Now that the issue (fill in the blank based on your views/knowledge: is, appears to be, might be, might never be) settled, it’s time to discuss what will happen next. We need to focus on better building techniques, sustainability and resource management. The demolition of buildings needs to be well managed. We must recycle as much of the irreplaceable old-growth lumber and components as possible. There should be a consortium of all the city’s materials recycling entities to handle this. NOLARecycles and the Green Collaborative represent collective efforts and can be tapped for expertise.
There will be lead paint issues, asbestos issues. But we have an enormous opportunity to set new examples of Best Practices in recycling and re-use, and that means economic development. Now is the time for leaders of the Biosciences District to seek assistance from area green organizations and leadership. I can see several sites processing these materials and the possibility of reinvigorating our rebuilding resource organizations with this effort.
A huge concern of this project is water management. Stormwater runoff from this site will be copious. There are many in this area who are well-versed in sustainable development techniques. We must make this site a shining example that exceeds anything ever built in New Orleans when it comes to water systems and ecological footprint. The development team needs to delve deeply into Low Impact Development principles, Regenerative Design techniques and Biomimicry concepts. These should be Living Buildings where healing takes place with the assistance of Nature. And they need to be leading examples of resilience and mitigation. We can make the hospitals state of the art in more than just medicine, but also in how to build in our hot, humid, windy environment and for our soil types.
There’s no doubt this project can be measured in both dollars and lives. There’s no doubt Charity Hospital was prevented from opening in the months after the flood by those seeking to build the new hospital. We can (and probably will) debate this issue for decades; because, for too many, the cost was measured in the loss of loved ones like Cayne Miceli. And there is no doubt that far too many of those lives were lost due to a plethora of failures that reach their nadir in the mismanagement and brutality of the operations of Orleans Parish Prison. Unfortunately for us, today’s funding decision changes nothing about life in New Orleans in that regard until both the hospital and new jail are completed, years from now.
So I say it’s time for us to come together and make these entities the best they can be. There will be opportunities for involvement, for cooperation and compromise in the coming days. I intend to do my part, and hope that everyone who worked so hard on both sides will do theirs, to ensure that these projects make New Orleans stronger and become the kind of assets that will improve our lives and economy.
Let’s not settle for the same kind of management, design and construction practices of the past. As yesterday’s Green Collaborative Platform for Candidates proposes, we know how to grow the economy of New Orleans. These hospitals need to be catalysts for green/sustainable development. It’s time to step up, demand the best and build our future.
Cayne Miceli was a truly mystical and deeply spiritual soul. She was enlightened, vibrant, sexy, colorful, outgoing, outspoken and could turn the most mundane moment into one of great insight, joy and hilarity. She possessed a sharp wit that she wielded with taste and great humor. She was never mean, even when life and friends let her down.
Cayne radiated life. She glowed with an intensity that reflected her spiritual connection. And she could brighten your day with her huge smile, even when she was not in great spirits.
Cayne also had a capacity for understanding and analysis that made her counsel and advice meaningful, thoughtful and soothing. She never gave you a sense that she was patronizing you or was impatient with your thoughts–though she was jumping to put her two cents into the discussion. She shared like nobody I’ve ever known, everything she had: emotional, physical, spiritual. She knew love because she gave love. Her friends and family grew with her passing, despite our pain, as we all connected and continue to share our love for her and for each other. Tuesday night, January 5, some of her friends gathered at a live music club to light candles at midnight to honor the anniversary of her passage and to conjure her spirit. It was a most appropriate setting.
Cayne’s probably laughing at us all as we fight our emotions and try to reflect the true nature of her spirit and joie de vivre. I hear her staccato voice this night, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m great, I’m fine, I’m so connected it’s amazing. You know I knew things could be this way but I never reeeaaaallly knew until I crossed over, really, it’s amazing, it’s so cool, I’m just so happy. It’s like I always said, Peace and Love, Peace and Love! I can’t believe how I got here, but I found it! It’s soooooo cool! I love you guys! Peace and Love! Peace and Love!”