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Faubourg St. John » Featured, Zoning Issues » Volleyball is Fun

Volleyball is Fun

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Hello volleyball friends,

We’ll be playing volleyball as usual along Bayou St John this Saturday assuming the weather holds. I think there will be about a 50% chance of rain Saturday, but most of you know the routine… if we get nets set up before it’s raining then we’ll most likely play through any isolated showers. Our schedule is as follows:

9:30am-11:30am Junior League (help us get more kids!)
11:30am-2:00pm Adult “speed” tournament ($5.00/player)
2:00pm-until… Free pick-up games

Don’t forget that we’re also now playing on Tuesday evenings starting at 5pm and going until sundown. Frank is running a doubles tournament Tuesdays ($5.00/player) starting at 6pm, and we may be adding a net of quads tourney action too if there’s demand.

FYI our volleyball group has submitted a proposal to the Sewerage and Water Board to develop sand volleyball courts on vacant land across the street from where we usually set up. A handful of nearby neighbors have raised some concerns about our proposal which has caused the S&WB to consider withdrawing their lease offer. MCVG in the next three weeks will be doing everything it can to convince the S&WB that there is great community benefit to our proposal. We may need you to be present at a meeting or two to show the S&WB that there is in fact great demand for a sand volleyball venue. I will keep you posted when we hear which meetings to attend, but I can say that all S&WB meetings take place at 9am at their headquarters at 625 St Joseph Street (2nd floor conference room). Just to give you a heads up, the Finance Committee will meet June 4, the Executive Committee will meet June 7 and the full board will meet June 19 (see http://www.swbno.org/news_boardmeetings.asp).

On a sad note I must deliver some tragic news. Long-time volleyball player John Martinez passed away yesterday morning at the age of forty-six after a sudden bout with lung cancer. He has inspired a group of nineteen of us to visit his home town of La Ceiba on the Caribbean coast of Honduras, and we will miss him dearly on our trip next week. I will pass along information about funeral services as soon as I hear anything.

See y’all Saturday,

Peter Hickman
Volleyball Soldier
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Details on Proposed Volleyball Courts


1) The proposed site for sand volleyball courts is more than 200 feet from the edge of Bayou St John on vacant land that runs along side Armstrong’s Supply Company. We would initially build just two courts near Toulouse Street on the side of the property that tends to flood and become muddy. By adding drainage underneath the sand we would be adding value to the property by making it useful for recreation. I’d like to point out that we are not building any permanent structures on the property but instead are converting frequently unusable green space into usable tan space.

2) We recently had a lighting expert give us a quote for lighting two courts. Lights will be focused on the courts from poles on either side of the pair of courts. Lights will be used only when necessary meaning they will only be turned on at sundown and they will immediately be turned off after the conclusion of league play. Leagues will be run Monday through Friday from 6:30pm to 10:30pm for three or four seasons a year but probably not over the dead of winter. Weekend activities hopefully will be concluded during daylight hours so no lights would be necessary Saturday or Sunday. If lights were required on weekends, again they would be used only when absolutely necessary.

3) We have permission to use the parking lots of Armstrong’s Supply Company and Bayou Bicycles after hours. The Mid-City Theatre and post office parking lots may also be available. There is street parking available on both Toulouse Street and Orleans Avenue, and we will designate a portion of the S&WB property for overflow parking. We will have numerous bicycle racks and will offer discounts to players who arrive by nonmotorized vehicle as an incentive to lower the automobile parking burden.

4) We probably will not have a PA system initially as that would require a permanent structure to house the equipment. Eventually, however, we would like to mount speakers on each light pole and, as with the lights themselves, focus sound onto the court. We are well aware of being good neighbors and would keep the volume low. Furthermore, volleyball players need to communicate with each on the court all the time, so for that reason the volume of music would be kept particularly low. The “surround sound” approach to mounting speakers will actually help keep volumes low instead of a single speaker having to blast across the entire space. As for whistles, we do expect to have referees for most of the league play, but I point out that scale matters. For those who thought Coconut Beach was a cacophony, with only two courts there will be much less racket. For the nights and weekends when matches are self-reffed there will be no whistles at all.

5) We have an excellent relationship with Jared Zeller as MCVG was once a part of The MotherShip Foundation. We would only be using a small fraction of the S&WB property, and the Orleans Ave side would be left open for parking or other uses during the Bayou Boogaloo. MotherShip Foundation is actually contemplating making a parking arrangement with Delgado Community College or St Margaret’s Nursing Home in the future and offering free shuttle service to the festival. In other words, the MotherShip Foundation is also cognizant of the parking burden that automobiles exert on the bayou.

6) The Mid-City Volleyball Group was the first to approach City Park in 2007 regarding the development of a sand volleyball facility within the park. Coconut Beach approached City Park in 2011, and a couple of entrepreneurs that call themselves NOLA Beach Volleyball approached City Park in 2012. As far as I know, all three of our groups have been turned down by the City Park leaders who have a MasterPlan that simply doesn’t include volleyball.

There’s one last point I’d like to make. For many years MCVG advocated for a space along the Lafitte Greenway, and there seemed to be a great deal of public support for this. Unfortunately, the space most likely to be dedicated to sand volleyball courts is currently occupied by city facilities such as the sign and signal shop, and the city has no intention of re-locating those businesses any time soon.

Design Workshop suggested that MCVG approach the S&WB about developing land 1-2 blocks from the Greenway that is essentially an extension of the Greenway, and that sounded good to us as it could fulfill our immediate need (we are already an active group, and our numbers are growing each week). We have a dozen letters of support from community organizations, local businesses and national volleyball associations, and we have 443 petition signatures including over 100 from residents in the immediate vicinity of the S&WB land.

Unfortunately, a few vocal critics have caused the S&WB to hesitate with the proceedings, but I truly feel we will be providing a community service [our mission is to create a safe public space in Mid-City where residents can enjoy outdoor activity, reduce stress and build community through the shared experience of playing volleyball]. No matter what happens in the next few weeks with MCVG‘s proposal to the S&WB, there is no doubt that active recreation will be coming to the Lafitte Greenway and people within the corridor will have to adjust to increased activity and parking within their neighborhood.

MCVG has always tried to build coalitions, and we welcome comments from our neighbors.

Yours truly,
Peter Hickman
President of The Mid-City Volleyball Group, www.midcityvolleyball.org
President of Mid-City Youth Volleyball, www.midcityyouthvolleyball.org
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SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAHello MCVG volleyball players,
Here’s a message from the younger brother of John Martinez, Glenn, who himself is a volleyball player and coach.
hello and thank you for being such a nice human being…i can just know john said the same about you..his funeral services will be at the Gardens of Memories in airline drive from 10am-1pm this saturday the 1st of june prayers in chapel and then his burial…everyone is welcome..thank you and thanks to everyone in midcity volleybal..i know John will be watching your volleyball game in la ceiba from heaven…Godbless

MCVG will still hold it’s normal activities tomorrow, but I personally may head to John’s funeral to represent our group. I’ve attached a photo of John (orange shirt) and his Honduran buddy, Jesus (red shirt), taken during the summer of 2010 during a MCVG pick-up game. It’s how I will remember him. -Peter

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