Bucktown Marina Project Still Alive

An extensive Bucktown Marina project that includes office space and retail development, along with boat slips, has been a long-term goal of many Jefferson Parish officials including Council member Nick Giambelluca and Parish President Tim Coulon. This project has been championed by economic development officials as an ideal redevelopment of the area. Activists in the neighborhood organization Bucktown Civic Association, however, have opposed the commercial aspects of the development. They favor a marina with a public boat launch, wetlands and a large green space without any commercial activity or high-priced boat slips. Earlier this year, the civic organization generated thousands of signatures on a petition calling for the commercial development of the area to be halted. This outcry, coupled with a ruling from the State Lands Office that the project as envisioned was in violation of the lease between the parish and the state, led the Jefferson Parish Council to table the project during the summer before construction actually started.

Many believed that the project was completely dead; however, a revised project is now being shopped to the State Land Office for approval. This revised project eliminates retail and office space and includes only wet slips, dry stack storage and space for marine-related activities (such as boat sales and service) and for government agencies such as Wildlife and Fisheries. Parish President Coulon led a delegation of officials to meet with the State Land Office on Sept. 24 to explain how the project has been changed. As a follow-up to the meeting, Coulon sent a letter on Oct. 1 to Clay Carter, public lands utilization manager for the State Lands Office, asking for assistance in re-starting the project. "We ask that the state lift its 'hold' on the Corps of Engineers permit application process so that Jefferson Parish can proceed with the development of the Bucktown Marina," Coulon wrote.

Activists in the Bucktown neighborhood association are opposed to the revised project and are outraged that it is still being considered. "We are directly committed to take whatever action necessary to prevent parish officials from denying general public access to these state lands," says Bucktown Civic Association representative Peggy Poche.

At the present time, the State Lands Office is considering Coulon's request, and the "hold" on the development is still in place.

Greenwalt Center Fundraiser Set for Oct. 25

The Greenwalt Center's 8th Annual Boo-to-Do is set for Oct. 25 at 8 p.m. The event will take place at Cars of Yesteryear, a wonderland of priceless antique cars, toys games and memorabilia from past years, at 4625 Fairfield St. in Metairie.

Congressman David Vitter and his wife, Wendy, will serve as honorary chairs of the fundraiser. Tickets are $125 per couple and can be purchased by calling Becky Persson at 455-8104. There will be a silent auction, a parade of prizes and a live auction with such items as Blue Dog paintings, a diamond and jewelry bracelet, and dinner with Gov. Mike Foster. Music will be provided by the Benny Grunch Band.

The Greenwalt Center in Kenner offers social, recreational, and health activities and services designed specifically for Alzheimer's patients in need of daily care. Recently, a fire at the center resulted in more than $100,000 in damage to the facility. Insurance will not cover all that is needed to restore the center to its former condition, nor will all of its furnishings be replaced. All funds from this fundraiser will go toward this restoration project.

Landrieu Lines up Jefferson Parish Leadership

In her race for reelection to the United States Senate, incumbent Mary Landrieu has lined up the support of most of the political leadership of Jefferson Parish. Endorsing Landrieu for reelection are Sheriff Harry Lee, Council Chairman Aaron Broussard, District Attorney Paul Connick and Parish President Tim Coulon. All of these elected officials are Democrats except Coulon who is a Republican.

Coulon is not the only major Republican in Jefferson Parish who is supporting Landrieu. Republican business leader Henry Shane held one of the parish's most successful fundraisers ever for Landrieu at his home. In addition, real estate developer and major Republican contributor Joseph Canizaro, who resides in Jefferson Parish, has maxed out in donations to Landrieu.

Jefferson Parish will be the focus of a lot of attention in the Nov. 5 election. The parish normally votes Republican in presidential elections and is considered one of the more conservative parishes in the state. Because of Landrieu's incumbency and her roots in the city of New Orleans, she is not conceding the parish to any of the Republican candidates and will be working with the parish leadership to solicit a significant share of the vote on Election Day.

Regarding endorsements, the Jefferson Alliance made no endorsement in the Senate race and the Alliance for Good Government, which includes a Jefferson Parish chapter, will hold a forum on Wednesday with all of the candidates in attendance at the St. Bernard Parish Council Chambers.

Runaway Jury to Benefit Entire Region

A movie based on the John Grisham novel Runaway Jury will be partially filmed at Jefferson Parish's Elmwood film studio. State officials hope this $60 million film project will generate other movies in the state.

In recent years, Louisiana has been losing movie projects to Toronto and other areas for strictly financial reasons. Now, thanks to legislation authored by Jefferson Parish State Rep. Steve Scalise, financial incentives have been established to encourage more movies to be made in Louisiana. Runaway Jury is the first major success. Also, State Sen. Ken Hollis is given credit for finding the money to upgrade the Elmwood studio and attract this movie, the most expensive one ever filmed in the state of Louisiana. The movie stars Dustin Hoffman and John Cusack, among others.