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Faubourg St. John » Featured » It’s a Wonderful Life in Faubourg St. John

It’s a Wonderful Life in Faubourg St. John

inspired by Brenda London
In the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”, the character George Bailey is shown how things in his town might have been different had he never been born.

The quaint town of Bedford Falls gets transformed into an anything-goes commercial enterprise called Pottersville.

My wife reminded me that “It’s a Wonderful Life” here in Faubourg St. John. One can easily draw comparisons between Bedford Falls and Faubourg St. John especially when zoning issues come up.

Zoning issues are by their very nature, contentious. A developer wants variances to do what they want and the neighborhood association wants to protect the interests of the residents.

Which begs the question: What if the Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Association had never been born? The Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Association has been around in one form or another since the 1920′s. The association was officially registered with the State of Louisiana in 1977.

In 1978, the Fair Grounds wanted to build a barn next to homes near their property. The smell alone from the barn would have negatively impacted the quality of life for those residents not to mention the runoff during rainstorms. The Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Association represented the neighbors’ interests and the barn was not built. You can read all about it in the Times Picayune’s
articles below:
Click here to read the article in the June 15, 1978 issue of the Times Picayune.
Click here to read the article in the June 20, 1978 issue of the Times Picayune.
Click here to read the article in the October 31, 1978 issue of the Times Picayune.
Click here to read the article in the November 18, 1978 issue of the Times Picayune.

In 1979, the Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Association took issue with the parking problems associated with Jazz Fest. The fight continued for years. The result was that Faubourg St. John has a security patrol paid for by the Fair Grounds that operates 24 hours each day. While parking during Jazz Fest is still an issue, imagine what it would be like if the Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Association had never been born?
Click here to read the April 7, 1979 article in the Times Picayune.
Click here to read the April 20, 1979 article in the Times Picayune.

In 1980, the Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Association addressed a zoning issue on Esplanade Avenue.
Click here to read the December 22, 1980 article in the Times Picayune.

In 1981, the Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Association continued to protect its interests and the Fair Grounds agreed to provide better sanitation and security.
Click here to read the May 1, 1981 article in the Times Picayune.

In 1983, the Fair Grounds wanted night racing. If the Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Association had not been around we would very likely have horse racing well into the wee hours of the morning right now.
Click here to view the December 4, 1983 article in the Times Picayune.
Click here to read the December 11, 1983 article in the Times Picayune.

An April 6, 1984 article in the Times Picayune details an incident where a former Mayor of New Orleans almost came to blows with a Faubourg St. John representative over night racing at the Fair Grounds. CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE.

1984: Night Racing and Off Track Betting
January 19, 1984 article in the Times Picayune concerning night racing.
February 8, 1984 article in the Times Picayune concerning off-track betting.
February 23, 1984 articles in the Times Picayune concerning night racing.
March 6, 1984 article in the Times Picayune concerning night racing.
April 6, 1984 article in the Times Picayune concerning altercation between Mayor Dutch Morial and FSJNA representative Alvin Bordelon over night racing.
April 7, 1984 article in the Baton Rouge Advocate concerning altercation between Mayor Dutch Morial and FSJNA representative Alvin Bordelon over night racing.
April 7, 1984 article in the Mobile Register concerning altercation between Mayor Dutch Morial and FSJNA representative Alvin Bordelon over night racing.
April 9, 1984 article in the Times Picayune concerning the neighborhood celebration of the end of the racing season. The party also included a demonstration against night racing. That’s Nelson Savoie with the peace sign and Warren Guidry next to him. Warren got a permit way ahead of the start of racing season for a block party on Mystery St. for the last day of racing. This essentially blocked entry to VIPs accustomed to using the Mystery St. gate. It called attention to the disregard for the neighborhood by the Fairgrounds. Nelson’s brother Sterling, brought his band, started up, police came, the permit was declared legitimate and neighbors who had been afraid of the Fairgrounds joined the party. Nelson’s brother played music under a tent in the driveway at 1509 Mystery St. There was great media coverage. The Fairgrounds had just hired a consultant to determine why they were doing so poorly and the number one issue was public relations. The notoriety of our actions brought the Fairgrounds to the table for the first time and an ordinance was the outcome.
April 19, 1984 article in the Times Picayune concerning night racing.
May 25, 1984 editorial in the Times Picayune stating night racing is unfair to the neighborhood.
November 16, 1984 article in the Times Picayune noting changes in the racing season.

In the link below check out the 1986 article about Zack’s yogurt. It would have been located where Santa Fe restaurant is today… http://fsjna.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Zoning-ZacksYogurt-1986dec9.pdf

The yogurt shop was originally approved by the City but the decision was overturned in Civil District Court.

Just one year later in 1987, Whole Foods proposed making the property where Santa Fe restaurant is today into an eight car parking lot. Please visit the link below to read more about it: http://fsjna.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Zoning-Giovannis-1987july18.pdf

Imagine how different that area would look today if the Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Association had never been born.

The Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Association was also busy watching out for you in 1988:
April 7, 1988 article in the Westbank News section of the Times Picayune concerning off-track betting.
April 7, 1988 article in the Metro section of the Times Picayune concerning off-track betting.
April 20, 1988 article in the Times Picayune noting resolution of issues with Faubourg St. John.“Leaders of the Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Association say they are pleased with the Fair Grounds’ agreement to reduce night outdoor lighting, provide free on-site parking and take other steps to avoid disrupting nearby residents.”

It’s easy to forget all the great things the Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Association has done through the years to prevent our “Bedford Falls” from becoming “Pottersville”.

Think about Voodoo on the Bayou, our annual fundraiser that’s been held each year for over 20 years! And, how ’bout the association’s work to keep Faubourg St. John in the same council district as the Fair Grounds and like-minded neighborhoods?

What about all the home tours done during the 80′s and 90′s? And, what about all the abandoned cars the association has worked to get out of the neighborhood?

1992: Remember Christmas in October? Faubourg St. John neighbors painted and fixed several houses occupied by the elderly.

2008: Who could forget all the time, work, and money neighbors put into making the childrens’ play area at Stallings Playground what it is today?

Your neighborhood association has worked tirelessly for decades to keep fast-food outlets from locating here. All that is done by your neighbors who take care of things because they care. It isn’t about the money honey ’cause we all do this for no remuneration.

Noticed graffiti or bandit signs lately? That stuff doesn’t get removed by itself. The Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Association makes it happen!

There are so many more things the Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Association has done for the area. What do you remember? Send it to info@fsjna.org

Bourbon Street is the classic example of “Pottersville”. It was once populated by Jazz Clubs. Would you want to live on Bourbon Street now?

Those that live in Faubourg St. John know that it much more resembles “Bedford Falls”. The Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Association’s mission is to keep it that way.

I’ll update this post as more information becomes available. Meanwhile, try to imagine what our neighborhood would look like if the Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Association had never been born.

FAUBOURG ST. JOHN
“Where Big Dreams Grow!”

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