The agenda for tonight’s meeting of the Carrollton-Riverbend Neighborhood Association includes an update on the state’s plans for James Weldon Johnson Elementary School and the old Priestly campus, as well as a discussion of the Neighborhood Engagement Task Force.
Stung by the pain of a broken promise, members of the James Weldon Johnson Elementary School community did their utmost Wednesday night to convince the new chief of the Recovery School District to resurrect a plan to move their campus to a safer, more prestigious site a few blocks away.
The Priestley site on Leonidas would symbolize social change, many said — traditionally, white schools in New Orleans were built on major thoroughfares like Leonidas, while black schools were tucked behind them in the neighborhood, like Johnson. But more importantly, the Priestley site is in a safer part of the neighborhood, they said.
“The crime is very high here,” said Johnson principal Wanda Brooks. “This school year, we had a killing in the back by the cafeteria.”
As the Riverbend community continues its fight to move the Johnson School to the former Priestley campus, neighborhood leaders have released a petition in hopes of showing school officials wide support for the project.
For decades an eyesore, the old Priestley school site on Leonidas now represents the neighborhood’s best hope for a community school, and the Carrollton-Riverbend Neighborhood Association is preparing to fight to be heard by state officials who currently plan to sell it.
Like parents, educators and community members at so many schools around the city, supporters of James Weldon Johnson Elementary in Carrollton are increasingly frustrated with the latest plans for their campus.
The public school system is embarking on a $2 billion three-phase to improve school facilities across New Orleans, and over the next month will be finalizing plans on how to distribute the money across the city. On Saturday, the latest version of these plans were presented at a public meeting at Xavier University, and among the new information was that renovations are no longer planned at the long-vacant Priestley High School site.
Two Uptown neighborhood associations and a charter school board are all scheduled to have their monthly meetings on Thursday.
The ReNEW Charter Management Organization board – which oversees Batiste Cultural Arts Academy at Live Oak and SciTech Academy at Laurel, both in the Irish Channel – will meet Thursday afternoon. That evening, the Irish Channel and Carrollton-Riverbend neighborhood associations are scheduled to have their May monthly meetings.
For further details and links to these and other events, see our full calendar listings below.
After years of representation in Baton Rouge by Jefferson Parish lawmakers, Carrollton residents see this year’s redistricting process as a chance to rejoin their neighbors in New Orleans, they told a panel of legislators in charge of the process Thursday night.
Similarly, the Irish Channel is seeking to have its neighborhood voice reunited in one legislative district, and at least one local state lawmaker called that request a goal he shares.
Cowbell on Oak Street and Pepperoni Cafe on nearby Hampson Street will be allowed to sell alcoholic beverages, the New Orleans City Council decided Thursday morning, but Bean Brothers Lounge was denied permission to reopen on Danneel Street in Central City.
A lack of specifics on the proposed reuse of the shuttered Priestley school campus frustrated two Carrollton area activists at a Tuesday evening meeting about the future of New Orleans school buildings in the Recovery School District.
“It’s a spectacular piece of property, and the amount of imagination that’s been directed toward what ought to be done with the property has been zilch,” Robbie Robertson, who lives a few blocks from the old school, said after the meeting.