By Karen Gadbois, The Lens staff writer |

If Thursday was the day you chose to see democracy in action at City Hall you picked the wrong day.

The majority of the City Council agenda was deferred or withdrawn so members could attend the funeral of Archbishop Philip Hannan.

A meeting that usually lasts all day was gaveled to a close within 90 minutes of its 10 a.m. start, with most of the session dedicated to reading the agenda.

Of note, it was Eric Granderson’s first day as interim appointee to the at-large seat vacated by his old boss, the council’s former vice president Arnie Fielkow. Fielkow, a former Saints executive, stepped down to take a sports-related job in Chicago.

Two items of business won quick approval: rebuilding Alice Harte School and amending the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance to allow for artist residences in “a building or a group of buildings.”

Councilmember Gisleson Palmer suggested this would allow for adaptive reuse of our older buildings, but there was no discussion of specifics.

As with most council meetings there was the usual flurry of fee waivers for past and future events, among them the

Mirliton Festival in November and last May’s Tuba Fats Community Event.

Councilmember Jackie Clarkson adjourned the abbreviated session with some friendly advice. Pack a lunch for the next meeting, she warned. With so many deferred items on the agenda, the meeting on Oct. 20 is likely to be a humdinger.

Karen Gadbois

Karen Gadbois co-founded The Lens. She now covers New Orleans government issues and writes about land use. With television reporter Lee Zurik she exposed widespread misuse of city recovery funds and led to guilty pleas in federal court. Her work attracted some of journalism's highest honors, 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.