Neighbors First for Bywater – Board Meeting April 19, 2023

Held on John Andrews’ back porch.

Present: Julie Jones, John Andrews, Anthony Eschmann, Brian Luckett, Joe Brown, Tyler Harwood, Brian Lutz, Brian Smith, and Rhonda Findley.

The meeting started at 7:13 p.m. with a discussion of topics for the next general meeting. Holding the meeting at Clouet Gardens and presenting the park caretakers with a check for the proceeds from our “Huck-A-Cluck” event was suggested. Inviting a representative from NOPD was also discussed, as there have been a number of alarming armed robberies in the neighborhood recently. Rhonda proposed having a bicycle mechanic teach members about bicycle repair. Molly had emailed the idea of having someone from FedEx/UPS/Amazon come talk about package thefts, but it was generally agreed that if we got anyone we would probably wind up with corporate PR people that would waste our time.

The board was then joined by Leon Roché, a candidate running for Criminal District Court, along with some colleagues. He told the group about his qualifications and what he hopes to achieve if elected. He was passionate about bettering the system for nonviolent offenders and being strict with violent criminals. He discussed the concept of conditional bonds for nonviolent offenders, such as requiring steady employment, education, or other forms of betterment to stay out of jail. John asked about juveniles being tried as adults and Mr. Roché said he would use such rules very sparingly, and that he believes the majority of juveniles should be tried as such since they are not fully developed, and many come from dire circumstances. We thanked him for joining us even though NFB does not endorse political candidates, and wished him luck. 

After Mr. Roché departed the discussion then returned to the next meeting and we agreed on Clouet Gardens and an NOPD representative. There has been a lot of turnover in the 5th district recently. Julie will contact Lt Palumbo. Rhonda will bring a table and cooler with ice. We will advise members to bring chairs. In the event of rain we will simply hold the meeting the following Wednesday.

Julie told us the CPC will be holding its first meeting regarding new commercial STR rules May 9th, and suggested we submit a letter. Brian Luckett motioned we simply request that commercial STRs be limited to commercial zonings that already allow for hotels. Anthony seconded the motion and it was approved unanimously. 

Rhonda told us about loud trash pickup in the middle of the night at the “Holy Angels Bywater Hotel and Residences”. It seems the building is now in use but it’s unclear how. 

Brian told the group about an Earth Day event that NFB is the fiduciary agent for. It will be held from 9AM to 1PM at the TEP Center 5909 St Claude Ave, New Orleans, LA 70117. The rest of the board was encouraged to attend and spread the word.

Anthony then reminded us that it was time for the annual board election. It will be announced at the next meeting and by email to membership.

The meeting ended at 8:02 p.m.

Submitted by Tyler Harwood, NFB secretary

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April 5th, 2023 General Meeting

For the April general meeting NFB hosted “Huck-A-Cluck”, a sort of bingo where a chicken wandered around a game board covered in chicken feed. When the chicken “dropped something” on a number, the holder of the matching ticket won a prize. Money raised from the event will be donated to Clouet Gardens. The event was held at Luna Libre and orchestrated by NFB member Rhonda Findley.

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March 15 Board Meeting cancelled

Plans for the upcoming general meeting and continued discussion of new STR regulations were discussed sufficiently via email. A vote decided a board meeting this month was not necessary.

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Minutes for the March 2, 2023 NFB general meeting

The meeting was held at 3600 St. Claude (Luna Libre). It got underway at 7:10. 

President Julie Jones introduced Julia Stern, our new Neighborhood Engagement officer. Ms. Stern gave her office hours as 10:30-5 (with a lunch break from 1-2) on Mondays and Tuesdays at the Alvar Library and Wednesdays at the Stallings Center on St. Claude, same times.  She can get answers to many questions related to neighborhood problems and is proving to be very efficient. Her email is

Next we had a talk on the updating of the Short-Term Rental regulations that is being undertaken this month by the City Council at the behest of a judge from the 5th District Court of Appeals. Speaking were Erin Holmes, the Executive Director of VCPORA (Vieux Carré Property Owners, Renters and Associates) and Russell Moran, a Bywater resident, who works with the Jane Place initiative for affordable housing. They were well-informed and articulate and answered the many questions they were asked.

As usual, NFB supplied Pizza Delicious pizzas and wine. Both before the meeting got underway and after it was done, there were opportunities for neighborhood socializing.

Julie Jones, writing in lieu of our regular secretary Tyler Harwood

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PRESENT: Brian Lutz, Joe Brown, Julie Jones, Brian Luckett, Molly Henderson, Anthony Eschmann, Michael Owings (by telephone)

The meeting was called to order by President Jones at 7:10 pm. The first order of business was the nomination of new members to the board. Several names were mentioned; they will be contacted to see if they might be interested in serving.

Next we considered a program for the next general meeting and where it should be held. We agreed that we would like to meet at Luna Libre if that is available to us. The topic decided upon was a representative from an Alliance of Neighborhood Organizations (?do they have a name?) to encourage people to participate in the process of revising the regulations regarding Short Term Rentals (STR.)

Julie clarified that the name of Folwell Dunbar had been submitted to represent Bywater on  the HDLC.

There is a building on the corner of Louisa and Burgundy which has newly installed industrial lighting around the building. They should be reported to the HDLC as this does not fit into Historic District guidelines. 

There will be 3 meetings with the city council to express our concerns and opinions regarding STR’s. The board agreed unanimously on these  points to stress:

1. One unit per square and the owner/operator must be a natural person.

2. After three citations for violations the property is eliminated from further participation.

Councilmember Morrell has stated that nothing/no one will be grandfathered in.

1 STR per square block

1 owner/operator per STR

1 STR per parcel

We also recommended that after 3 strikes—still to be decided how to define serious strike—the PROPERTY (not the owner, who could create a different LLC or nominate his wife, child, etc.) will be out of business for a long time (still to be decided how long, suggestions range from 1 to 10 years).

We nominated Folwell Dunbar for HDLC some time ago (as per earlier board meeting). Freddie King has endorsed him, so it’s now up to the Mayor. It should be decided soon.


Anthony Eschmann

Member of the Board

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Neighbors First for Bywater – February 1, 2023 General Meeting

 Held at Luna Libre. After some time to socialize and eat pizza, Julie introduced three representatives from the NOPD, including the new captain of the 5th district, Kevin Stamp.

Lt. Palumbo gave us an update and told us that car thefts are the biggest problem in Bywater right now. Residents that own a Kias or Hyundais can get a free steering wheel lock from the 5th district station, as those makes are the most popular with thieves. He advised that if residents locate a stolen vehicle to not approach, because the thieves are most certainly armed. He also reminded everyone to never leave a firearm in an unattended vehicle.

Julie then introduced Michael Birt, a wildlife removal and relocation expert who recently wrote a children’s book about his work called Michael the Wildlife Detective. Mr. Birt specializes in humane removal of possums, raccoons, squirrels, bats and birds. His company, Lacan 360, also helps homeowners deal with rats, mice, termites, and any other uninvited critters, even coyotes. He spoke about possums the most, since that’s what we see the most in Bywater. Possums are marsupials and have the smallest brain of any mammal for their size. They’ll eat pretty much anything, and their prehensile tails help them climb into tricky spots. They love the space between the wall and the bathtub, which they can usually access easily from under a house. They do not carry rabies, as their body temperature is too low, but they can bring in fleas and cause other issues. When startled they can act really nasty, and make an awful smell, but if approached they just “play possum”. When they need to relocate an animal they usually drive it to a natural area far away, preferably across the river from where they were caught. Mr. Birt also started a non-profit called ResearchWild that aims to educate people around the world about living in proximity to wildlife. Cities keep growing and people continue to build homes in rural areas, and the animals were most certainly living in those areas first. He decided to write a children’s book because he feels kids are likely to be the most open minded about new approaches to human cohabitation with wildlife. He brought copies of his book and signed a few for members.

Lastly, we were introduced to Julia Stern, the city’s new neighborhood liaison for district C. She has office hours at Alvar Library Mondays and Tuesdays from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a lunch break from 1-2. She is at Stallings on Wednesdays for the same hours. Her email is and office phone number is (504) 397-4100. 

Submitted by Tyler Harwood, NFB secretary

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New Orleans has 4 times as many STRs per capita as New York City! 

If people making $ off STRS show up in much greater numbers than concerned citizens, it may signal the Commissioners (AND the City Council) that people do not truly care about reining in the STR industry so that it can be a good neighbor. YOU are needed tomorrow. The meeting is at the City Council chambers (river side of City Hall), at 1:30—we should have a more exact meeting of the time this item comes up; check our Fb page or our website ( for updates. Sign in to speak or to show your presence (you can indicate whether you favor or oppose an expansion of the industry on the same card) and time-stamp the card. 

This is a meeting of the City Planning Commission members—all citizen volunteers—responding to a report put out last week by the City Planning staffers. They will discuss the report, listen to comments, and then make a recommendation to the City Council, which will vote on it later. The new rules have to be in place by March 31. 

5 Major Revisions to the City Planning Staff Recommendations for Short Term Rentals

1.       Accessory Bed & Breakfasts 

These must be included in the recommended density cap. Accessory Bed & Breakfasts will essentially bypass the density cap by allowing the conversion of homes into tourist accommodations on “capped” blocks. This omission undermines the entire purpose of having a density restriction.

Pg. 36, 20.3.I.2.g In residential districts and HU-B1A Neighborhood Business District, HUB1 Neighborhood Business District, HU-MU Neighborhood Mixed-Use District, S-LM Lake Area Marina District, MU-1 Medium Intensity, Mixed Use District, and MU-2 High Intensity Mixed-Use District, only one (1) Accessory Bed and Breakfast, Principal Bed and Breakfast, or large Non-Commercial Short Term Rental short term rental, is permitted per blockface.

2.       Density Restriction – 1 per block face is too permissive

One STR per blockface allows 2 per block on every block. Multiply that by the number of available blocks in the city and the results are much larger than the current number of listings (including the illegal ones). If we truly want to restrict the over-proliferation of STRs in all neighborhoods, a better approach would be to restrict STRs by square. Many properties have multiple addresses on corners, creating confusion for safety and permits and permit seekers. Restrict all STRs and Bed and Breakfasts to one per square.

3.       Commercial STRs need to be addressed

New Orleans traditional neighborhoods are noted by pockets of commercial corridors, main streets, and corner-store style businesses. These areas immediately abut residential homes. By not addressing the Commercial STRs, this will allow unfettered conversion of properties within the HM-MU, HU-MU, HMC-1, HMC-2, and HU-B1 districts. Additionally, it will invite an unrelenting stream of zoning change applications that will monopolize City Hall resources.

4.       Owners need to be restricted, not just operators

The owner, not just the operator, must be restricted to 1 STR per person. Investors can purchase 6 properties and hire an on-site operator for each. This loophole still allows wealthy, individual investors great profits from the commodification of housing. Ideally, the owner and operator should be the same person, with the same residency requirements outlined already.

5.       10 is too many!

Ten occupants in a single residential dwelling unit is too many. Consider capping the occupancy limit to 6 people in residential neighborhoods.

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NFB General Meeting December 7, 2022

Held at Luna Libre (thanks to Rhonda Findley!), social activities started at 7:00 p.m. and speakers started around 7:38 after some announcements by Rhonda. 

Julie introduced Simonette Berry, a representative of IATSE Local 478, which is the union for film and TV workers. The long version of the name is International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts. Simonette lives nearby in Holy Cross, was a student of NOCCA, and has been working in film over 10 years. Her latest production was “City Of A Million Dreams”, a documentary about jazz funerals in Louisiana that she made with her father, Jason Berry. They screened it recently at NOCCA and would like to screen it at more schools.

Simonette explained how New Orleans is unique and valuable to film producers and listed several well known movies made in the area. There are lots of locations and stages and more all the time. The industry generates around $1B annually, brings about 10,000 jobs to the state, and around $350M to Louisiana residents specifically. The union has about 150,000 members. They help film and TV workers secure competitive wages and healthcare, assist with safety and harassment issues, and provide educational opportunities. They also have a number of community outreach efforts including holiday coat and toy drives, disaster aid, and supporting the LGBTQ Archives Project. The state film tax credit is sunsetting in 2025 and the union has formed a PAC to lobby for its renewal.

Simonette then told the group tab she was also one of the organizers (“overlords”) of the Chewbacchus Parade, which has been marching through the neighborhood since 2013 and has grown significantly. Last year their route was shortened due to a lack of available police, and the last minute change caused considerable financial loss to may businesses along the St. Claude portion of the route. The krewe is hoping they can go back to their usual route this year, which starts at Homer Plessy Way and St. Claude Avenue. Their application is in but they have yet to hear back. Simonette asked for our support should the city try to alter the route again.

Simonette was thanked for joining us and for her fascinating presentation.

Julie then introduced Farren Alexander, the City’s new Neighborhood Liaison for District C. Farren told us she recently transitioned from the oil and gas industry. She is there to help us with issues such as blighted property, abandoned vehicles, trash and recycling pickup, and more. She said if she can’t help you she’ll find the right person to help you. Julie chimed in that Farren has been very quick and helpful with her responses. Farren told us they are doing a toy drive and that her Community Office Hours will start up again in January. In the mean time her email is and her office phone number is (504)658-7808.

We then took a moment to say hello to Stephanie Bridges, who was in attendance with her son Jordan, and was a candidate for district C City Council. Jordan told us Stephanie is considering running for Civil Court Judge. 

Mark Gonzalez then told the group that HANO has yet to renew the lease for Clouet Gardens, which ran out in November. HANO’s agenda is housing, not parks, but Mark explained how the green space is important, especially for lower income residents in the area who might not have access to a yard. He asked everyone to write HANO to ask the lease be renewed.

The meeting ended at 8:24 p.m.

Submitted by Tyler Harwood, NFB secretary

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NFB Board Meeting October 20, 2022

Held on Molly Henderson’s patio, started at 7:05 p.m.

Present: Julie Jones, Brian Luckett, Anthony Eschmann, Joe Brown, Susan Korec, Molly Henderson, Tyler Harwood, Michael Owings

We started out discussing the need to fill empty slots on the board. Joe has a neighbor that is interested and has been a member for long enough. A few other possibilities were talked over. Molly said Rhonda Findley may be interested in returning, and has lots of fun meeting ideas. More family friendly activities and social events would be a good way to boost attendance and bring in some diversity. Having some meetings on weekends was considered. Julie motioned that we write to ask if Rhonda would like to rejoin, Michael seconded, and the motion was approved unanimously.

We then talked about the possibility of having the animal control specialist for our next meeting and decided it would need to wait until November or December, and possibly be held outdoors (Clouet Gardens) if there would be live animals. The back patio of Luna Libre would be a good option as well. Other possibilities for the November general meeting were discussed. Our usual topics (NSA, HANO, NOPD, streets) would probably not inspire a huge turnout. Tyler suggested Freddie King or someone from his staff could come talk about what they have been working on and how Mr. King’s term is going thus far. We also talked about having someone from the movie industry talk about general goings-on and the current status of the tax credit. 

Near neighbors of Beanlandia have expressed interest in establishing a residential permitted parking zone. A certain percentage of neighbors would need to sign in support, and there would likely be a yearly fee for permits. They would need support of a neighborhood organization to proceed and we all agreed we should do so. 

Brian proposed NFB make a donation to Clouet Gardens. Julie motioned, Joe seconded, and the motion was approved unanimously. 

The meeting ended at 8:07 p.m.

Submitted by Tyler Harwood, NFB secretary

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Neighbors First for Bywater – General Meeting September 7, 2022

Held via Zoom.

Present: Julie Jones, Anthony Eschmann, Brian Luckett, Joe Brown, Tyler Harwood

We were joined by Nakeila Polk, Director of Roadwork, and Lauren Muse, the outreach manager for the Bywater/Marigny project. We were also joined by Leslie Runnels, a resident of the 900 block of Clouet Street.

Ms. Muse told us that Homer Plessy Way is not the property of the city, but of the railroad, so Roadworks is not involved in the work going on there. The leak repairs along that road are being done by S&WB and the railroad. She then told us how their project along the 900 and 1000 blocks of Clouet St was stalled after they started to put down asphalt and numerous leaks were discovered. S&WB had to advise and eventually authorized Roadwork contractors to take over repairing them. The crews are currently repairing a leak at Japonica and Galvez and will move to Clouet St next. They expect to be finished by the end of September. 

Ms. Runnels, who lives at Clouet and Rampart Streets, showed us a photo of an unfinished section of Clouet St. filled with a significant amount of water, construction remnants, and a discarded car tire. Ms. Muse said she recognized that spot as the location of one of the leaks. They are having similar issues with leaks on Japonica and Port Streets. Ms. Runnels told us how the water covers the entire West side of the block and isolates residents on that side. Delivery drivers won’t cross the water so they throw packages across. Hoppers won’t cross it to get trash cans so residents have had to roll their cans all the way to the corner or their trash is not collected. Parking has also been a problem.

An attendee asked about stalled curb repair along Pauline St. and Ms. Muse told us some neighbors are in the right-of-way so establishing the curb has been difficult. They need permission to remove landscaping or vegetation of some sort and then they will require assistance from Parks and Parkways.

Ms. Polk acknowledged that the construction has been “unnecessarily painful” for some areas. When they started the project they were required to follow State of Louisiana contractual guidelines which dictate Roadworks can’t regulate the “means and methods” of the contractors. This means Roadworks has been unable to limit the number of sites in various states of disrepair at any point. Roadworks has since been able to change how the contracts are written so new ones will not have this shortcoming. Contractors will be required to finish a percentage of work before being allowed to start in new areas. Unfortunately it seems the contract that affects Bywater was written before this change, so there is apparently no limit to the number of areas that may be adversely impacted at any point.

Joe Brown asked about construction at France and Royal Streets. Ms. Muse said that is another area they have found a leak that has stalled progress but that S&WB has given clearance to repair it. An attendee asked about the 700 block of Congress and Ms. Muse said they have two sections of road to repair there but found leaks there as well. She explained that if they pave over leaks that roads could potentially fail in as little as 30 days. The pandemic has also slowed work as crews have been split into smaller specialized units. FEMA funding “trickling in” has also caused things to move slowly. 

Joe requested that the equipment lot at the corner of Royal and France be cleaned up as it has become a nuisance to near neighbors.

Brian asked about some holes in roads that do not seem to be included in the current project. Ms. Muse explained that these were S&WB repairs. They are unsure of their status and when it is time to repair the road it is not included in the current FEMA funding. They will have to apply for funding separately so it seems to be unknown when these areas will be repaired. Ms. Polk told us that residents can check on the status of a road repair by calling their hotline at 658-ROAD or emailing Their website is Julie suggested that Bywater residents email and we can start a comprehensive list to submit. 

An attendee asked when the roadwork on Clouet St. began and Ms. Muse said they started with sewer repairs around mid-April, but that Entergy had done work on gas lines before that. Ms. Runnels said the street has been torn up for a year. Ms. Muse explained that Entergy and telecommunications companies are notified where Roadworks has work planned so they frequently will do work ahead of Roadworks in those areas so the street doesn’t have to be repaired twice. 

A Clouet St. Resident asked about damage he witnessed crews do to a brick sidewalk in front of his home. Ms. Polk explained that the historic brick pattern could not be restored by the Roadworks contractors and the resident had kept the bricks that had been moved. If Roadworks repairs the sidewalk it seems they would have to remove the bricks or restore it in some way that may be unsatisfactory. This appears to be an unresolved issue. 

Another attendee asked about how to go about getting a driveway and was advised to go to Safety and Permits to begin that process.

Our guests were thanked for their time. 

Submitted by Tyler Harwood, NFB secretary

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