Friday, February 29, 2008

Next Meeting: Monday, 3/3, 5:30 p.m., 3351 Alexander.

Let's do the Bring Your Own Beverage format again. (And Ian, thanks for Stoner Bock last time!) That said, if you'd like to bring a nibblie to share, that'd be welcome as well. But don't give it a second thought if you can't bring anything. You're wanted for your mind, not your tortilla chips!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

E-Mailed to network after last meeting...

(this might be a decent way to publish minutes, i dunno)
(BTW, if you'd like to be put on the e-mail list for the network, just send a message to

date: Tue, Feb 26, 2008 at 11:35 PM
subject: Steve Shelburne's house next week...

Hi All,

Thanks to all of you came last night. It was a very useful meeting.

Steve, we missed you, but it's good to know you're feeling better today, and thanks for letting us try it again next week. Got that everyone? Steve has graciously offered his house for next week. So far, at least, we're on for the same time: Monday at 5:30.

For those who couldn't attend last night, Skip Peel joined us, and talked about wanting to find a group or network or organization that would serve as a "vehicle" for which different people could borrow the keys to when a purpose arrises. I talked about Murray Lloyd's idea of a hub, and Leia Lewis' and my ideas of connecting people to each other who working in compatible ways for the community, and Jeff Wellborn's idea of a having a safe forum for the free and open exchange ideas. On the content side, Charles Gerard talked about his passion and interest for Highland as a priority, Jeanne Hamming and Jon Soul for gardening and "digging," Ian Webb and I for bike paths, and Robert Trudeau and Stephen Holloway were seemed generally supportive of all it.

After stating Jeff's and my desire that we have a sense that our meetings, blogs, and e-mail are safe spaces, we generally agreed that we should maintain a respectful, friendly atmosphere that encourages open discussion. (No big surprise, perhaps!)

But we also seemed to agree with Charles and Jeanne's view of our network: that it is trying to balance two things:

1) to be broad, out of a desire to facilitate networking; to enhance people's sense that they can change their city, and that there others out there who want to change it in the same way;

2) to be specific, out of a desire to achieve something concrete in a certain area, which may vary depending on the interests and passions of the person.

Given those differences, could it be that we end up having different roles on different "teams"? And there may be different meetings held by and for different teams?

For example, if one team needs help on a grant, that team could ask to "borrow the keys to the bus" and use our meeting(s) for their grant application.

Or, if a team working in a different area thinks a voice needs to be heard in support of, or against something that is happening, they could also ask for "the keys" to draft a letter to the editor, for example.

Anyway, Skip, I'm not sure that's what you had in mind, but that how I was thinking of it, given what you said last night. But I could be off base. That may not be what we should try to be. Maybe it would subdivide us, distract and disperse us, makes us loose focus, etc.

But hey, there's bonding experiences in those little teams concentrating efforts on an immediate goal, right? Anyone want to bond over that EPA grant? I'm game.

- Loren

Sent just before the last meeting...

Suggested agenda:
  1. Ideas for procedures, structure, goals of our network.
  2. News and updates from various quarters re: GIS map requests, tomorrow's trip to D.C. by one of our city council members, etc.
  3. Thoughts on the EPA Smart Growth Implementation Assistance program opportunity.
  4. Thoughts on Op-Ed piece recently shared by Skip Peele.
  5. Recent thoughts and experiences to share.

Monday, February 25, 2008


Our would-be host has been hit with a bad cold, so we're going to meet at my house at 5:30 today, around the corner from Steve's, at 115 Atkins. My house is three houses up from Alexander on the left, made of stone, a garage built into the hill, and is one block behind Strawn's.

Hope to see you there!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Meeting Monday at 5:30

A group of us working on ideas for a better Shreveport-Bossier meet regularly to talk. I'm Dr. Loren Demerath, Associate Professor and Chair of the Sociology at Centenary College, and I've hosted our first meeting and started our blog.

This time, e-mail me ( if you're planning on coming, so I can give you the exact locale and give the total to our house host! (It's right near the Centenary Campus by the way.)

We welcome all who would like to contribute. If you think you'd like to do so--by offering ideas, gathering information, sounding out people you know, or just by being a sounding board yourself--we hope you'll consider at least sitting in on a meeting.

- Dr. Loren Demerath

Topics for Discuss, Proposals to Put Forward, Etc.

(Please note, as of today, only the last one has anything significant posted to it. This is just to start things off.)

Among the topics we're actively involved with or may be in the future:

Revitalizing Downtown to be a place of energy, activity, and opportunities, where people not only work and shop, but also live, and play.

Growing Jobs and Investment opportunities in part through the above, where a density of pedestrians moving between large-scale enterprises create niches and opportunities for much smaller ones.

Civic Participation, where people are more aware of how they can contribute to political decision-making at the municipal level, or neighbor district level.

Civil Discourse and Society, where people are involved in voluntary organizations, from Churches to Book groups to Bowling Leagues.

Community Gardening, where people share land, tools, knowledge, and the experiences of growing and harvesting their own fruits, vegetables, and flowers.

Alternative Transportation opportunties that allow to people travel in as many non-automotive forms as possible, opening the possibility of biking, walking, even horseback riding as a means of getting around.

Greenways, linear parks, bike paths, perhaps using our bayous, to allow residents to exercise and socialize outdoors, while going to where they would ordinarily want to go, be that work, home, shopping, ball fields, movie theaters, etc.