Unifying the Centers of Power Benefits Everyone ─
Alcohol Beverage Outlet (ABO) Moratorium
Sheldon Hersh, MD
Uptown Triangle Neighborhood Association
The neighborhood is the basic city planning unit. Building strong neighborhoods will ensure a strong New Orleans recovery. Alcohol Beverage Outlets (ABOs) in inappropriate numbers or locations bring neighborhood problems and hinder successful neighborhood rebuilding.
In March 2006, three Uptown neighborhood associations ─ Maple Area Residents, Inc, Upper Audubon Association, and Uptown Triangle Neighborhood Association ─ successfully partnered with a unanimous City Council to create a one-year moratorium banning new ABOs in the Carrollton-Audubon section of New Orleans. When neighborhoods are repopulated and democratic planning procedures are in place we will revisit the question of ABOs and other controversial issues.
Before Katrina New Orleans had two centers of power – City Hall and neighborhoods ─ which often battled each other. Post-Katrina, power has shifted. There are now four centers of power. Neighborhoods and City Hall survive, but some questions about our future are now decided in Baton Rouge and in Washington.
The centers of power, which know our city best and have most at stake, are neighborhoods and City Hall. Baton Rouge may not understand New Orleans, and Washington may not care about New Orleans.
Post-Katrina we seek a new model to resolve local planning issues. Instead of antagonism which prevailed before Katrina, neighborhoods and City government must cooperate.
If Baton Rouge and Washington see us divided and picking each other’s wounds, they may promote programs we may not like. But with united New Orleans neighborhoods and City Hall working together we can guide our own future.
Neighborhood must join neighborhood to promote local interests; neighborhoods must join City Hall to promote New Orleans interests. Partnering with City government brings us all a better deal.
A “normal” hurricane cycle (a hurricane without massive flooding) takes about two years for a city to recover. But because of the devastation and flooding brought by Katrina, our New Orleans recovery will be a ten-year cycle, with each year being better than the year before.
During this ten-year cycle the recovery plan Washington and Baton Rouge propose will undoubtedly change. We may not have much influence on the plan being launched now, but we can influence how the plan is carried out. No plan can succeed if City Hall and neighborhoods do not embrace it.
Citizen participation promotes transparency and trust in government. The Carrollton-Audubon ABO Moratorium is a model for neighborhoods partnering with City government to improve our beloved city. To rebuild successfully, neighborhoods need City Hall, and City Hall needs neighborhoods. Let us speak and act as one community.