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Gardens grow on vacant lots throughout the city

KATY RECKDAHL SPECIAL TO THE ADVOCATE

Nov. 26, 2015; 11:18 a.m.

 

Marie St. Germain-Louis walked next door to a garden where a plant with broad leaves was growing. She leaned over and rubbed one of the plant’s long stalks.

“See this one here, the collard greens?” she said. “If nobody else picks that, I will make that for Thanksgiving this year.”

Odds are, Thanksgiving tables across New Orleans will be drawing more than ever from this type of hyper-local bounty, thanks to both a growing vogue for raising and eating local produce and post-Katrina programs that put vacant lots into use as gardens. The New Orleans Redevelopment Authority has leased at least 80 such gardens through its Growing Green program, which selects lots that are oddly shaped or located in less desirable locations.

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By Robert McClendon, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune 
on November 19, 2015 at 11:14 AM, updated November 19, 2015 at 11:39 AM

Fernando Palacios was skeptical when officials with the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority asked him to set up an online-only auction for their upcoming property sale.

Palacio's company, Hilco Real Estate, had done well in previous auctions by taking a hybrid approach. There was a live auction room, but people could bid via the internet if they wanted to.

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BP money part of ambitious $532M plan

BY JEFF ADELSON

City officials hope to use New Orleans’ share of a settlement stemming from the Deepwater Horizon disaster to help fund a series of coastal restoration projects — part of a half-billion-dollar package of initiatives they have proposed in an effort to secure hundreds of millions in grant money from the federal government.

 The wide-ranging plan, which includes some projects that already are underway, is spelled out in the city’s application to the National Disaster Resiliency Competition, a federal grant program that will award a total of $1 billion to communities across the country that are working to improve their ability to respond to disasters.

The New Orleans application totals about $532 million, more than half of which officials hope would come from the competitive federal grant. The BP money, FEMA grants and funds from the Sewerage & Water Board and the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority would make up the city’s share of the package.

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BY JESSICA WILLIAMS

 

The New Orleans Redevelopment Authority sold all 64 vacant properties up for grabs in its first online-only auction, with winning bids totaling $2.9 million, officials announced Wednesday.

 More than 160 bidders participated in the auction, which was held Nov. 9-10.

NORA partnered with Hilco Real Estate LLC to conduct the auction, as it has for past in-person auctions. The agency has held such auctions periodically as it continues to pare down the thousands of abandoned Road Home properties it took over after Hurricane Katrina.

By Eileen Fleming  NOV 9, 2015

New Orleans agencies are conducting online auctions to sell off property. Two University of New Orleans experts are saying the whole process should be ramped up.

The City of New Orleans just finished its fifth online auction -- most recently for 49 properties.  Thirty-three bidders won 40 auctions, with a total price of $1.1 million.

Michelle Thompson is associate professor of planning and urban studies at UNO, and is a former real estate appraiser. She says the process is a great idea to clear blight and get property back in commerce -- and the city should be more aggressive.

“If you can bring out 500 to 1,000 properties and they’re competitively priced with the appropriate appraisals, it actually might encourage people to purchase properties," she said. "It might actually help stabilize neighborhoods. The market’s hot. So get ‘em out there. Get ‘em sold.”  

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