It’s the good life
Isidore and Lili
So many thoughts crossed my mind during and after the assault of Tropical Storm Isidore and Hurricane Lili that it is hard to begin. First, I hope everyone is safe. I have not heard of any injuries, and with all the snakes and storm debris, it’s a wonder. Please continue to be careful. It’s been a tumultuous year. We lost some friends and neighbors. .then the wonderful run of manatees. .then the storms came.
We will be sending a letter to Kevin Davis to thank him for his help with the trash pick-up. This is an enormous step to get our neighborhood back in shape. In past storms, I have been impressed with how quickly the neighborhood recovers. This time it will take a little longer. I firmly believe this will not reverse the long-term trend we have seen in improvement to North Shore Beach. I recall being concerned that property values would suffer a year after we bought our home and Hurricane Andrew hit. In fact, the opposite happened and we have been on an upward trend ever since. My guess is that property values at North Shore Beach have probably risen from 50% - 300% since 1991. For example, I know that the lot prices on Carr Dr. around 1992 were approximately $80,000 and last year a property sold with a small camp home worth no more than $50,000 and no other features for $312,000 indicating the lot value of $260,000.
One regret I have with the storm was the night of Isidore we should have called more neighbors as the water was rising. Sharon called our immediate neighbors except for those that told us they were evacuating (and had not), but a few more calls could have spared a few cars or trucks. Buddy Mayfield is investigating an emergency phone calling service. If the cost reasonable, we may commit to the service so that everyone could be called in an emergency. If the service is too expensive, we may ask for volunteers to call.
One highly frustrating episode was the electricity being off for so long after Lili. Everyone was calling everybody: CLECO, the fire chief, the parish, the Sheriff. Several individuals including Dennis Strecker and Carol Pearsall just would not give up. I understand Carol unloaded on the CLECO rep until they cried uncle. Dennis was able to get a CLECO representative to try to explain the problem and as a result a CLECO rep will beat our meeting on October 26.
We spent $420 to clear the grounds of the Community Building. This included tearing down a section of fence. Fortunately, it appears the building is undamaged. A section of fence will need to be replaced and another repaired.
Sharon and I stayed for both storms. We saved some items from the storm but we took a risk. I’m not sure it was the right decision. One thing that did not falter were Sharon’s hummingbirds. We kept the feeders up until after dark so they could feed at dusk and put them back up before dawn (we couldn’t sleep anyway). When the wind blew from the east we put the feeders on the west side, and when the wind reversed we moved them again. The evening of Thursday the 26th (during Isidore), there were no less than 100 birds at 8 feeders! But it’s no wonder – most of their nectar plants were dead or dying under water! We still have a few hummers around, but as the cold fronts arrive, they will be soon be departing.
One gratifying aspect to the whole ordeal was the neighborliness and friendship shown by many. I was told how, on the finger canals, neighbors scrambled together to save each other’s boats. I could have lost my truck twice if my neighbors had not allowed me to park in their driveways. Thanks, to al who have helped.
So what did I learn from recent events? Two things: First, downstairs belongs to the Lake. The Lake is gracious and we can enjoy this setting the vast majority of the time, but occasionally the Lake takes what belongs to it…its shoreline. Second, I learned that in a case of an imminent direct hurricane hit, put everything you hope to save upstairs and getoutadodge. What the professionals have been telling us is exactly right. Houses here should be built high, and we should be prepared to evacuate. The ironic part is that I still believe we are better off than our friends in New Orleans behind the levees. They can get flooded anytime of year from rain. We are only concerned for a couple of months during the hurricane season. Also, in a worst-case hurricane scenario, New Orleans could have severe flooding, which is likely to stay much longer than here, where we are at least above sea level. Finally, we have a much greater opportunity here to evacuate to safety whereas those in New Orleans may well be trapped.
You pay your money and take your chances.
Our Halloween Party will be on October 26. Costumes are optional, but encouraged. As is standard now, we will have lots to eat and drink. This year we will have sandwiches and gumbo with lots of extras including desserts. We will have a short business meeting starting at 7:00. We will discuss our plans for the canal project on the finger canals, a CLECO rep will be there and we will show the video Lee Core made of the Manatees in the Faciane Canal.
As you all should realize, the state plans to replace the bridge at the entrance to North Shore Beach. The pilings of the current bridge are slowly deteriorating and the bridge needs to be replaced. It will be replaced by an all-concrete bridge, which should last and will be more attractive. The state is waiting on St. Tammany Parish to complete some legal preparation for the construction. I spoke to the parish Engineer Jean Thibodaux and he generously provided an update. The railroad right-of way has been obtained and the necessary approval from the Coast Guard. They are in discussion with an adjacent landowner where a temporary bridge will be built while the new bridge is constructed. Also, they have yet to notify various utility companies to prepare for the construction. Mr. Thibodaux expects the Parish work to be completed by year-end so that the state could begin construction 1st or 2nd quarter of next year. I plan to stay in touch with the Parish to follow the progress of this important neighborhood project. In the mean time, I was informed that the current bridge is inspected every six months to assess its structural integrity.
Beach Sweep Oct. 6, 2002
Tommy Raymond organized this year’s Beach Sweep. Buddy Mayfield, Benny Baehr, Terry Manning, Mary Bernard, Joan Molière, Jodi Clelland, Charles Clelland, David Bertucci and others ‘swept’ the beach and community building grounds as well as cut and cleaned the entrance to Carr Drive. Tommy and Terry cut some plastic barrels and installed one on the bridge and 2 at the beach for trash collection. They are small enough to handle so it won’t take 2 people to lift.
Of course, shortly after the beach sweep, we had a tropical storm and hurricane, which pretty much negated all their work. Although we all lost a lot because of these storms, the piles of wood and trash and things we all keep too long were moved and eventually ended up on the trash trucks. I think we now have a cleaner neighborhood because of the storms.
The Benny Baehr Fan Club
Benny Baehrhas retired from picking up litter from the bridge. We have all seen how bad the litter accumulates. Benny was filling up bags of trash full of flies, maggots and worse.. Benny has done this for over two years and has done it with quiet resolve. Benny explained, "It just got to be too much". Thanks to Benny for his dedication at cleaning this eyesore. In the meantime, I know that Tommy Raymond (and possibly others?) have taken on this task from time to time. As a more formal plan, I’m asking for a couple of volunteers who will pick up the trash once a month. I will pick up the first Thursday of the month (since trash pickup is on Friday). We need some volunteers to take the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Thursdays. You do not have to call….just do it!
New Benefit for NSBA MembersWe are not encouraging anyone to leave, but if you are planning to sell your house, the NSBA will, on request, post sale information about your house on our website. This is for members only, for residences in North Shore Beach and only if for sale by owner. We will run the information for 90-day increments. If we do not hear to continue, it will be taken off. The website has been getting better and better. Buddy Mayfield has graciously offered to place this home sale information on the website in addition to his normal duties as Webmaster. I have been told the first house posted already has a buyer.
Some Sewerage Advice – The Flow Must Go On
More than a little persistence by fellow board member Dennis Strecker resulted in fixing a significant problem. Dennis has been re-building his boat shed on the Faciane canal since late August . On weekends, he began to notice strong sewage odors emanating from the canal. He even could see some water discoloration that resembled raw sewage. Yikes! So began his quest. First, he spoke to his neighbors and they reported they had noticed the odor on weekends when there were a lot more people. He then called the Sewerage District and eventually spoke to the company contracted to maintain the sewerage lines. Dennis said they were glad to have the problem reported. It turns out that adjacent to his property is one of several lift stations. A lift station pumps the sewer water up to a holding tank so that it can continue to flow down the line. They are found along the road and are usually grey and round concrete structures. If the motor goes out a red light is supposed to indicate a malfunction. In this case the motor AND the red light were not functioning. The result is that the line backs up and eventually makes its way into the canal. The problem is relatively straightforward and the maintenance people were glad to get it fixed. Leaks can result in fines for them. They would rather have everything in working order.
SO THIS IS IMPORTANT. IF YOU SMELL STRONG SEWERAGE ODORS OR IF SEE THE RED LIGHT ON A LIFT STATION ALONG CARR DR OR ANY OTHER NSB STREET, PLEASE CALL EITHER THE SEWERAGE DISTRICT OR THE MAINTENANCE COMPANY. THE NUMBER IS 863-3719.
Subject: Dogs on the run
I received the following note from Grant Geiger in late August:
"Just had the unpleasant case where a loose [yellow lab] was hit by a train --17:30 tonight. We were informed by a neighbor and rushed the dog [had heartbeat] to our Vet in the log cabin up the street to no avail---- Emily and myself are covered in blood and heartbroken over this. WHERE THE ____ IS THE OWNER and why do we permit our pets to run free????? There had been two Lab type running the tracks together with chain collars. "
This is disturbing and unfortunate. Of course the cars on our streets can kill a pet just as easily. Please keep an eye on your pets. If you see a neighbor’s dog out that you know they don’t intend to have out, I suggest you call them. Witness to the accident was Becky Retjer at 138 Jacqueline.Since this incident there was another pet dog killed in the neighborhood.
Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation Board PositionRichard Warren graciously offered to nominate me for another term on the Board of Directors of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation. The Board of the Foundation has two representatives from St. Tammany Parish. Barbara Barnes (Mandeville) and I have held the positions for a couple of terms. I accepted the nomination and was elected unopposed. I am currently also the "at large" board member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors. Thanks to Richard for the nomination. Of course, I wholeheartedly endorse this organization that has championed the cause for Lake Pontchartrain. Frankly, I believe it has a significant impact on the Lake’s water quality. The Lake is now more and more perceived as a tremendous recreational asset. We have directly benefited from the recreational opportunities the Lake affords, but we have also benefited financially. AS THE LAKE HAS IMPROVED, OUR PROPERTY VALUES HERE HAVE SKYROCKETED! In previous times, the neighborhood was probably in a slow decline when the lake was in poorer condition. If you are interested in learning more (or have a concern) about the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation or the Lake visit their website (www.saveourlake.org) or give me a call.
Email sent by Sharon White on September 9, 2002
Dear friends and neighbors,
This was such a special day for me that I just have to share it.
First, I had breakfast with more than 60 hummingbirds. And while I was watching them, I noticed that one of them had a white mark on his head - which was what the banders did at Olga Clifton's home on Saturday. So, we had a bird that we knew where he had come from!
Then there was the pigeon trying to perch on and eat on one of the tube feeders. Talk about making a fool of yourself!
Then, when I came home from shopping, there was a message that the Ruiz's had seen a manatee!! I ran out the door and amazingly, it was still in the Faciane Canal near their house. As a matter of fact, there were THREE MANATEES!!!! I took pictures and Lee Core took video and pictures. I'm afraid you may not recognize what you see as a manatee, but I am sending copies of a couple of the pictures. I am still walking on air. Lee is having trouble with her camera, but if she can get things straightened out, channel 4 WWL news is supposed to come interview her tomorrow and use some of the video. It's hard to say when it might be on since tomorrow and Wednesday will probably be big 'hard news' days. Anyway, we can watch for it.
When the manatee was seen earlier in the year, it was seen in two different spots two weeks apart, so it won't hurt to keep your eyes peeled for a while.
I have 'pared down' the picture size; hope it's not too much for your email.
A friend wrote back…
Now that's a picture
I'd love to see.
Well, you can see them - just check out our web site for still pictures and more story. At the Halloween party we will have a premier of the video that Lee Core made of the manatee.
We have spoken to a representative with Wildlife and Fisheries. He is very interested in the sightings. We have given him the dates and locations. We are in the process of making good copies of Lee’s video for their investigations of manatee in Louisiana. It is possible they will be able to identify these particular manatees from a master catalogue of manatee sighted in Florida.
Roy Eichhorn fabricated "NO WAKE" signs to place on the canal. Roy has also generously offered to make a "No Littering" sign for the bridge. We have contracted to replace the missing channel marker piling at the finger canals. Hopefully we can get this done now that the storm season is over.
The Unplugged Plumber
I’m sure many of you remember John Klein who until last year lived at 301 Carr Drive. John ran his own plumbing business, but got an itch to do something new. Well, just after Labor Day and after months of renovation, John opened Evangeline’s Coffeehouse & Café. It’s on the corner of Carey and Pontchartrain Sts. just a block from Kenney’s Seafood. John’s real passion is music, especially acoustic guitar, and he has been known to stroke a few strings himself. The place promises to be a great place to hang out and enjoy some easy music while having a pleasant beverage and snack. In John’s former life as neighbor and plumber, he on many occasions helped us out with the Community Building, so please return a the favor and say hello at his new business.
Community Building Supplies
Since we have started having meetings as social events, we could benefit from donations for our kitchen. Jim and Sarah Petty have made several donations of extra utensils, knives etc. We could use almost anything you could use in a kitchen. Earl Frey donated two very nice folding tables, which will be quite handy. A few old pots, utensils, can openers, serving spoons, serving platters, etc. could be useful. So if you have some old stuff that you don’t need, please consider a contribution to the NSBA. We now have a lockable cabinet. So we can store the supplies in the cabinet so they don’t get lost. If you have anything to donate, just drop them off to one of the board members or give us a call to pick it up. Please put your name on anything you leave.
July Family Picnic (Please remind me that we’ve got to get more bratwurst next year!)
Rose Mayfieldbrought potato salad, Richard Warren made two terrific cakes: a Harvey Wallbanger cake and a strawberry daiquiri cake. Yvette made a huge bowl of pasta salad. Irene Thibodeaux brought a dish of beans; Iris Calogero brought wine. Debbie Leonard, Beverly Boos and others brought deserts of cupcakes, pound cake, brownies, an angel food cake and more. What a feast!! The Durel Family of Cal, Kristine, Taylor, Jez, Calvin and Decatur went all out with the snowball stand. They had more than 20 flavors and three sizes and even made a ‘menu’ sign listing all the flavors. David Anderson cooked the bratwurst, which was quite wonderful with on a hot dog bun washed down with an ice-cold beer. I forget whether it was Dave Anderson or Richard Warren’s idea, but I think they created another potential tradition.
Scott and Debbie Leonardwon the drawing for a $100 gift certificate from Michael’s Restaurant. Thanks to everyone who contributed as a North Shore Beach patron. It has made a difference. For those who contributed to the tree and building fund, I intend to buy a chain saw so that we can finally start trimming some more of our oak trees.
We also had one terrific surprise food item. Al Blue and Christine Curran walked up to me at our family picnic night and said they brought some pralines for the party. I was wondering where the pralines were when she handed me a box the size of case of beer, which I immediately noticed it was warm. They brought a whole box of pralines, which were so freshly made that the box was actually hot from the contents. Well, I brought them inside to put them on a platter to find that they were all individually wrapped. However, the best part was that they were really excellent pralines. I almost missed them. You see I have this complete prejudice that my mother makes the best pralines of any that I have ever had. I am usually so disappointed with other pralines that I often pass on them. As we were cleaning up after the party, Yvette Warren started raving about the pralines at which time I noticed there was no sign of a single praline and began to wonder if I should have given them a try. Yvette went on about how good they were and that they disappeared very quickly, but then admitted she kept one extra in her purse for later. When she offered me half, I couldn’t resist. So we stole over to the corner of the building where she had her purse tucked away. Like a couple drug dealers Yvette discretely got out the goods and I had half a hit of praline. In all honesty I have to admit that the praline was as good as I’ve ever had - except for my mothers.
Free Community Building dates for Members
So far we have no takers on the new building policy. We would like to schedule more dates to give everyone a chance to have more access to the building at no cost. The dates through March of 2003 are given below. Remember you must call in advance to have inside access and you are responsible for cleaning up. Also call if you need more details on the policy.
November 24, 2002
December 22, 2002
January 19, 2003
February 16, 2003
March 16, 2003
Gibbs and Heigle Flags & 4th of July Fireworks
Did you miss it? The evening of the fourth of July we watched the fireworks from our deck facing the lake. We have done this before for New Years or other major events, but this was the first time we saw so much at one time. Somehow we had three or four fireworks displays going at once. The air across the lake was clear enough to see them well. Jazzland was the brightest, being closest to us. Then moving west was the "Go Forth on the River" display from the Mississippi River. Further west was Zephyr field and Lafreneire Park. What a great display and what a great vantage point. I only wish we had thought to walk to the end of our pier. We could have turned around to see the fireworks along Bayou Bonfouca in Slidell.
I gotta recognize everyone for showing lots of flags for the 4th. Larry Gibbs went all out with a huge flag draped across his porch. Sandy Heigle also had an elegant ruffled red, white and blue banner over her front door. …but any red, white and blue will do – and did! Thanks.
After considering several options and testing different materials we have elected to simply dredge the channel for access to the finger canals. The permit will likely request a channel approximately 40 wide, 550 feet long and 5 - 7 foot water depth. Dredge material will be dispersed on the lake bottom. A draft permit application has been completed. After the October meeting discussion the application will be submitted to the Corps of Engineers.
Over the years, Donnie and April Meyer have contributed tremendously to helping with the Community Building. I can remember calling Donnie a couple of years ago with great consternation. A wedding was just getting started and I had turned on the breakers and a few sparked and did not come on! Donnie came over and showed me how the breakers had just come a little loose and needed to be pushed back. At that moment, I remembered he had warned just such a thing might happened, but he patiently explained it again. Anyway, I had to call on Donnie again and he installed a new outdoor outlet for the Community Building for the drink machine. It’s great to have professional help when you need it.
So far the drink machine has generated little income. We plan to keep it a while longer to see if this improves.
Community Building Usage Rates
Community Bldg and picnic area
$200 for 1st 3 hours, $30 each additional hour
Picnic area & outside pavilion $75 flat rate
Community Bldg and picnic area
$350 for 1st 3 hours, $50 each additional hour
Picnic area & outside pavilion $150 flat rate
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