May 232012

Renderings of the proposed expansion of Audubon Charter School's Broadway campus. (via the Preservation Resource Center)

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is seeking public input on the upcoming renovation and expansion of Audubon Charter School’s historic Broadway Street campus.

The caretaker's cottage behind the school will be demolished to make room for the expansion. (Photo via Preservation Resource Center)

While some of the plans, such as removing portable buildings from the site, have no historical significance, FEMA has determined that the demolition of the custodian’s cottage on site and the addition of new wings on the rear are changes that affect the historic character of the school. Ideas on ways to mitigate those effects can be left at the FEMA site through June 5, but no comments had been left by Wednesday morning.

  12 Responses to “FEMA seeks public comment on expansion of Audubon’s Broadway campus”

  1. Maybe FEMA could do a slightly better job of making this public? This is the first I’ve heard of this and I live two blocks from the school. Nobody’s gonna leave a comment if they don’t know about it.

  2. Here’s my guess at what’s going on. FEMA and the School Board know very well that this expansion of Audubon is very controversial with the neighborhood. By putting a non-published comments section on their home page they can the claim that ‘nobody’s against it but because nobody published any comments’. How about you publicize this in the Times-Picayune and on the news, FEMA? Is it too much to ask to actually INFORM the citizens you’re supposed to be serving??
    It seems to me that is the first shot in a FEMA/School Board PR offensive to overocme neighborhood opposition.

  3. Phil, sounds like you have the inside track on the debacle that has become Audubon Charter’s facility renovation. As I understand it a couple of newly transplanted lawyers have arrived in the neighborhood and with a TRO have thrown a monkey wrench into a poorly administered project. Hundreds of parents and children are paying the price.

    Now the board of Lycee Francaise has gone on the offensive to capitalize on Audubon’s weakened position and purloin as many French fluent 2nd graders as possible from Audubon’s rolls by opening a 2nd grade in conflict with their charter.

    I am a bystander in all this and my information is incomplete and third hand, and possibly quite incorrect.

    For those of us on the periphery of this conflict, could you please begin to air the laundry and provide us with some sound information?

    • Why would you spread contentious misinformation first and then ask for the facts? Audubon’s parents have the freedom of where they intend to send their students. Competition can only help to improve the standards at these schools.

  4. All FEMA section 106 notices are posted in the same fashion, via the State of Louisiana website.

  5. Apparently the cottage will be demolished before the FEMA comment board closes. So exactly what is the point of the FEMA message board?

  6. With the number of attacks Audubon has sustained over the last several years, it has amazingly continued to perform well. I find it odd that someone would move into a neighborhood with an established school and become irritated with normal school functions. Since it is blatantly obvious that this community does not wish Audubon to thrive, which community would welcome it with open arms? I can think of a few. What does it say about a community that doesn’t appreciate a good school? Furthermore, what community would consider endangering children’s lives by insisting they be dropped off on the busiest street on its block? Complaints ranging from traffic jams, to delivery trucks dropping off lunch items to a caretaker’s cottage are all a means of preventing these children from having the resources they need for continued success. I pray good sense prevails and this project is allowed to move forward.

    • First of all, since after Katrina Audubon is no longer a’ neighborhood’ school. After Katrina, children from all over the city go to it, neighborhood children get no preference. Second of all, the renovation has NOTHING to do with ‘normal school functions’. Just look at the FEMA drawings above. The school now doesn’t look anything like that concrete monster they want to build. Third, every single neighbor has had issues with parents clogging up traffic, parking in people’s driveways, standing in the street chatting while traffic can’t get by, and just generally showing a complete disregard for the neighborhood. Fourth, EVERYTHING to do with this project has been marked by secrecy, underhandedness and arrogance from Audubon and OPSB. If the project is stalled…blame Audubon and OPSB. THEY are really the ones playing games with your children’s future.

      • Rose – I totally agree with you. If you don’t want to be “burdened” by the normal goings-on of school activities: pick-up, drop-off, kid’s noise, etc. THEN DO NOT LIVE NEAR A SCHOOL! Period. To expect peace and quiet during certain school hours M-F is unrealistic. And to not want to see ANY school have improvements made so that they can educate children in a clean, safe, nice environment or even possibly expand a school to reach out and educate MORE children, is crazy. New Orleans is a city. This is an urban environment. Tell those neighborhood people to move out to Metairie if they crave a suburban environment.

        Phil – newsflash – Newman, Sacred Heart, St. George’s etc. parents do the same thing with their big SUV’s: block driveways, stop in the middle of the street to let someone in and/or out, etc. It’s not specific to Audubon Charter.

        Boathead – I am a parent at Lycee, with friends at Audubon. I can tell you, the 2nd grade parents were begging Lycee to add grades all the way through 8th grade. The need from the community is there and it’s because Audubon doesn’t listen to their parents. Before Lycee came along, they didn’t care what parents thought. They didn’t do anything special to try to make parents happy. Why? They didn’t have to; there was no competition. Parents had to take it or leave it. Well now, there is competition and that’s a good thing because I am already hearing that Audubon is starting to make changes in the right direction to retain parents and that’s a good thing. The ones who benefit are the children. Unfortunately, for some parents the gesture is too little too late. Lycee, being a Charter school, is doing exactly what a Charter school is supposed to: create competition amongst schools to better themselves and offer parents a choice. Families interested in a French curriculum education for their children do have a free choice now: Audubon or Lycee. I think that’s great and I think it will be wonderful to see both schools grow and flourish.

        I keep hearing that people think Lycee is “stealing” kids from Audubon. Seriously? Who is putting a gun to their heads? If families are happy, they will stay at Audubon. If not, they can go to Lycee and vice-versa. My opinion? Audubon knows they need to step up their game to match up to Lycee and they are afraid of the short-term losses they might experience until they get there. However, as a Lycee parent, I think Audubon will get there and I am happy about that because I think both schools can and should co-exist and it doesn’t have to be one or the other. That’s nonsense.

        • Sorry, other schools manage to have a system where kids being picked off and dropped off works smoothly and does not put a burden on neighbors. Obviously Audubon can’t be bothered.

  7. Is my understanding essentially accurate or not? I’ve spelled it out in black and white. What I am asking is that if it is misinformation, then please specifically refute it and provide the correct information in black and white.

    And while I agree with both you and ZooParent that competition is healthy, combativeness and aggressive contention are not. The behavior of a few egomaniacs is giving French Bilingual education a black eye at the state, national, and even consular level.

  8. Why has the FEMA link gone bad? there is no link any more. It is not june 5th

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.