November 01, 2012
City Council Chamber
City Council November 1, 2012 Regular Meeting SummaryThursday, November 1, 2012 - New Orleans, LA -
At today's regular City Council Meeting, the Council approved a new Walmart development in New Orleans East. The Council also adopted ordinances authorizing continued restoration work at the Alexander Milne Municipal Boys' Home and the naming of the proposed new stadium at Behrman Memorial Park the "Dewey Joseph Heitmeier Stadium." In other business, the Council received a presentation from the organizers of the 39th Bayou Classic Extravaganza. Community activists Benjamin and Cheryl Diggins were honored, and the Tipitina's Foundation and the O. Perry Walker College and Career Preparatory High School were recognized for their partnership to promote jazz music in Japan.
Approved Walmart Development in New Orleans East
The Council approved Zoning Docket No. 106/12 and Design Review No. 116/12, clearing the way for the development of a new Walmart in eastern New Orleans. The zoning and design approval allows for the revitalization of the long vacant property. Under the approved development plan, the exterior will have enhanced landscaping and a reduction in the parking footprint. Appropriate to scale signage and fencing to provide a buffer for service vehicles was also included in the approved plan.
District "E" Councilmember Charbonnet said, "This is an exciting day for District "E." The residents of New Orleans East can finally say they have a Walmart in their neighborhood. I look forward to continuing to work cooperatively with the Walmart representatives into the future."
Named Proposed New Dewey Joseph Heitmeier Stadium at Behrman Memorial Park
The Council adopted Ordinance Calendar No. 29,196, co-authored by Councilmember Gisleson Palmer and Council Vice President Clarkson, to name and dedicate the proposed new stadium that will be constructed at Behrman Memorial Park the "Dewey Joseph Heitmeier Stadium." The new stadium, to be located at the corner of Wall Boulevard and Vespasian Street in Algiers, will host amateur and professional soccer and rugby games. The late Dewey Heitmeier, the stadium's namesake, worked throughout the 60's and 70's with the youth athletic community of Algiers. He was a member and officer of the Vernon Clasen Youth Athletic Club, which fielded teams in the New Orleans Recreation Department programs. While traveling across the state to watch his grandsons play soccer, Mr. Heitmeier noticed the abundance of soccer fields; however, there were no actual stadiums, which spurred the idea for building a first-class facility in his neighborhood. The stadium will position Behrman Memorial Park as a regional park and an economic catalyst for Algiers and the entire City.
District "C" Councilmember Gisleson Palmer said, "Dewey Heitmeier's life goal was to do what he could to help the children of Algiers. He had a vision for Algiers and soon that vision will become a reality. The new Dewey Joseph Heitmeier Stadium will serve children, youth and adults and will also be an economic engine for the region."
Council Vice President Clarkson said, “I want to thank the Heitmeier family, especially the two Senators, for securing the money from the state for this project. Mr. Dewey was one of those people that never got the glory, but was always the power behind every throne that was anything in Algiers. He was always there. We couldn’t have found a better name for this stadium, it’s been generations in the making!”
Authorized Continued Work at Milne Boys' Home
The Council adopted Ordinance Calendar No. 29,240 that authorized the City to enter into a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement (CEA) with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Louisiana State Historic Preservation Officer regarding the disposition of the Alexander Milne Municipal Boys' Home. After consultation with FEMA, the City will assume the responsibility of performing various modifications and demolitions to the Milne Boys' Home. The implementation of the CEA is in response to the City's proposal to demolish the Caretaker's Cottage, the Laundry, and the Chapel as a result of damage sustained during Hurricane Katrina. Along with the demolitions, repairs are set to be made to the Gymnasium, the Administration Building, the North Cottage, and the South Cottage.
District "D" Councilmember Hedge-Morrell said, "The Milne Boys' Home has been a center of hope for our City's troubled youth. Battered by Hurricane Katrina, the Milne Boys' Home is again on the path to becoming again a center of refuge, support and rehabilitation."
Presentation of the 39th Bayou Classic ExtravaganzaThe Council received a presentation about the 39th Bayou Classic Extravaganza. Dottie Belletto, President of the New Orleans Convention Company, Inc. (NOCCI), and members of the Bayou Classic organizing committee appeared before the Council. The Bayou Classic is one of America's greatest college sports rivalries between Southern University and Grambling State University. Fans and alumni of both colleges descend on New Orleans during the week of Thanksgiving for the celebration of football, family, pageantry, and traditions surrounding the historically black schools. The Bayou Classic brings nearly 200,000 visitors annually to the City and generates an estimated economic impact of $30 million. Fans begin arriving for the festivities just prior to Thanksgiving and continue activities throughout the weekend.
District "D" Councilmember Hedge-Morrell said, "The annual Bayou Classic is a festival all its own, bringing family and fans to our City to celebrate this great college football rivalry. Aside from the game itself, the City gets an economic boost with 200,000 plus visitors immersing themselves in the traditions and culture of New Orleans."
Recognized the Tipitina's Foundation Student Partnership to Promote Jazz
The Council recognized the Tipitina's Foundation and the students of O. Perry Walker College and Career Preparatory High School for their collaboration to celebrate and promote Jazz music. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Japanese trumpet player, and New Orleans resident, Yoshio Toyama, and his Wonderful World of Jazz Foundation kicked into high gear, donating nearly 800 instruments to New Orleans' schoolchildren. Six years later, following the devastating earthquake off the coast of Japan in 2011, O. Perry Walker Band Director Wilbert Rawlins Jr., who had been on the receiving end of much of Mr. Toyama's donations, returned the favor to young musicians suffering in Japan. Recently, New Orleans' Tipitina's Internship Band and The Chosen Ones band from O. Perry Walker High School were chosen to perform in Japan with a local band, the Swing Dolphins, at the Yokohama Jazz Festival. Few words were spoken; the beat and rhythm of the instruments spoke a universal language. Although worlds apart, New Orleanians and those effected by the earthquake in Japan found common ground in the heartbeat of New Orleans' music, Jazz.
Council Vice President Clarkson said, "I first learned of the Wonderful World of Jazz Foundation's heartfelt donations following Katrina. We are proud of the Tipitina's Foundation and O. Perry Walker for stepping up and helping in the rebuilding process, something we all know too well. This gift of music and friendship to the young musicians impacted by the devastating 2011 Japanese earthquake will have a lasting and healing affect."
Honored Community Activists Benjamin and Cheryl Diggins
The Council recognized Community Activists Benjamin and Cheryl Diggins of the Melia Subdivision for their efforts in their Gentilly neighborhood. Mr. Diggins is the president of the Neighborhood Partnership Network (NPN) that works to improve the quality of life within the community by collaborating with members of the Melia Subdivision and surrounding neighborhood organizations. Benjamin Diggins is also an active member of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), while his wife Cheryl Diggins is president of the Melia Neighborhood Association. In the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Isaac, the commitment demonstrated by Mr. and Mrs. Diggins is an example for every community minded person to follow and embrace.
District "D" Councilmember Hedge-Morrell said, "Benjamin and Cheryl Diggins have taken on important responsibilities for their community. Leading by example is a staple of our City and we honor the Diggins family for their continuing community activism and love of New Orleans."