. Mary Cunningham, who is familiar with the issue, responded immediately and informed us that the change in designation was allowed by right. The letter was forwarded to Safety and Permits. There have been no special events in many months, but Myra still has issues with noise from people who come to take photographs in the parking lot across from the gallery, and she does not like the murals. John agreed to write Myra and tell her we have done all that we are able to do for the time being, but that we will continue to monitor the situation should noise from special events become a problem in the future. 

The meeting ended at 7:18pm

Submitted by Tyler Harwood, secretary

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