On June 8, Occupy The Stage and other activists and New Orleanians marched in Solidarity with Occupy Gezi in Jackson Square and the French Quarter. It was great to march with Turkish families and friends who came out to support protesters in Istanbul.
Many local supporters of Occupy Gezi and members of the Turkish community arrived with flags and signs, and we had some markers and poster board, some flags, and made a few more signs.
They also brought copies of a printed flyer with information about Occupy Gezi and what is happening in Turkey.
They asked one of us to read their statement in the megaphone, which we were happy to do.
We marched around Jackson Square and then down Royal Street, waving flags and handing out flyers about the demands Occupy Gezi and what is happening in Istanbul
Here is a video of Occupy NOLA and supporters of Occupy Gezi marching for Gezi in Jackson Square and then French Quarter!
Finally, this video of NOLA singing in Turkish to Occupy Gezi ends with a wonderful message to the people in Turkey. "I wish I could be with them."
Speech made in Solidarity with Occupy Gezi
I am here today to show support for the Turkish resistance. I am here with Occupy New Orleans in solidarity with Occupy Gezi. I am here in solidarity with the people in Istanbul and Ankara. I am here because there is blood in the streets of Istanbul.
I am here in solidarity with every human being who has stood up against government oppression, government corruption, and police brutality.
If you have family or friends in Turkey, you might be worried about them. You be angry about what is happening to the protesters in Turkey. I am angry about what is happening to the protesters Turkey. I have been following the news coming out of Taksir Square on what Erdoğan calls the worst menace to society - Twitter.
I have seen the tear gas and the bullets and the water hoses in photographs. I watched a young man filming the protest with his phone and talked to him on Twitter. He sent me a picture of the mayor smiling. He asked me to tell everyone that the government of Turkey should resign.
What is happening in Turkey is an injustice. The government should allow people to kiss on subways and in public. In April, Ankara subway officials made an announcement asking passengers “to act in accordance with moral rules” after security cameras spotted the couple kissing.
That was only the beginning. People say the current revolution in Turkey started with a peaceful protest of the government’s plan to demolish the GEZI PARKI in Taksim on Tuesday, the 28th MAY 2013. This park is one of the very few parks left in the city. The government decided to build a shopping mall in this location. The people of Turkey did not want this and stood up to their government. Turkish people protesting peacefully in the park were attacked by police who used tear gas and water hoses. I have seen photographs of gas canisters and bullets used by Turkish police. This is unacceptable.
The people of Turkey are trying very hard to get their message across. The Prime Minister controls all the media. None of the national TV channels broadcasted the country wide protests. This is unacceptable.
I understand that the demands of Occupy Gezi and the Taksim Solidarity Platform include the following:
One. Gezi Parkı must remain a park
Two. The governors, the police chiefs, and the officials who gave orders for a violent crackdown on the protests must resign
Three. The use of teargas and similar chemical weapons by the police must be outlawed
Four. Detained protesters must be released immediately
Five. Laws prohibiting demonstrations in public places must be abolished
We sincerely hope that these and other demands are met and are here in solidarity with you. Occupy New Orleans has made similar demands to our government.
Corrupt government officials and police should resign.
When the government and the police will not listen to us, we only have each other. That is what Occupy taught me. Occupy taught me that where there is anger, there is often love. When the government burns down tents and takes hundreds or thousands of people into custody, there is a reason to be angry.
Occupy has taught me that people are still willing to care about one another. I have anger in my heart about the way the Turkish Government and many other governments including the United States government have treated people.
With that anger there is also love for the people, all people, who are willing to resist. Occupy taught me that we are human beings who can stand together with a bond that is stronger than police in riot gear. Stronger than any government.
If there is nothing I can do alone except tell you that I am here in solidarity with all people fighting government oppression, then I that is what I will do. But I hope to do more. I hope to march. For Turkey. For Istanbul. For the Anonymous Solidarity Network. For Occupiers Everywhere. For everyone who has refused to sit down and allow the government to smash their human rights.
Today we march in solidarity with Turkey and with all people who believe a better world is possible.
What do we want?
When do we want it?
No Jusice. No Peace.
Regarding the event scheduled for Saturday, June 8 in solidarity with Occupy Gezi, Occupy The Stage looks forward to showing solidarity and attending a march and rally that reflects the solidarity statement
However, it should not go unnoticed that Occupy The Stage is extremely disappointed with the June 7th posts made on the original Facebook page for Occupy New Orleans
. We do not support "taking Jackson Square" and would like it to be clear that the people posting instructions to do so on that poorly managed Facebook page have never met us in real life, have never come to a general assembly, and have never attended an action with us. The page has called for a reoccupation and a taking of Jackson Square rashly and with no planning or consensus. Someone who manages a Facebook page - a page that we consider "hijacked" - has given admin privileges to people we do not even know, and they are sending messages recklessly.
We are not interested in lending our credibility to calls for action that are nothing short of attacks on the local artists.
We do not trust people who threaten the local community by announcing that they will "take Jackson Square" or "reoccupy" it.
We will be happy to march and rally with anyone who wants to show solidarity with Turkey, but we absolutely refuse to disrupt the artists, buskers, musicians, tarot card readers, or other members of the 99% whose livelihoods depend on Jackson Square. We worked hard with MACCNO to make sure Jackson Square stayed open 24/7.
Showing solidarity with Turkey does not require disrupting the local community, especially our friends the musicians and artists.
We look forward to participating by contributing to a creative demonstration and solidarity march, and we are extremely supportive of Occupy Gezi.
However, we are locals, and we have been here a long time, and we choose locations for our actions more wisely.
The last time we held a march in Jackson Square, it was to celebrate our role in the ACLU lawsuit that won the First Amendment for the entire city during the Super Bowl. At that time, we showed support for the local artists, tarot card readers, musicians, and buskers, much like we did with our Second Line Protest in support of live music on April 25 of 2013.
We consider those who work in Jackson Square our friends, our allies, and indeed, we know many of you.
Expect Us, but on the good friendly terms you've met us on in the past.
Jackson Square is the people's square, and we will NOT take it from the people.
~ Occupy The Stage
You're invited! Calling all musicians, buskers, artists, circus clowns, flag corps, mimes, puppeteers, regular folks, irregular folks, cats, dogs, baboons, dancers, lovers of music, Every-Damned-Body!Sunday, May 5th at 6pm, we will show our support for all the good folks that make New Orleans great!
The Free The Music parade will bring free music to the streets of the Jazz Fest neighborhood to raise awareness about the city's ridiculous crackdown on live music venues and musicians.
You don't need to buy a ticket.
You don't need a corporate sponsor.
Just come out Sunday, May 5, 6pm and be ready to play music and dance in the streets.
The Bywater Rising Protest/ Second Line in support of live music venues, musicians, buskers, artists, DJs was great. We decided we wouldn't stop there.
RSVP on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/232432533555103/
NOTE: This has nothing to do with Jon Bon Jovi.
The second week of Justice Fest will last from Thursday, May 2 - Sunday, May 5.
2013 Celebrate justice and music at the location formerly known as the Sacred Shrine of Jon Bon Jovi.
Justice is not dead. Lady Justice has merely been taken hostage. And when there is no justice, there will be no peace.
We do not support the fact that Shell Oil is a corporate sponsor of Jazz Fest. We love NOLA music and culture but not Shell Oil.
We do not support Mayor Landrieu’s crackdown on live music venues, musicians, buskers, artists, and performers. We will resist the ridiculous citations residents living near Jazz Fest have received for having Yard Sales or "transient vending."
We do not forget Guadalupe.
And we hate Clean Zones!
We welcome you to bring info related to Social Justice Issues to this location during Jazz Fest.
In addition to Free Aqua Net Hairspray, the shrine will offer information about different Social Justice issues in New Orleans.
Please feel free to stop by during festival hours and be ready for some creative demonstrations.
Justice Fest Events - You can RSVP on the individual Facebook event pages if you like!
We might add more events or have spontaneous events. Some activities are ongoing, so stop by any time during Jazz Fest.
Friday May 3 DIY Stencil Party 2:00pm until 8:00pm https://www.facebook.com/events/374830725968708/
Let's stencil! We have some great stencils and spray paint and will stencil anything you bring! Or, bring your own stencils and we can swap designs.
Want to learn how to make stencils? Have stencil skills to share? The more the merrier! We have spray paint! If you can, bring your own exacto blade!
Saturday May 4 9:00 to 11 pm
Let’s send 100 postcards to political prisoners - Mail to the Jail https://www.facebook.com/events/158326777669320/
Let's get 100 postcards to send to political prisoners. Bring an original handmade postcard (handmade is ideal, but if you want to bring one you didn't make, that's okay), or come and make a postcard at Justice Fest.
We'd love to get a photo gallery of all the postcards and then mail them to political prisoners.
We'll have addresses and info on political prisoners so you can learn about their different circumstances, but check out Op Pen Pal http://oppenpal.wordpress.com/mailing-list/
and Mail to the Jail if you have a specific political prisoner you know you'd like to write to. http://mailtothejail.org/
We'll also have fun prizes for original hand made postcards!
You can just drop off your postcard on the way to Jazz Fest, or spend some time making postcards and learning about different political prisoners!
We'll be showing short films about various prisoners on the porch!
May 4 - May 5 Chalk Party https://www.facebook.com/events/543195785731834/
Let's make the sidewalks and streets around the Jazz Fest area beautiful before Sunday's Free The Music Parade!
Feel free to stop by Justice Fest for chalk ideas and some chalk, or just get out there and CHALK THE WORLD!
May 5 Sunday - Face Painting Party 2pm - 5:30pm https://www.facebook.com/events/118444485020416/
Come get your face painted in time to march in the Free The Music Parade! HERE: https://www.facebook.com/events/232432533555103/
We have face paint, and if you have your own face painting kit and skills, feel free to come by, set up, and accept donations.
Free The Music Parade 6- 8pm May 5 https://www.facebook.com/events/232432533555103/
Calling all musicians, buskers, artists, circus clowns, flag corps, dancers, lovers of music!
Free The Music parade will bring free music to the streets of the Jazz Fest neighborhood.
You don't need to buy a ticket.
You don't need a corporate sponsor.
Just come out Sunday, May 5, 6pm and be ready to play music and dance in the streets.
The Bywater Rising Protest/ Second Line in support of live music venues, musicians, buskers, artists, DJs was great. We decided we wouldn't stop there. DISCLAIMER
NOTE: These events are not sponsored by Shell Oil or Jon Bon Jovi, Bon Jovi, or in any way connected to them except some of them will be taking place at a location that holds the remnants of a Shrine devoted to Jon Bon Jovi that small affair made years ago.
On April 25, small_affair and ots_nola will be livestreaming/ livetweeting
the Protest/ Second Line and using the hashtags #BywaterRising and #NOLANoise!
We made the news!Second Line Protest on The Gambit blogSecond Line Protest on Offbeat website
Calling all DJs, street musicians, live musicians, music venues, buskers and NOLA citizens who love live music! ENOUGH is ENOUGH! Second Line in Support of Stopping the crackdown on music venues and musicians, DJs and buskers.
Show support for keeping The Music at Mimi's and other music venues! Show support for street musicians, DJs, and bands!
At 6:00pm Thursday, April 25th we will Second Line in the streets in support of New Orleans music and culture. Meet near Mickey Markey Park (700 Piety) @ Royal for a Second Line!
Bring your signs, banners, props, puppets, instruments, noise makers, band members, friends, and lovers!
RSVP on Facebook!
Gulf Restoration Network: United for a healthy Gulf of Mexico
is holding a BP Disaster 3 year Memorial Demonstration on April 20 at 1pm.
Come on out to the Amphitheater at Washington Artillery Park across from Jackson Square!
On April 20, 2010, 11 people lost their lives and the biggest environmental disaster in our nation's history began. Three years later, BP's oil is still here, and it continues to impact the people, places, and wildlife of the Gulf.
Please join us on April 20, 2013, to mark 3 years of BP's ongoing disaster, memorialize all that has been lost, and join the call for justice for the Gulf.
The event will include simple visual demonstrations, using our people power, of the ongoing disaster and its impacts on the Gulf, which will be made into a short video and distributed on the internet to raise awareness about the urgent need for restoration and to hold BP accountable for the damages incurred.
Please wear black. The first 100 people to arrive will receive a free t-shirt designed for the event, which you can wear during the filming.
What: 3 year memorial of the BP disaster, visual demonstration
When: Saturday, April 20th at 1pm
Where: Amphitheater at Washington Artillery Park (across from Jackson Square in the French Quarter)
***Please wear black***
Contact Amanda at 504-273-4838 or Moorea@nwf.org with any questions. It will likely be hot! Bring a water bottle, we'll have cool water available for refills
Supported by National Audubon Society, Environmental Defense Fund, Gulf Restoration Network, NRDC, National Wildlife Federation, Public Citizen, Sierra Club, Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper, LEAN, Build a Better Planet, Epoca Verde, Green Living, Thomas Strategies & Waltzer Wiygul & Garside Law Firm
Legalize Louisiana Picnic and Rally 4pm till dusk!
Calling all DJs, street musicians, live musicians, music venues, and NOLA citizens who love live music! ENOUGH is ENOUGH! Second Line in Support of Stopping the Crackdown on Music Venues and Musicians!
Show support for keeping The Music at Mimi's and other music venues! Show support for street musicians, DJs, and bands!
At 6:00pm Thursday, April 25th we will Second Line in the streets in support of New Orleans music and culture. Meet near Mickey Markey Park on the corner of Royal and Piety for a Second Line!
We'll parade down Royal, pass Mimi's, head over to St Roch Tavern, and return to Mimi's for a triumphant celebration.
Let's join together - musicians and community members - and celebrate NOLA's vibrant music scene. WHY?
- Because New Orleans citizens will not stand by and watch attempts to quiet New Orleans' vibrant music scene.
- Because we're tired of business closures and harassment from city government.
- Because we're tired of public space being taken from the people who use it most.
- Because we stand with artists, musicians, buskers who are being forced off the street and into starvation.
- Because the Je ne sais quoi of New Orleans will be packaged and incorporated if we don't!
We've seen the Landrieu administration's crack down on venues featuring live music and DJs
. We've seen the absurd verdict handed down to St Roch Tavern
by the Alcohol Beverage Control Board. We've seen permit-holding artists threatened to choose between arrest or their livelihood
Now a group "HEAR THE MUSIC STOP THE NOISE"
has targeted Mimi's!
Let's Second Line!
Wear costumes, bring an instrument, bring your band, bring your props, banners, flags, noise makers; bring your friends and lovers and kids, and dance in the streets for the love of NOLA culture.
Please share this far and wide!RSVP on Facebook if you'd like.
Downloadable Files in PDF Form for Printing. The 3rd flyer is a MS Word document if you'd like to edit it.
This Revolution Will Be Televised (in the streets)!
TriLumination Guerrilla Projection Squad has launched in New Orleans! A few members of Occupy The Stage are projecting images and videos on public walls! For a long time, we've been wanting to share activism-related Indy Media with the general public. Our Free Anons Mardi Gras float was well-received, and locals made it clear that they were interested in learning more about political prisoners but didn't know where to find the information. We'll be bringing the revolution to the streets.
The First Few Days!
We've finally gotten a projector rigged up to a tricycle, complete with a car battery and charger! TriLumination Guerrilla Projection Squad embarked upon its maiden voyage on March 19th, 2013.
We're still working out the technical aspect, but right now, we can project videos and slide shows onto walls by placing a projector, car battery, and inverter in the basket on the back of a large tricycle.
My car is so old, it doesn't have a working cigarette lighter socket, and logistically it seems easier to use the tricycle so we don't have to worry about finding a parking place AND a decent wall to project on. To figure out how to supply power to the projector while using a tricycle, we used the Projection Bombing tip sheet from Instructables and the great tip sheet from The Illuminator website. What we used:
- Trike with basket
- Optoma Projector
- MacBook with special adapter cord to connect to projector
- 750 w Power Inverter (where you plug the projector cord in)
- Car Battery (connects to inverter)
- 1 Amp Slow Charger Battery Charger (charges battery from electrical outlet)
- Plywood cut to size of trike basket
- Zipties and bungee cords to secure battery to basket
- Videos supporting Free Anons on YouTube
- PowerPoint to make slideshow if we weren't using internet connection
- Photos, facts, info about NDAA for NDAA slideshow
- Hotspot to give WiFi to laptop to show videos
- Backpack to carry laptop and projector while en route
- Headlamps to wear while riding bikes
- Android to livestream the experience
We don't have very loud speakers yet, so we made a slideshow about the NDAA and a playlist of Free Anons videos that had a lot of text on them, so important information would be accessible visually. We also had to come up with a name for our Guerrilla Projection project, and Other Possibilities Network helped us brainstorm. J (@ots_nola) came up with TriLumination!
- Tri - because the projector is on a tricycle!
- Lumination - because we want to light up the nation with information mainstream media isn't
- Squad - because we're a very small unit of OTS members focusing on Guerrilla Projecting!
Maiden Voyage March 19
With the battery partially charged and the projector and laptop in my backpack, J and I headed downtown to Frenchmen Street. I rode my bike and he maneuvered the tricycle through the construction on Esplanade.
A live band was playing on the street corner on Frenchmen, so we decided to set the projector up on a side street where we could project on a garage door. Music from the live band played as we first showed the NDAA slide show and answered questions as people walked by and stopped to ask what we were doing.
We're really looking forward to showing more Free Anons videos and slide shows, as well as videos and images related to activist causes, Indy media, the Occupy Movement, the NDAA, NOKXL, Walmart Strikers, and issues the mainstream media ignores! We'll be sharing #OpPenPal info when we show videos of political prisoners, so we hope this will raise awareness about the political persecution and help with Mail to The Jail!On a personal note, I seriously want to live in a city where less people ask me "Who is Jeremy Hammond?" A lot of people just aren't getting the information, so we are trying to change that.
If you have any videos or images that you'd like to share with us so we can project them, please CONTACT US or holler at @small_affair on Twitter. Videos that include text or captions in the actual video are ideal right now because we don't have a loud speaker system yet, and it's New Orleans, so there might be a band playing in the street at any time!
Thanks to everyone who offered technical tips and watched our first night of Guerrilla Projecting!
Check out our livestream of first TriLumination Guerrilla Projection Squad
Come on out to the BNA Meeting Tuesday, March 12 7pm!
We are happy to share the following invitation from Save Markey Park
If you can, please attend the next Bywater Neighborhood Association Meeting, which is Tuesday, March 12th at 7:00 pm at Holy Angels Convent at St. Claude and Gallier.
According to their website
, "All Bywater residents are encouraged to attend and express their opinions and concerns." If you feel they have not representing our wishes on this issue, let's let them know that.
Details at savemarkeypark.org
This stuffed dog has been chained to a fence for over a week because the dogs say "Woof no, we won't go!"
On Sunday, March 3 from 11 a.m. - 1:00 pm, Save Markey Park
- New Orleans Advocates for an off-leash dog area in Markey Park - will be having a Sign-Making Party/Demonstration of Support for an Off-Leash Area for Dogs in Markey Park.
The group, which Occupy NOLA and Occupy The Stage are supporting, announced the following:
"On Sunday from 11am-1pm let's make signs and put them on the fences at the park to get our message out there. We're inviting the press. We need lots of people and dogs!"
Community Voices Speak Out!
We've included a few statements by community members!What I learned at the Bywater Neighborhood Association meeting tonight: there are quite a few people who seem to believe that area dogs are walking, biking, and driving themselves to Mickey Markey Playground and enjoying the space at the expense of neighborhood Children and People, and SOMETHING MUST BE DONE ABOUT THIS. TAKE BACK MARKEY PARK!!!!!!!!! also: "Flexible Green Space" = some kind of bullshit people actually think bywater residents will use. yes, lemme go throw a frisbee/fly a kite/have a picnic on those vacant lots next to the playground the 8 small children who live in this neighborhood sometimes use. that sounds like fun. or how bout we just put a sign up that says "Check it out! Empty space with bushes where you can take a quick shit/shoot up/meet with a pal to exchange money or blowjobs for drugs!" OOORRRRRRRR i can just take my dog over there to play, and shoot the shit with the other dog owners like i've been doing for years OH NO THAT'S JUST CRAZY TALK" - Jane Deaux"We need to get an itemized accounting for the $600 MILLION budgeted for this park. As we are not getting new playground equipment I can only imagine that at least $500 million will be wasted, on "impact studies", and other "research" ie lining pockets. Only by getting an itemized accounting of where this incredible amount of money is going (and we aren't getting anything that would bring children's programs to the area ie scouts, 4H, music, art, or any after school programs) can we start holding their feet to the fire on this one. Someone is getting rich & we need to find out who."
"I'm going to speak freely here. Please, no one take offense to what I'm about to say. Is it just me or has it seemed lately that a few influx of rich white mundane yuppie types who want to make New Orleans like the place they moved from gotten a little too much power and sway? I see more condos and more complaints about venues and second lines than before pre Katrina. Hell pre Katrina you tell me there would be condos in the Bywater ( upper 9th ) I would of laughed! Who are these people? Why did they move here? Don't they know what this city is about? My guess is they have the money to build, they have the money to redevelop. To buy and gobble up property. Sell our traditions and our heritage to the highest bidder. Folks we the original New Orleans are becoming a minority now! GET INVOLVED! TAKE YOUR CITY BACK! I aint against fixing shit up, I'm against fixing shit up and saying that neighborhood bar that's been there for 60 years, those Mardi Gras Indians that have walked those streets before I was born, that street musician that has played on that same corner since 1992 has got to go! That's what I'm against! TAKE YOUR CITY BACK!"
"in a nation where households of dog owners (43 million) now surpassed those with children (38 million)." I wonder what the statistics are in NOLA. I don't hear a request to ban kids or a dog free area Just a request for an area for free dogs that is already in a park that IS currently primarily a dog park. The rest of the park would still be 'safe for the wheel chair guy', and could still potentially have 'dog poo' both issues that are excuses for not having free dogs. "The riverfront dog run is already under construction" .... SO in addition to Markey park, families & kids are getting a new school Colton Middle School... according to recareas . com it has a playground (Probably Pre-Katrina, and planned again) --- And since the river project "has funding" they should probably make sure it has a playground area. Or a picknick area like they have at the fly. --- Oh wait. They are planning of having big ships load and unload there. Might as well just burn the neighborhood down."
Partial Timeline of BNA, NORD-C, and Decision to Exclude Dog Area fro markey Park Redevelopment Plans.
Below are some questions and a partial timeline of the history of these committees. Questions:
- Where was the Feb 25 closing of Markey Park first announced and by whom?
- What was the chain of command and that led to the notice about Markey Park closing Feb 25? What specific organizations and representatives of organizations were involved?
- Who made the decision to not include off-leash dog area in Markey Park? (2011 letter from BNA Board and statement from Trust for Public Land Rep at Feb 27 meeting contradict one another.)
- Who says money for projects cannot be used for a park that includes off-leash dog areas?Why is there a proposed ordinance/law saying only 1 dog park can exist per district and how can this be stopped/appealed? Who is the contact person?
- Why does a 501c that is not democratically elected get to receive and allocate funds for constituency?
- What is City Hall’s (Mayor Landrieu’s) role in decision to keep dogs out of Markey Park?
- Why are the April 2012 minutes not available on the NORD section of the city website?
- What is the BNA going to do with the 200,000 it is receiving for the park?
The NORD Commission consists of 13 members appointed by the Mayor.Partial timeline as of Feb 28:
Here is an incomplete timeline of events pertaining to the BNA’s relationship with NORD and Citizen Advisory Task Force on Dogs:
- BNA wrote to Coucilwoman Palmer asking to receive $200,000 for park. From BNA online archive http://www.thebywater.org/
dbpdfs/Markey_Park_Funds_Palmer_100924.pdf.July 12, 2011
- NORDC Meeting
Commissioner Reese Morse motioned that the full Commission authorize the Facilities Sub-Committee to create a Citizens Advisory Committee to develop a process specific to looking at pets in parks and other related issues. Commissioner Darnell seconded that motion. Vote taken. Motion adopted.Sept 2011
- NORDC created the Citizen Advisory Task Force on Dogs in Parks. October 2011 - January 2012
- Dog Task Force held 6 public meetings.November 2011
- BNA sent a letter to TPL stating its position was that Markey Park was for people only. John Guarnierie (chair of BNA at the time) wrote to TPL specifically recommending that they submit a park design excluding an off-leash area for dogs AFTER the neighborhood survey clearly indicated that a majority of residents wanted an off-leash dog park. http://www.thebywater.org/dbpdfs/Schmidt_ltr_111111.pdfDecember 11, 2011
- Task force Chairwoman Jackie Shreves and BNA are quoted in a TP article
More recently, it made headlines when the Trust for Public Land announced
it would pay $600,000 to improve the park. Lisanne Brown of the Bywater Neighborhood Association said the question of how to manage dogs in the park became a hot button issue at the first meeting about the park’s refurbishment.
“For so many years NORD wasn’t doing anything at all with the park, so neighborhood people invested themselves in trying to keep it up and have a place to take their dogs,” Brown said. “A community grew around it and they don’t want that threatened. But at the same time, the dog people know that the current space allocation in the park needs to be changed to be fairer to everyone.”
The task force is considering recommending to the NORDC facilities committee two distinct types of dog venues: off-leash dog parks and off-leash dog runs.Feb 2012
- Citizen Advisory Task Force on Dogs reported back to NORDC (which created it). Feb 2012
- NORDC Facilities Subcommittee “a committee of the commission” reviewed the task force’s recommendations and information on other cities’ policies. **** So NORDC had a committee to review its own committee’s findings????) Feb 2012 -
The NORDC committee that reviewed the findings of the Task Force on Dogs asked the city’s Capital Projects Administration to design a process to recommend sites for one dog park and one dog run in each City Council district. April 2012 -
The Capital Projects Administration made this survey about dogs and parks https://www.surveymonkey.com/
s/2VZC2L7. April 2012 - NORD Commission
appears to have met meet but Meeting minutes are missing from city website due to broken link. April 2012: BNA Newsletter
The NORDC Facilities Sub-committee met February 28th,
chaired by Deputy Mayor Judy Reese Morse. Capital Projects
Consideration of Citizen Advisory Task Force (CATF) on Dogs in Parks
Chair’s Report and Minority Report: The Commission reviewed both reports and had some discussion about the issue. The NORDC Director stated that his staff was doing what they could to enforce the current ordinances, but that many residents were intentionally breaking them such as removing signage in NORD parks. The CATF process was criticized for not including more public comment The Director of Capital Projects, Vince Smith, will obtain more public input from residents and suggest a process for identifying appropriate dog park areas by district. No vote was taken on the issue at this meeting. Larry Schmidt (Trust for Public Land) attended. He said that he has a memorandum of understanding (MOA) with the city and NORDC to develop Markey Park and that the private funders supporting the project want funds spent this calendar year. He requested to move forward under the original
agreement and not consider the issue of the dog park at this time (the original agreement did not include a dog park/run). He said a dog park could be possible in the future. He will present plans at the next sub-committee meeting for approval so TPLApril 31, 2012-
New Orleans Capital and Recovery ProjectsNORDC City Wide Dog Park Presentation
shows survey found 70% of respondents agree that the City of NOLA should have designated off-leash spaces
Lists Mickey Markey Park as 1 of top 5 locations used be survey respondents as off-leash dog location. Markey Park is short-listed.
Bywater residents believed the redevelopment of Markey Park would include an area for off leash dogs. FEB 2013
Problems with unbuilt River Front Park (which is where NORD is saying dogs should go) are described in NOLA Defender http://www.noladefender.com/content/riv34erfr67ont
NORDC meets but February 5, 2013 Presentation minutes from meeting are missing due to broken link..Feb 2013
- NORD Announces it will close down Markey Park. Flyers are posted in park.
Bywater Residents voice concerns on OccupyNOLA Facebook Page.
“Just a heads up to the Occupy community: On Monday, February 25, [The New Orleans Recreation Development Foundation
] NORD is going to close down Markey Park in the Bywater. There were a series of lively, well-attended meetings about how to redevelop the park with a grant from the Trust for Public Land. Overwhelmingly the neighborhood wants part of the park to remain an off-leash dog park. The design firm observed the daily use of the park for a week, remarked how highly-used it is, then came up with three plans, all of which divided the space in thirds, for a playground, a dog park, and a free space. The meetings were a testament to civic involvement, cooperation and democracy. Then, Vic Richards, the head of NORD, surreptitiously commissioned his own plan, without dogs and rammed it through. This park is an integral community meeting place and it is about to go from being highly used to a drive-by “show park” for developers. The community is angry that we were told we’d have a say, and then clearly did not. P.S. The proposed “dog run” at the Riverfront Park will be much smaller, on-leash, and is, at this point, is not constructed.”Feb 21- Save Markey Park
Facebook event is created by Bywater residents and advocates of keeping park dog friendly.Feb 21 - posting on the BNA’s Facebook page
indicates that the February 25 start date for park renovations will be pushed back because more preparations are needed before the work begins.
FEB 22 NOLA Defender runs OpEd in favor of including dog area in park. http://www.noladefender.com/content/op-ed-by34water-re67sidents-left-out-markey-park-plans FEB 22
- BNA Issues statement about Markey Park on Facebook Page (of all places).
The Bywater Neighborhood Association (BNA) would like to set the record straight on Mickey Markey Park. To begin with, it is not an off-leash dog park. New Orleans Code of Ordinances § 18-14 provides that dogs away from their home must, at all times, be kept on a leash. Further, § 18-13 of the Code requires all dog owners to clean up after their dogs or be fined. The only exceptions are for licensed off-leash dog parks. The only legal off-leash dog park in New Orleans is City Bark in Mid-City’s City Park (See New Orleans Code Ord. § 106-301(d); see also http://www.nola.com/pets/index.ssf/2012/
Although other locations, such as The Fly, are popular dog- owner destinations, the law does not allow dogs to be off their leashes there.
The same is true with Markey Park, where signs at the entrance to the park clearly state that all dogs must be kept on leashes. Nonetheless, in violation of the law, many people let their dogs run free. Needless to say, Markey Park cannot “remain” a dog park, because it is not, in fact, a dog park. Nor do the pro-dog advocates have an answer for the copious amounts of dog waste that can be found in the current incarnation of Markey Park, in violation of the law. Case in point, in preparing for the Mirliton Festival in 2011, BNA volunteers picked up 93 bags of dog waste. Many parents have complained that their children cannot use the open space at Markey Park because of the dog waste and the risks posed by off-leash dogs. (See above article.)
In 2010, the Bywater Parks and Recreation Committee undertook a survey of Bywater residents. The surveys were conducted online (through a heavily advertised link), were handed out at a table at the Mirliton Festival, and were done in person, by going door-to-door.
44% of respondents indicated they did not use Markey Park because of the dog waste, while 31% responded they did not use it because of off-leash dogs in general. The respondents indicated the four most popular reasons for using parks were for special events, relaxation and picnics, exercise and walking, and socializing. While approximately half of respondents who used Markey Park indicated they brought dogs to the park, the vast majority of people said they would use the park more if renovations were made, including placing restrictions on dogs. The results were reported to the BNA’s general membership and posted on the BNA’s website in May 2011.
In January 2011, the Trust for Public Land (TPL) approached the BNA about renovating Markey Park through private funds. TPL has the capacity to raise funds to complement the original $200,000 that was allocated to Markey Park by the Community-Based Mitigation Committee (CBMC) allocated to the project. CBMC, however, put in place the restriction that its funds would not be used for dog areas. TPL did not put in place the same restriction explicitly, but after responding to community and city input, took the same position. While this concerned Bywater residents who owned dogs, it became clear that the new park might not happen without these funds. Around the same time, news broke that the new Riverfont Park would include an off-leash dog area.
In June 2011, the New St. Claude Association of Neighbors (NSCAN) took the position that Markey Park should be returned to full, dedicated use for children. The BNA, noting that the law does not allow off-leash dogs in Markey Park, met and voted to also take the position that Markey Park should be used primarily for people, but remained open to workable solutions in the future. Both groups notified the city of their positions.
Throughout late 2011 and spring 2012, multiple public meetings were had on the subject of Markey Park, and at one in 2012, the Director of the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission
(NORDC), Vic Richards, made clear that Markey Park would not be an off-leash dog park. This was consistent with the city’s cracking down on dog owners who violated leash laws citywide. (See http://www.nola.com/pets/index.ssf/2012/03/dog_parks_on_agenda_for_new_or.html.
Mr. Richard indicated, however, that dog owners had alternative options, such as finding vacant lots that could be turned into dedicated dog parks; but, that for health and safety reasons, the city did not want to allow residents and off-leash dogs to recreate in the same space. The City indicated, though, that dogs were welcome to public parks, provided the dogs were on leashes and the owners cleaned up after them. (See same article.)
Three proposed designs for Markey Park were made with community input, which each featured an area for dogs. The BNA took no official position on these three options. The BNA did, however, request that the TPL offer an option without an off-leash dog area, since NORDC would be who decided whether one would be permitted. The city, during a public meeting, solicited a fourth option, with no dog area. Ultimately, the city chose the fourth option. The entire process was open and transparent. This was not a failure of the democratic process, but simply recognizing that it was unsanitary and unsafe for off-leash dogs and children to share the same open space, while carrying out the city’s policy that each district should have only one dog park, and that Bywater’s one dog park was slated for the Riverfront.
In part, the city’s policies recognize that one of the major problems with off-leash dogs is violence. Dog attacks, or near-scares of being bitten, have been a re-occurring problem in New Orleans with off- leash dogs, in general, and at Markey Park, in particular. The BNA has requested from the New Orleans Police Department a report of dog bite incidents at Markey Park, and will share that upon receipt. The other problem with off-leash dog parks is maintenance and cleanliness. Currently, 70- 80% of Markey Park is well-trod grass, covered with dog waste, and is dangerous with all the dogs running about (often barely watched by their owners). It is not sanitary for children (or adults) to be sliding in grass with dog urine and feces. As it is, Markey Park smells, is unattractive, and constantly poses the risk to people of being bitten by a dog.
While the BNA has long recognized that many people want to use Markey Park as an off-leash dog park, it has no authority to re-write the New Orleans Code of Ordinances to make that happen. Moreover, after agonizing over the decision of what is best for the neighborhood, the democratically elected members of the Board voted in favor of endorsing Markey Park for people. Many New Orleans neighborhoods have the benefit of attractive, safe, clean parks for use by themselves, their friends, and families. Markey Park is not one of those parks. But it could be.
Feb 25, 2013: City tractors and workers come to Markey Park in droves and cut grass. Video
Feb 26 - Petition is formed I want a dedicated off-leash area for dogs in Markey Park!
Feb 27, 2013 : BNA meets about dogs and Markey Park. Meeting is recorded on video here
At Parks and Recreation Committee Meeting Monday, February 25, TPL Rep said it was Judy Reese Morse
who told TPL NO DOGS at Markey Park. TPL Rep says Fence around Markey Park will come down at this minute mark
We are the 50.8 %
Supporters of keeping Markey Park dog-friendly can attend the New Orleans Parks and Recreation Committee Meeting Wednesday, February 27, 2013
at 7:30PM Holy Angels Convent3500 St. Claude Avenue (@ Congress)New Orleans, LA 70117 Agenda:
- Markey Park renovation plans and maintenance- identification of maintenance company
- Update on Riverfront Park and Stallings
- Discussion of recreational activities in Bywater
The "Save Markey Park" cause has brought a number of New Orleans residents and ex-pats together in defense of Bywater residents' desire to keep Markey Park
dog-friendly, despite the city's latest development plan that excludes dogs and community input.
The following phrases have been exchanged among locals over the past few days:Occupy Markey Park!!! Power to the people!
*picture dog* slogan 'WE can't be GENTRIFIED'
Parks got bailed out - dogs got sold out
Please see our previous post Is there no home for gentrified dogs? NORD Markey Park Redevelopment Plan Is Not What Democracy Looks Like #ONOLA
for back story!On Monday, February 25, Markey Park experienced what seemed like a show of force from NORD when City Park and Rec workers arrived with a number of tractors. A worker interviewed said it didn't make sense that NORD sent so many people, in the rain, just to cut the grass. A city employee that was interviewed said it was un scheduled and that they received a call this morning to go out in the rain.
VIDEO of city workers with tractors Monday (it was livestreamed) http://bambuser.com/v/3400659?v=The Bywater Neighborhood Association does not seem to be representing Bywater residents.Apparently, John Guarnieri, 2011 Chair of the Bywater Neighborhood Association Board of Directors, wrote to the Trust for Public Land requesting that they not support dogs in Micky Markey Park. This was sent about 2 weeks after original meeting on park with TPL on 10/26/11. This info was published on the official BNA correspondence section of the BNA website but was never published in the BNA newsletter. Link to pdf: http://www.thebywater.org/dbpdfs/Schmidt_ltr_111111.pdf .
In the fall of 2010, Bywater residents from primarily the south side of St. Claude completed a survey about Parks and Recreation (201 surveys were completed through door to door interviews and another 92 were completed online.)
Even though 50% of the survey respondents said they used Markey Park to play with their dogs, BNA "urged [the TPL] to prepare a design alternative that does not have space dedicated to off-leash dogs" because "Markey Park is for people and that it should be returned to its lawful and intended use."
The Trust for Public Land's website contains this little gem about the park:
"Soon after Hurricane Katrina, Bywater residents launched community meetings with the goal of revitalizing the neighborhood and renovating Mickey Markey Park was a top priority. This two acre park has been fenced off from the neighborhood because of lead contamination since early 2011...The Trust for Public Land is working in partnership with the New Orleans Recreation Department Commission and the Bywater Neighborhood Association to develop a community-driven design for Markey Park. Park improvements may include new landscaping, dog park area, lighting, and other amenities. The park may also include a Fitness Zone, outdoor exercise equipment for adults that The Trust for Public Land has already successfully introduced in Los Angeles."
Legally that fact that some entrances are accessible to handicapped people does not change the fact that the plans for River Front Park do not comply with Federal ADA guidelines.
People with service dogs will be especially affected, and one can't just say to them, oh, well use a different entrance.
Quotes from Advocates for Keeping Mickey Markey ParkPark Dog Friendly!
"BNA is, at best, a special-interest group that does not represent the will of the neighborhood, and, at worst, is a fraudulent organization getting kickbacks from private contracts, how do we proceed in taking back our park from these people?"
"How can a 'neighborhood association' be at odds with the neighbors?
Isn't that who they are supposed to represent, or is it just more self appointed government?"
"BNA has never had the interest of the bywater residents in mind."
"From my understanding, most of the neighborhood wanted a mixed use dog park and people park, with a dedicated off leash area. There is plenty of room, why didn't the BNA press this issue? It seems the city and the Trust for Public Land totally ignored the wishes of the community. This reeks of gentrification and developer influence."
"I don't know much about the history of the situation, but I'd be reluctant about blaming the Trust for Public Land. Yes, they are providing a lot of the money, and yes, the park design that that's currently planned appears to have been made by them or under their auspices. But I'm pretty sure at some point they did produce plans for a tri-partite park, didn't they? Their website page for the Markey Park project still includes discussion of a dog park among other amenities, and seems to envision a much more intensively used park than the current plan allows for. It seems to me the real responsibility here lies with NORD--they have the final say-so, and this is what they're planning. They had to put up the matching funds for it or it wouldn't have gotten done, they have to contract for it and oversee, etc. They're the ones who have it all on a schedule to close the park before any other facilities for kids or people with dogs are available in the neighborhood."
"The current poor condition of the entire park, including drainage, poor fencing, etc due to the city's lack of upkeep, doesn't have anything to do with the ability of the park to support a large dedicated people area, playground and small off leash dog area. The current off leash dog are is too large for regular dog users to maintain. Still, with any heavily used common ground the city has abandoned to its residents to maintain...only a small number of people step up to help. And people do maintain it as best they can, repairing fencing, etc. In my opinion, a much smaller off leash area with appropriate trash bins, etc would be easier for regular dog users and the city to maintain."
"the BNA board took and official position against dogs in the park around a year ago. It's in one of their newsletters. In the board minutes. Only input they cite on their decision is from John Messinger, a board member who had resigned and was trying to start his own neighborhood assoc. Not aware of any time the BNA advocated on behalf of the popular dog park in the renovation plans."
"I didn't realize that BNA was receiving over $200,000 from the city for Markey Park either (http://www.thebywater.org/dbpdfs/Markey_Park_Funds_Palmer_100924.pdf
"Has anyone found out who came up with the "one dogpark per district rule" I keep hearing about?
- NORD, TPL, or the Mayor's office?"
"BNA's aim of "total residential redevelopment" going strong."
"BNA did that AGAINST their own membership survey results ( results of which they published in their own newsletter). The BNA board in effect straight faced lied. There should be some legal recourse for their intentional misrepresentation on this an other issues (zoning anyone?). It is unfortunate that so many of us who care so passionately don't have the time due to having to work too support our homes and families..."
"After having directed the TPL to submit a design with no offleash area for dogs, NORDC, at its June 5th meeting, approved the TPL’s plan for Markey Park. There was no discussion of a dog area, and no one came forward to offer public comment." .. Oh HELL NO! I came forward at that meeting, 7 months pregnant, and loudly asked what the hell they thought they were doing and VIc Richards, Larry Schmidt and the guy from BNA all tried to silence me. My blood pressure got so high I realized it was dangerous for my health. I was there with at least 10 other people who were voicing opposition.
"it sounds exactly like UTNA, Uptown Triangle Neighborhood Association, in the Black Pearl where I live. These NA's are stacked with real estate 'professionals' whose ONLY concern is THEIR OWN property values. The hell with everyone else, including long time residents. They do not represent their neighborhoods nor do they care. Their houses are 'investments', not 'homes'."
"BNA to receive $200,000 for park. From BNA online archive and unearthed by Jon Bodarky. http://www.thebywater.org/dbpdfs/Markey_Park_Funds_Palmer_100924.pdf
"They are a 501c3, a private non-profit. They more or less are a private entity. A lot of neighbors have increasingly felt they are not represented by the group, but city government tends to recognize BNA as a formal mouthpiece of the neighborhood."