Next Meeting: Wednesday, March 22, 2017; 6:00pm Social, 6:30pm Meeting @ St. Dominic Gym
Letter from LCIA President Joe Giarrusso III
In 2015, the LCIA Board worked hard to fight crime, clean up our parks, churn out informative newsletters, and promote neighborhood fellowship. On a community board – such as the LCIA – the president is the first among equals. Brian Anderson deserves gratitude and praise for his work last year. His unwavering commitment and devotion to the community cannot be measured. Brian's long-term accomplishments were balancing the budget and working with so many to bring crime-fighting technology into Lakeview. Thanks also to Brian’s wife, Jan, who selflessly shared Brian so that he could throw himself into leading the LCIA. To the Andersons, thank you for everything.
As Brian wrote last time, I am a native New Orleanian who grew up in Lakeview. Like so many of you, Hurricane Katrina destroyed my childhood homes in west and north Lakeview. As I wrote this article, I realized that all of my schooling was in a small bubble in and around Lakeview. I went to St. Paul's for grammar school, then Christian Brothers for middle school, and Jesuit (I am actually not a Crusader but have many friends who are) for high school. My sister went to Hynes and my daughters go to school there now. My dad was a long time St. Dominic’s parishioner. Some of my happiest memories are riding my bike down Avenue B, early morning trips to McKenzie’s, and playing in City Park.
I moved away for college in 1994, met a Baton Rouge girl in Houston in 2002, and moved back to New Orleans in 2004. New Orleans the city will always be my home but Lakeview is my neighborhood. When we returned in 2004, we could not afford to live in Lakeview so we moved to Broadmoor. After the storm, we moved a few times before settling into Lakeview in September 2009. I feel fortunate to have the unique vantage point of growing up in Lakeview in the 80s and 90s, leaving temporarily, and consciously deciding to return after Katrina. That history helps in understanding the neighborhood’s long-standing and newer concerns.
Lakeview’s greatest asset is the people who live here. Much of that human capital is channeled into the LCIA, which is stocked with committed, diligent, and thoughtful board members. No matter how hard a board works to champion its members, an inadvertent communication gap may exist. Despite best efforts, some residents may perceive themselves as outside of the communication circle.
Over the next year, our objective will be to dispel that perception. Let’s start with the framework of formal Lakeview organizations. Lakeview is like a three-legged stool consisting of separate yet related entities:
1. Lakeview Crime Prevention District (“LCPD”): A political subdivision of the state with the sole focus of dealing with neighborhood crime;
2. Lakeview Civic Improvement Association (“LCIA”): The advocacy and lifestyle arm of the neighborhood (because LCIA is not a governmental agency, it can engage in activities that LCPD cannot); and,
3. Friends of Lakeview: The primary fundraising arm of Lakeview.
With the framework in place, what about communication? It is crystal clear that we need to double down on our external communications. It is important that the LCIA communicate in two ways: (1) reporting regularly in the newsletter and using hard-copy circulars to promote our message and (2) beefing up our social media presence. We are going to take an old-school and new-school approach to communication this year. [Does that make me a middle schooler? My wife would say yes. But I digress.] Please be on the lookout for postings on social media, particularly on the LCIA’s Facebook page. Beginning in January, we will start offering raffle opportunities there. The LCIA will also drive more content and updates to the website. Please stay tuned for those changes as well.
Finally, there will be a couple of small but important tweaks to the General Membership Meetings. First, we will try to organize each General Membership Meeting around a topic or two, which will be at or near the top of the agenda. In January, we will review the crime statistics from 2015 and hear from our state representatives about the upcoming legislative session. Second, to increase efficiency and shorten meeting times, there will be a proposed (but flexible) time allotment for each presentation. This should give the community some certainty about the order of meetings and how long they should last.
On behalf of the LCIA Board, we look forward to working with you in 2016 to ensure Lakeview remains safe, welcoming, and a beacon for the City of New Orleans.
Joseph I. Giarrusso III