28 June 2006

The Great South Carrollton/South Claiborne Walgreen's Debate: Now to the Orchestrated PR Campaign Level

I recieved this email from a Carrollton resident a few minutes ago:

I was driving past the intersection this morning around 10AM and observed two news cameras and several suits in front of the camera with a large diagram on an easel. Being the busy body I am, I parked, got out and stood around to hear whatever I could hear.

I am not sure what they were up to, but those in front of the camera were all wearing stickers saying "Tell Councilwoman Midura Carrollton Neighbors Want a Grocery Store." The story line was how dangerous the corner is, even to the extent of saying several murders happened there and all they were asking for was a setback variance for parking. At the conclusion of the event, they handed out a copy of the footprint they were trying to get approved. When I asked for one, the guy asked, "Who are you?" He reluctantly gave me one . . . .

Ah yes--the old FEAR tactic. "Several murders." Really? How about this novel idea? The property was purposely allowed to deteriorate to it's current pathetic condition over the PAST SEVEN YEARS in the hopes some crime incident would occur, thus allowing whomever to cite the crime element as the reason to relax the rules. No need to be concerned with the South Carrollton-specific overlay zone created by the city planning department with sound urban planning methodology to make sure uses on the properties along this street are appropriately designed and site planned. This orchestrated PR campagin is trying to use fear and the fact that most people don't understand what this whole overlay thing is all about--its more than just moving the building back feet from the street.

Guys, I hate to tell you this, but there is a good chance the proposed grocery store is intended only as a carrot to dangle in front of the residents and politicians to legitimize the laxing of laws so residents will say, "Well--if allowing the Walgreen's to be built even if we don't need another one and even though they have a bad history of abandoning stores in our city is what it takes to finally get the grocery in Carrollton that we longer have because of Walgreens in the first place, than so be it." That's the point. The inclusion of an adjacent grocery store (not even legally part of this project) is a diversion. I have no proof that the Robert Fresh Market will not ever come into frution if this variance is granted, but I can say from looking at the proposed site plan that if I am Mr. Robert, I'm not happy with the sight lines or the location of the store in the current plan--its doesn't give him or his store the absolute best chance for success. This site plan is all about Walgreen's and not any grocery store. The ridiculous thing is that this could all be solved with the proper design for both combined in a side-by-side layout, but Walgreen's must have their drive-thru and only does stand alone stores now.

Of course, the big free-for-all is tonight. Care to see preservationists contend with an orchestrated, corporate-funded PR campaign--make it over to the City Hall Council Chambers tonight at 7pm. Fun, fun.

Oh ya--and a special hello to the online Walgreen's PR crew up in Wheeling, Illinois. I hope you've learned a few things reading TBNO about what's happening down in "our part of the world."

TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Walgreens, Shelley Midura, Carrollton, Urban Planning


At June 28, 2006 5:25 PM, Blogger Michael Homan said...

I saw the suits on the local 5 PM ABC and Fox news programs. It was sure one sided, with nobody representing why we support the Carrollton Overlay. I wish the reporters would have beed "fair and balanced."

At June 28, 2006 5:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's make groceries in Carrollton!

At June 28, 2006 11:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was a win at the third Town Hall meeting for those who treasure retaining a beautiful facade in the Historic District of Carrollton, a New Orleans neighborhood on the National Register. Councilperson Shelley Midura showed committment to bring together the parties involved in the proposed redevelopment of the square: the owner of a potential grocery store, Marc Robert', a current lessee of part of the square, Walgreen Drug Store, and the land owner, Pivach Realty. If the three have any consideration whatsoever for the residential community that they wish to serve, they can show good faith by 1. modifying their current proposed site plans,
2. modifying the property lines on the present lease between Walgreen and Pivach Realty,
Carrollton/Riverbend Residents' Association

At June 29, 2006 3:53 PM, Blogger Schroeder said...

Thanks for staying on top of this Seymour. I appreciate the insider's perspective. I was invited, but couldn't attend the council meeting on the matter.

At June 29, 2006 7:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The battle is by no means over. Tell everyone you know who lives in Shelley's district to email her at her council email address (smidura at cityofno.com) urging her to preserve the historic look of New Orleans for future generations. This isn't incompatible with having food and drugstores!

At June 30, 2006 8:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I truly believe that we need a grocery store not another drug store. Since reading several items about the Carrollton Overlay that would seem to be the best for our neighborhood. I am very tired of looking at that corner - it just looks sad and certainly not in the best interests of the neighbors or the city.


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