Thursday, October 27, 2011

Monthly Themes and New Meeting Place Decided at Last Meeting!

In attendance: Robert Trudeau, Brian Salvatore, Garrett Johnson, Susan Fontaine, Jon Soul, David Young, Maurice Loridans, Ken Hawkins, Katherine Brandle, Cynthia Keith, Pam McPherson, Megan McPherson, Loren Demerath


A celebration of “El Dia de los Muertos” (The Day of the Dead) held by the local Latina group, Voces Castellanas, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., Saturday, October 29th at Columbia Park, and will feature arts and craft displays and activities, as well live music and dance performances.

The 3rd Makers Fair of the Texas Avenue Community Association will be on November 5th from 10 to 5 at Texas Avenue and Common St., featuring home-made arts, crafts, food, and music.

The Dog Park wine and beer tasting fundraiser originally scheduled for November 5th will be postponed until January 14th at the Barnwell Center. (The LSU-Alabama game has been moved to the evening and would overlap. Note: there's an elephant buried at the site of the future dog park. Good omen, huh?)


Maurice reported on some progress in creating a bicycle depot and cooperative. In conversations with people about a possible location at the Calanthean Temple it may not be as suitable as another possible site that has emerged on Texas Street. Maurice envisions three stages to the depot:

1 – a site to use tools held by the cooperative and get guidance in repair and bicycle use.

2 – a site to store used donated bikes which people can use for parts to build bikes which they can then keep.

3 – a site to provide the parking and shelter of bikes (some people own bikes of high quality and would not be willing to park them on the street), and to provide shower and changing facilities for commuters.


The majority of the meeting, though, was used to focus on the primary item on the agenda: to plan the themes for the months of November and December.

To reiterate the decision made at the last meeting, ABS' new format of each month is as follows:

  1. First Monday: a social meeting at a bar, cafe, or resaurant
  2. Second Monday: a themed meeting focusing on some particular issue or project (at the Wright Math Building, room 103 [see below])
  3. Third Monday: a board meeting on general ABS issues
  4. Fourth Monday: an advocacy event, such as letter/email writing, website construction, research, etc. (It was noted that events such as trail cleaning or bayou cleanups that require more time and light, the event could take place on the preceding Sunday or Saturday.)

In light of the new format, possible topics for the themed meetings and advocacy events of November and December were discussed (though December an advocacy event, depending on how people want to treat the holiday period).

It was noted that there are two bayou cleanups that will be occurring in November: Daniel Gehrig's on the 5th (meeting at 8:30 a.m., parking at the library on Riley Lane; for info see the facebook group “The Duck Pond Cleanup and Restoration Project”) and the Centenary living-learning community focusing on sustainability will be helping Jon Soul with a cleanup of Anderson Bayou on the 6th (meeting at 1:00 p.m., parking available at Sevier St. parking lot of the Montessori School). All are welcome to help in both cleanups.

Jon also announced that the Coates Bluff trail will be opening “officially” on November 12th, with clean up and trail clearing before that. Jon and Loren are also eager to make the trail on the east side of the bayou that we hope will become a bike path, and will connect to the bike path currently going under Clyde Fant to the existing riverside bike path. With poison ivy on the wane, but the colder temperatures not here yet, it was noted that now is the best time for trail clearing.

With all that in mind, the group decided that Forest and Bayou Paths would be the theme for the month of November. The exact nature of the advocacy event will decided as the month progresses.

As for December, Maurice noted that Ian Webb of River City Cycling would like to collect as many bicycling tours as possible, presumably with maps and appropriate accompanying materials. Those could be digital with links of information. For example, on online map accessible via cell phone could route a bicyclist through a tour of notable city architecture, musical sites, historical sites, public art, even notable holiday light displays. At notable stops, riders could pause to access information, even music, via phone. Last year, ABS sponsored a social bike ride tour of holiday lights, with stops at ABS members' houses for mulled cider (at Carolyn Manning's), cookies (at Kari Brownholland's) and gumbo (at Loren Demerath's). Several families participated as well as regular ABS'ers. It was cold, but we didn't feel it, warmed by food, drink, and good company!

In light of those memories of the past, and hopes for collecting new tours for the future, the group decided December's theme would be City Tours.


Because ABS meetings have consistently been filling room 206 in Centenary Square, we decided to move the meeting to a roomier locale. Katherine Brandle, a Centenary math professor who works in the Wright Math Building, said room 103 would be a good fit. There is a parking lot in back and in front, and the table in the room can be arranged easily to suit us. Also suitable is the projection equipment there, since we often look at maps and online materials during meetings. So the Wright Building it is! Thanks Centenary Math Department!


The next meeting will consist of more planning, such as specific advocacy events and themes for other months. Other issues may be raised as well, so stay tuned. As a new practice, we'll post the agenda for the meeting on the blog Monday morning.

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