Endymion on the Agenda

Mid-City Neighborhood Organization is on the City Council’s agenda for Thursday, December 14, 2006, to address “the topic of Endymion’s return to the Mid-City route for Mardi Gras 2007.” The Council meets at 10:00 A.M. in City Hall Council Chambers, with this item as the second order of business.
If you would like to see Endymion return to Mid-City in 2007, please come out. MCNO yard signs, Mardi Gras beads and/or Endymion shirts are encouraged. We need a big turnout to show that the issue is not forgotten and that Endymion’s immediate return is very much an economic development issue that is part of our neighborhood plan. To understand why this issue is important to Mid-City, here are some letters written by our neighbors last month:

Dear City Council Members,
I was very disappointed to hear the NOPD announcement that Endymion will again roll Uptown this Mardi Gras. However, I understand that the City Council has the final say on this issue and that it will be discussed at Thursday’s Council meeting. We must find a way to allow Endymion to return to its Mid-City route in 2007. It is a critical part of the redevelopment of the area.
Despite the flooding in this area, Mid-City residents and businesses have worked hard to return. They have also worked hard to formulate a neighborhood plan. Endymion’s return in 2007 is one of that plan’s stated economic development goals. The financial benefits of Mardi Gras must be shared with neighborhoods other than Uptown and the French Quarter, which were not heavily damaged by Katrina. Businesses, churches and schools in Mid-City see large profits from the single day that Endymion rolls. Its return will create an incentive for businesses considering a reopening in or a relocation to the area. It will also provide an economic boost for those who have already struggled to reopen.
Not only will Endymion’s return serve as an incentive for businesses to return to Mid-City, it will also serve as an incentive for residents to return or relocate to the area. Endymion’s presence has been a very attractive part of living in Mid-City for years. Most residents along the route threw big parties and invited family and friends every year. Since Endymion’s first roll in 1969, it has always been a highlight of Mid-City residents’ lives. Its return would be a morale booster for those who have returned and an incentive for those who are considering a return. Mid-City is being repopulated quickly. Endymion’s return would help to spur that repopulation along.
The return would also boost residents’ spirits by recapturing a part of their social and cultural tradition. All New Orleanians have experienced a tremendous sense of loss over the past year. In addition to the physical loss, there has been a great loss of tradition. Many familiar neighborhoods, churches, schools and restaurants are gone, closed or damaged beyond recognition. We hope to slowly rebuild and recapture some, but we know that some have been washed from our social and cultural landscape. We are left only with their memories. This is one of the reasons that fleur-de-lis products have been so popular since Katrina and Mid-City residents lined up around the block for the grand re-opening of Angelo Brocato’s on North Carrollton. Mid-City residents have slowly seen four parades (Pegasus, Mid-City, Carrollton, and Okeanos) taken away from our neighborhood. Endymion is our only parade left, and it is our biggest. The loss of its presence would be a painful reminder that much of our social and cultural tradition has changed or disappeared. Now, more than ever, we are sensitive to such changes. Some can not be avoided. Others can.
Unlike many other elements of the neighborhood’s plan, Endymion’s return is one that the mayor and City Council can dictate. Their failure to do so could easily lead to residents’ distrust of the entire planning process. Many of the neighborhood’s goals will depend heavily upon funding from federal dollars and foundations. They are largely out of local control. Yet that is not true of Endymion’s return. Residents deserve to have their voices heard and represented. If local officials can not find a way to do this, why would we believe that federal officials or other funding sources will find a way to help us with even costlier and more complicated goals?
The NOPD is opposed to Endymion’s return to Mid-City in 2007 because they say that they can not adequately provide security for parades in two different areas on the same day. Because the mayor denied NOPD’s original request to move Iris and Tucks (Uptown Saturday parades) to Mid-City, they feel that the only feasible solution is to keep Mid-City Uptown, where it “temporarily” rolled in 2006. There are more state troopers, National Guard and NOPD stationed here than there were before Katrina. The local population has still not returned to 50% of its pre-Katrina size, and the Mardi Gras crowds will be significantly decreased from pre-Katrina numbers. The security issue must be more fully investigated.
In addition, perhaps a creative compromise might be reached. Perhaps the Mid-City parade and the other Sunday parades could switch days with Iris and Tucks and return to Mid-City on Saturday. This way, Iris and Tucks could switch days instead of routes. The krewe of Endymion has been very vocal about their desire to return to their original route. Their voice must be heard and respected as well. Certainly, if the NOPD, the mayor, City Council members, krewe captains and neighborhood organizations worked together, we could find a way to let Endymion come home.
Juan Manuel Molina

Council Members:
I will not waste your time having to read a letter that would not say anything more or better than Mr. Molina did. He has included logical, rational reasons for Mid-City residents wanting Endymion to “come home”. More rational and logical, I might add, that Police Captain Riley’s recent televised statement that it was too risky to have Endymion parade in Mid-City b/c a child on the parade route could be dragged into an abandoned building. This statement revealed:
A) He either is not concerned about the children who presently live in Mid-City for whom the same “fate” could be happening to on non-Mardi Gras days OR is he showing his (incorrect) belief that there are no abandoned buildings along the Uptown route. Either of the above would show Capt. Riley to have a faulty thought process
B) He is showing a MARKED unawareness of the current conditions along Orleans, Carrollton and Canal. I drove the parade route personally and did not count any more buildings that seemed unoccupied than I counted when I drove the Napolean route for Uptown parades.
I would request that the Council admonish/reprimand Capt. Riley for presenting the 2007 Parade Route to the media as if it was a “final” plan. Most of the viewing audience has no idea that the COUNCIL has the final say-so.
Thank you,
Candace Clanton
Associate Professor
Delgado Community College

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