"And what do you see now for the future of the Vieux Carre Commission?"



That's what WWNO morning host Diane Mack asked Vieux Carre Commission director Larry Hesdorffer today at the end of a nice, harmless piece about the VCC's upcoming 75th anniversary celebration.

Here's how Hesdorffer, with backing from public radio piano jazz, responded:

"Well, we continue to do what we have done for these many years and that is to monitor all of the changes and to try to preserve the character and the integrity of the French Quarter. The tie-in is to protecting the culture of all New Orleans because that's the original city. It is in very many ways a city within a city. And the cultural gumbo of our community is recognized within the various building types, the architecture, and also the uses and the mixture of people who come there to live or to work or to play."

Nice and harmless. A cultural gumbo of a mellow jazz of a Lake Wobegon of a story. Nothing wrong with it at all, except for the timing. There's a bit more in store for the VCC, as you might have seen spread across the front page of the daily newspaper today:

The 2012 budget proposed by Mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration calls for cutting the commission's budget by 30 percent and reducing its authorized staff from 9.5 positions to five. In fact, according to the City Council's budget staff, the proposed appropriation is $41,000 less than is needed even for those five positions.

In addition, the administration's plan to "co-locate" the City Planning Commission, Historic District Landmarks Commission and Vieux Carre Commission offices would mean moving the VCC's offices out of the French Quarter to an unspecified site, probably near City Hall.

As long as we're talking bad timing, not that this really has anything to do with the VCC exactly, but the French Quarter had an eventful Halloween, didn't it?

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