In reflecting on the diminishing number of persons working in city government with unquestionable integrity and honesty, we want to acknowledge the passing of the last truly “straight shooter,” i.e. Mr. Paul May, who served the city of New Orleans for some 41 years notably as its director of safety and permits. The Esplanade Ridge/Treme Civic Association for over four years struggled to uphold the zoning laws so vital in maintaining the very framework that holds a city together. Mr. May, in spite of enormous pressure from City Hall, stood firm on his position that the Bethany Home project at 2535 Esplanade was not zoned to accommodate a facility to house persons with drug or alcohol addictions or mental illness. When City Hall could not force him to bend, they then employed the very political legal element, the “justice department,” to intercede. This case proved beyond all doubt the corruption that exists in this city and the incredible limits the administration will go to cater to big money. In recognition of his exemplary service, some conspicuous tribute would be most apropos. This was a man who operated on the basis of the laws and not political cronyism. We should all take time to remember that such an individual dedicated his life to making this city operate according to the laws that allegedly govern it. He will be missed by many, but most deeply by the residents of the Esplanade Ridge/Treme community. We offer our sincere condolences to his family and want them to know our neighborhood will not forget his herculean efforts.
Michele B. Braden
board member, Esplanade Ridge/Treme Civic Association