Squandered Heritage Vintage
 

No Power for the People

Assesors Office City Hall

In a cost-cutting move, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin declared that all city buildings will be closed on Fridays. Supposedly, this will cut the city’s light bill and help the city meet its budget goals.
Hizzoner’s announcement led to more than one wisecrack about the level of service available at City Hall even when it is open. So the disillusioned were not paying close attention to what other city-owned buildings were affected, and some were surprised to find out the move shut down libraries, health clinics, recreation centers and other oft-visited city buildings far from 1300 Perdido St.
Wondering what other surprises were in store, I set off on today’s quest, a quest to obtain a simple piece of public information: the complete list of the shuttered facilities.
1. I made the initial call to the City of New Orleans property-management office and spoke with Adrianne. Yes, she had a full list, but no, she couldn’t give it to me. She wasn’t authorized to give that out. She told me to call the Public Advocacy office.
2. I had a quick chat with Vanity in the Public Advocacy office who told me that there was no comprehensive list and suggested I call the mayor’s office.
3. I then made a call to the city’s Office of Communications and left a message.
4. After that I called the mayor’s office and was told that there wasn’t a list at the mayors office, but if one existed, it would be at human resources and that she would transfer me.
5. The transfer instead led me to the Civil Service Department, where a worker asked me why I thought she would have that information and maybe I should call property management. (see step 1)
I pressed a little harder and was given a name of someone in the know in the mayor’s office. I could almost smell victory.
6. When I got back to the mayor’s office, with a different person than the first call there, I was told that the list I sought may be on the city Web site, but if it was, it wasn’t easy to find.
So as I sit here typing this, I have been informed that somewhere in one of those City Hall buildings someone is putting together a list of the buildings that were closed last Friday and will continue to be closed every Friday for the foreseeable future.
As soon as I figure this out, I’ll make the list available here, or link to the right Web page. If they can find it.

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I will be posting here for a little bit longer as we iron out the kinks at The Lens site.

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About Karen Gadbois

Karen Gadbois co-founded The Lens. She now covers New Orleans government issues and writes about land use for Squandered Heritage. For her work with television reporter Lee Zurik exposing widespread misuse of city recovery funds — which led to guilty pleas in federal court — Gadbois won some of the highest honors in journalism, including a Peabody Award, an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award and a gold medal from Investigative Reporters and Editors. She can be reached at (504) 606-6013.

  • “Vanity”? Jesus Christ, it sounds like you’re the lead in a Medieval morality play. Hilarious.

    So glad the Lens will give you a platform to write more. Love you’re fresh approach.

  • Don’t give up hope. Last Monday I called the State Dept. of Ed to file a complaint about special ed services in the RSD. The 4th transfer found me right back at the main operator, but by transfer 6 I was transferred to an attorney in the dept., which I’m quite sure was accidental because it ended up being quite productive. LOL

    As for this situation, the person who controls the list probably only works on Fridays.

  • “ATTENTION CITIZENS” makes me giggle for some reason. Maybe because it reminds me of this.

  • valmcginley

    Next I would LOVE to see some picts of which of these closed buildings actually had everything powered down to save the city money on their Entergy bill. Or how about some smart meters installed in all the bldgs so they can prove they are saving money.

    Yeh, right!

  • Brooks

    It’s no great exaggeration to say that you’re the most tenacious human being on the planet.

  • Brooks…that may be true. Or a glutton for punishment.