NoDef Inbox, May 28 – June 3

Once again, your comments and letters were coming at us like never before. We even managed to get out of the way a couple times. Every week, the NoDef Inbox collects the highlights of the week's responses, guffaws and general offers of good, clean fun from our readership. This week, we received a lot of feedback about Jim Fitzmorris' column about the future of the Le Petit Theatre, and our continuing coverage of hurricane season. Click through for the highlights.

 

Le Petit Discord

Fitzmorris'  Thursday column delved into the future of the French Quarter's oldest theatre. We received a letter on the topic from the Le Petit Guild, an independent group that supports the theatre.

 

"Dear Editor:

Concerned about the future of a venerable New Orleans institution, the Guild of Le Petit Théâtre du Vieux Carré called an emergency meeting of its members on Tuesday to discuss the lack of transparency surrounding negotiations between Dickie Brennan and Le Petit’s board of governors. Guild members, many of them lifelong supporters of the theater, expressed apprehension about the alleged plan to convert part of the historic theater into a restaurant. Roused to action by the urgency of the situation, the Guild, an autonomous organization that supports the theater, launched a campaign to Save Le Petit.

 

In just two days, more than 550 people have joined our online cause and

hundreds more have signed our petition urging the theater’s board of

governors to use a fair and open process to determine the future of the

theater. Our message that the board should review all proposals before

entering into an agreement has struck a chord with New Orleanians who

support arts, culture and historic preservation, and Facebook and

Twitter are buzzing with activity as a result.

 

While a deal with Mr. Brennan may ultimately prove to be the most

feasible option available to keep the struggling theater afloat, other

proposals deserve to be considered as well. Preserving the historic and

cultural integrity of the theater should be the board’s priority, and

replacing the much beloved Children’s Theater with yet another French

Quarter restaurant should not be the first recourse to address Le

Petit’s financial difficulties – particularly when other

philanthropists have expressed interest in offering assistance.

THE GUILD QUESTIONS THE WAY THAT THIS ALLEGED DEAL HAS BEEN HANDLED AND FIRMLY BELIEVES THAT IT HAS BEEN DONE IN VIOLATION OF THE THEATRE'S NON-PROFIT CHARTER AND BYLAWS. THE BOARD’S INSISTENCE ON KEEPING ALL NEGOTIATIONS “PRIVATE” FURTHER UNDERMINES OUR TRUST IN THEIR ABILITY TO ACT IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE THEATER. LE PETIT’S SUBSCRIBERS ARE MEMBERS OF THE THEATER AND RIGHTFULLY DESERVE TO HAVE A VOICE IN SUCH AN

IMPORTANT DECISION. THE GUILD INTENDS TO EXERCISE ALL REMEDIES AVAILABLE TO ENSURE THAT THE BEST DECISION IS MADE TO PRESERVE THE INTEGRITY OF THE THEATRE.

 

The amazing success of the Save Le Petit campaign is proof that New

Orleanians have had enough with the backroom dealing. We are only asking

the board to put all offers on the table and use an impartial process to

choose the best one.

 

As a final deal may be imminent at any time, now is the time to act! We are asking supporters of Save Le Petit to intensify their pressure on the theater’s board of governors act in a transparent manner.

 

Sincerely,

Jim Walpole, President

Guild of Le Petit Théâtre du Vieux Carré"

 

 

Another anonymous reader proposed ramping up the asking price:

 

"Though not a real estate professional, I believe that a historic property on Jackson Square is worth much more than the 1.5 million appraisal. Since all of the property on Jackson Square (other than the Cathedral) is owned by either the city or the state, wouldn't it be worth pursuing to sell the building to the city or state for say 5 million, while securing a 50 year lease at $1 per year to operate the theatre. After paying the mortgage that would leave an endowment of 4.3 million for operation with the state/city responsible for the building maintenance. There could be some performance benchmark which, if met, would trigger a renewal of the operations lease. This would assure the continuation of the institution for the next hundred years."

 

 

Hurricane Season

 

In response to a posting that focused on the Army Corps of Engineers' improvements to the metro area flood control system, a reader concisely addressed the Corps' focus on levees.

 

"How 'bout them pumps? We're gonna need them living behind these big walls."

 

 
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