The proposed reforms would consolidate recreation programming and
park management – currently under two different departments – into one
independent commission, with the majority of its members appointed by
city elected officials and administrators. It also creates a nonprofit
foundation to raise money from private donors toward recreation
The reforms’ intent, supporters say, is to reduce the disparity
between well-funded parks paid for with donations from residents of
wealthy neighborhoods versus poorly supported parks in poorer parts of
the city. Right now, “there is no NORD,” they repeatedly said; every
playground and every recreation program is run solely by local
volunteers with no tangible support from the city.
The panel was organized and led by Council members Arnie Fielkow,
Jacquelyn Clarkson and others sharing Landrieu’s opinion, but some
questioners from the audience at Roussel Hall were more critical.
Danatus King, president of the New Orleans branch of the NAACP, said
residents are being asked again to trust a city that has repeatedly
failed them and urged them to read the full NORD charter documents
prior to Saturday’s election. Because the new fundraising foundation
will be a nonprofit corporation rather than as a government board, it
may have to meet in public, King said, but it will not be answerable to
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