September 16, 2010
City Council Chamber
City Council September 16, 2010 Regular Meeting SummaryNew Orleans, LA - September 16, 2010 - Today, the New Orleans City Council passed a Resolution urging Congress to act immediately to establish a bipartisan Investigation Team to examine the events of August 29, 2005 and consider ongoing flood control and restoration projects in the region.
The Council also passed an Ordinance requiring all city boards and commissions to annually submit the attendance records for all board or commission members, and a Resolution honoring a local education leader.
Additionally, the Council received a report on the performance of New Orleans public schools, and an update on the current status of the City's homeless population.
Addressed Update on Homeless Population in the CityAt the request of Councilmember Guidry, Melisse Meza, Vice President of Community Impact for United Way for the Greater New Orleans Area, appeared before the Council to report on the state of homelessness in the City.
Meza's presentation provided a comparison of facts and figures related to homelessness in the City before and after Hurricane Katrina, including the number of homeless people, those receiving housing and other services, and those living in abandoned residential or commercial buildings.
District "A" Councilmember Susan G. Guidry said, "It is vital that we come up with both short-term and long-term solutions to ensure that all of our citizens have shelter, basic services and the opportunity to create a better future. We appreciate the efforts of United Way and the many local organizations dedicated to assisting the homeless, and we will continue to work with them to address this critical issue."
Honored Local Education Leader
At the request of Councilmember Hedge-Morrell, Xavier University Preparatory High School Assistant Principal Jacob Owens and Xavier Prep Seniors Kyriante Henry, Megan Riley and Melissa Riley appeared before the Council for a presentation honoring the late Sister Eileen Catherine Sullivan, former President of Xavier Prep.
Sister Eileen began her mission at Xavier University Preparatory High School in 1971 as an English instructor and the speech and debate coach. She worked at Xavier Prep for more than 30 years as President, Principal and English Teacher, served on the Board of Trustees at Xavier University, and was elected to the Leadership Council of the Blessed Sacrament.
The Council passed Resolution R-10-398, authored by Councilmember Hedge-Morrell, mourning the loss of a prayerful woman who championed the value of all God's people and acknowledging that the Xavier University Preparatory High School community, and indeed the City of New Orleans, will now have a personal angel and advocate in Heaven.
District "D" Councilmember Cynthia Hedge-Morrell said, "Sister Eileen dedicated her life to the education of our youth. She is a true example of a great New Orleanian and we will all miss her spirit and her caring and generous personality."
Supported Attendance Record Keeping for Boards and CommissionsThe Council passed Ordinance Calendar No. 28,133, authored by Councilmember Guidry, to require all city boards and commissions to submit annually to the City Council and Office of the Mayor the attendance records for all board or commission members.
The Ordinance also requires all boards and commissions to submit to the City Council and Office of the Mayor the most recent attendance records for any member seeking reappointment.
District "A" Councilmember Susan G. Guidry said, "Our boards and commissions have sometimes been hampered in their ability to conduct the people's business due to lack of a quorum. Encouraging attendance through accurate record-keeping and reporting will improve their efficiency and accountability."
Encouraged Expedited Investigation of Flood Protection Failure Resulting from Hurricane KatrinaThe Council passed Resolution R-10-389, authored by Councilmember Clarkson, urging Congress to act immediately to establish a bipartisan Investigation Team, as called for in the 8-29 Investigation Act, to examine the events of August 29, 2005 and consider ongoing flood control and restoration projects in the region.
The Resolution reflects the Council's belief that the most effective approach to assessing the failure of the federally designed flood protection system is to establish a bipartisan investigation composed of experts to review management, construction and funding of past, ongoing and proposed levee flood control, coastal restoration and hurricane protection projects, and to require the investigation to produce timely recommendations so that Congress can quickly identify any outstanding issues and craft a solution to protect the American people.
Council Vice President Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson said, "Hurricane Katrina exposed many engineering, management, communications and emergency flooding response failures. Multiple reviews have been conducted into the failure of the flood defense systems, yet few definitive recommendations have emerged. We must initiate a comprehensive investigation so as to provide Congress with specific proposals for action to ensure that a failure of this nature does not occur in the future."
Received Performance Report on Public Schools Leslie Jacobs, Founder of Educate Now, appeared before the Council at the request of Councilmember Head, to give a report on the performance of the City's public schools.
The report included data and statistics on students attending public schools in the City including comparisons of enrollment numbers at charter schools and traditional public schools, poverty rates and performance statistics. Jacobs also highlighted recent achievements of New Orleans public schools including an increase in passing rates on the LEAP test, the closing of the achievement gap between New Orleans schools and state averages, a decrease in dropout rates, and an increase in graduation rates.
District "B" Councilmember Stacy Head said, "We want to thank you for this very comprehensive report on the City's schools. We have certainly made tremendous strides in improving public education in New Orleans, but we know that our task is not yet done."