Tuesday, December 1, 2009

New Orleans Neighborhood Activist Dies

Posted By on Tue, Dec 1, 2009 at 11:03 PM

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Longtime neighborhood activist Pam Dashiell died this morning. She was the current co-director of the Lower Ninth Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development (CSED), which assists returning residents by helping them acquire building materials as well as training them to rebuild homes that are energy efficient and sustainable.

Dashiell, 61, was originally from Roxbury, Massachusetts, and moved into the Holy Cross neighborhood 20 years ago. She served a number of years as the president of the Holy Cross Neighborhood Association (HCNA) http://www.helpholycross.org/ and was instrumental in assisting the neighborhood as it recovered from the flooding caused by the levee failures following Hurricane Katrina. Charles E. Allen III, also a former president of the HCNA and the association’s current board chair, says it was Dashiell that motivated him to join in the fight to save the area.

“It was right after Katrina, October ’05. She said, ‘Charles I’m so glad you’re back in town,’” Allen laughs, recalling the conversation. “She said, ‘Now look, our vice president isn’t coming back to the city, so I need a vice president and you’re it.’”

Allen wasn’t the only one taken in by Dashiell’s nonstop support for her neighborhood. Gambit’s Clancy Dubos was the chairman of the board of the Holy Cross School before and after Hurricane Katrina. He worked with Dashiell during this time, and considered her Holy Cross’s “Rock of Gibraltar.”

“She was always a person of goodwill, fairness and objectivity,” Dubos says. “She was just a tireless advocate.”

In addition to her service with HCNA and the CSED, Dashiell was a founding member of Citizens Against the Widening of the Industrial Canal; a former program coordinator for the Louisiana Bucket Brigade Holy Cross/Lower Ninth Ward Initiative; board member of Smartgrowth Louisiana, the Alliance for Affordable Energy, the National Center for Community Health Research; and she was a member of the New Orleans’ Neighborhood Conservation District Committee. She is survived by a daughter, Alyssa Sanchez, and a grand daughter.

Funeral arrangements aren’t known at this time.

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