News & Highlights
Property Tax Assessment Challenge Time is Open
The window for New Orleans homeowners to challenge their property tax assessments has arrived again, as it does each summer. But the long lines that used to stretch out of the assessor’s office on the fourth floor of City Hall may be gone for good.
Anyone who wants to argue for a smaller tax bill for his home or business can go to one of three locations between now and Aug. 15: City Hall; the Algiers Courthouse, 225 Morgan St.; and the second floor of the Lakeview Christian Center, 5885 Fleur de Lis Drive.
All will be open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. No appointments are necessary.
The multiple locations, a new online system for filing appeals and an extra two weeks to turn them in appear to have all but eliminated the long waits that used to make the process such a chore.
Assessor Erroll Williams, with an assist from the Legislature, put those policies in place last year, and he said he saw little crowding as a result. He expects things to go smoothly this year as well. His waiting room was nearly empty Tuesday, the first day of appeals.
“So far, it doesn’t look that bad, though you never know,” he said. “Going in at last minute — that’s human nature.”
Williams took charge as New Orleans’ first citywide assessor in 2011, replacing seven district assessors. Instead of doing one citywide reassessment every four years, which was the old practice, he has been gradually working his way through the city, neighborhood by neighborhood, each year.
This year, Williams said, he has sent out about 20,000 letters to homeowners whose property values have changed, mostly in Central City, the 7th Ward and the Upper 9th Ward.
Homeowners who received a reassessment in the latest round of adjustments should have received letters by now. If they decide to challenge the assessment in person, they need to bring their letter along with evidence to support their claim of a lower value, which might include a recent appraisal, photos, insurance documents or a builder’s contract.
Homeowners can also pursue a challenge online, beginning July 22, at www.nolaassessor.com, or they can appeal to the New Orleans City Council, which acts as the parish Board of Review, hiring third-party experts to assess properties and make recommendations in specific cases.
All appeals, whether in person or online, must be submitted to the assessor no later than 4 p.m. Aug. 20.
Williams, who won re-election without facing any opponent in February, said he has completed his assessment of just about every property in the city within the past four years. The whole process
Call for Garden District Association Fall Affair Benefactors
The Fall Affair for the GDA has been scheduled for Sunday September 21. Our Award winning neighborhood restaurant, Commander’s will host us once again. Those signing on at the benefactor level will join us for a pre-dinner cocktail hour in the patio prior to the other guests arriving for the evening. This is our premier fundraising event for the Association. And in this 75th Anniversary Year of the Association, we hope to make this event even more special.
Please let us know soon if you would like to join us as a benefactor and be listed on the invitation and the program. You may respond to this email or pay online through the GDA website by clicking here (Benefactor tickets) or returning your response via US mail.
Benefactor level tickets are $250 per person. We hope to hear from you soon.
Bill and Molly Gahagan, Co- Chairs Barbara abd Ed Beckman, Co-Chairs
Garden District Association Elects Board and Presents Renovator Awards
At it Annual Membership Reception in May, the Garden District elected several new board members and presented five Renovator Awards as well as its highest honor, the Terry-Parkerson Award.
Elected by unanimous vote that evening were Jenny Charpentier, Yancey Bewley, Lindsey Woolf and Laura Moise. Pauline Hardin was re-elected. We welcome them and thank them for stepping up to serve. They will replace long time Baord members Keene Kelly, Denice Ross, Jennifer Fallon and Mike Dolan. All of these volunteers left their mark on the neighborhood and will be sorely missed.
Five neighbors were recognized for the work done to their properties. Renovator Awards are presented to those who have undertaken a restoration of an older home so that it can remain part of the fabric for many years to come, or take on an exterior renovation that greatly impacts the immediate area in a positive way. The Association was pleased to present the following awards for:
3031 Coliseum to Teagyn and Daniel Weidner
3219 Coliseum Street to Laura and Ed Moise
1524 Harmony to Erica and Christian Mobley
2850 Magazine to Cat and Scott McKearn for Discoveries
1314 Jackson Avenue to Holly and Guy Perrier
Finally, that evening, Vaughan Fitzpatrick graciously accepted the Terry Parkerson Award on behalf of his wife Mary Fitzpatrick who so deserved the recognition. For more information on all award recipients, please see the attached program.
A special thanks to our host for the evening Kay and John Colbert for opening their beautiful home and gardens for the event.
Garden District Association Awards Top Honor to Mary Shelton Fitzpatrick (posthumously)
The Garden District Association presented its highest honor to Mary Shelton Fitzpatrick for her tireless work on preservation issues throughout the city. Husband Vaughan Fitzpatrick accepted the award on her behalf at the Annual Membership reception held at Kay and John Colbert’s home.
Mary was a member of the GDA Board and the editor of Preservation in Print for many years. She was a staunch advocate of all things New Orleans and a preservationist who rolled up her sleeves to work wherever needed. She was a generous supporter of the neighborhood and the PRC and will be missed as a friend to many.
Lighting in the Garden District
Several months ago, the Garden District Security District held a couple of neighborhood meetings to discuss with the residents their preference for embarking on a public camera program within the Garden District boundaries. The concept was to approach Entergy and Bell South to seek approval on using their poles to mount several cameras in the area that could be used to help solve crimes. The funding for the purchase and maintenance of these cameras would come from the GDSD coffers without having to go to residents for additional dollars. This would be a pilot program for a period of time to determine its success in lowering crime in the area.
As in all issues the response from the residents was very mixed, though most favored going forward with this program. In the few months that have passed since these meetings, the GDSD Board of Commissioners and their committee have studied the issue and learned that obtaining the use of the Entergy and Bell South poles is much more difficult than originally expected because of the legal and liability complications.
An additional takeaway from those neighborhood meetings was that residents wanted us to explore other mechanisms that may help increase public safety in the area. Additional lights and personal cameras were top suggestions. The GDA and the GDA formed a combined committee to address these issues. Thus, while we will continue to work on a long term plan with Entergy and Bellsouth for public cameras, the GDSD has decided to focus on these two things that can bring immediate change to the area and get all residents involved. This email will focus on the lighting aspect. A later report will focus on personal property cameras.
As part of the regular scope of duties, the GDSD patrol provides a monthly report of all light outages in the area. The GDSD office then sends it to the city to put in line for repair. You can report a light outage as well by simply calling 311. All in all, most of the outages have been repaired under the Public Works Department contracts or are on the list to be repaired or have a more complex problem than can be repaired at this time. Therefore, we embarked on a survey of the neighborhood to determine the darkest blocks due to the omission of lights, rather than light outages.
This is where you and your neighbors can help by adding lights to the exterior of your house or by adding a street light on your block for very little cost. Attached is a list of locations where an existing pole can handle an additional light. Entergy has a program which allows anyone to order a light to be installed for free, and a nominal monthly fee ($15 – $40). It is a quick process. The light can be installed within a few days and billed through your current Entergy bill. If the light breaks, Entergy will fix it at no charge to you as the light belongs to them, not the city.
We ask that you review the list (Dark Locations in the Garden District-3) and discuss with your neighbors the option of adding a light in your area. If you decide to light up your block to benefit your family and your neighbors, please call Entergy at 1-866-603-0192 to get started.
And please let us know when the light is installed so we can monitor the changes on the list. We appreciate your assistance in making our neighborhood a safe place to live.