What I Hate About Minne Lusa.

I moved to Minne Lusa in 2007, so I’m relatively new to the area. I grew up on the opposite side of town. I had never really heard of this area until my older brother bought a house here. I would come to visit him, but I knew little else than how to get to his street. When my wife and I were looking for a house, we had a very specific list of features and amenities that we wanted in a house and in a neighborhood. We found ourselves in Minne Lusa several times and ended up buying our home right on the Boulevard which we dearly love.

Since moving in, I have advocated wholeheartedly for Minne Lusa. I have talked it up to friends, have tried selling area houses to colleagues and family members who may or may not have been in the market, I have preached the virtues of this as a wonderful place to live. I don’t regret a second of it. I firmly stand behind everything I’ve ever said.

However . . . I feel that I have earned the right to say some things. I don’t ever mention them to people because I don’t want them to get the wrong impression of my treasured Minne Lusa, but alas, the time has come for me to talk about . . . What I Hate About Minne Lusa! (Duhn, duhn, duuuuhhnn! *dramatic music*)

1. I get tired of spelling Minne Lusa to every person I talk to who doesn’t live here.

2. I hate giving geography lessons to people. (OK, do you know where the Mormon Bridge is? What about Metro’s Fort Campus? Well if you go north on 75 until it turns into 30th St . . . )

3. I hate that people who don’t live here think it’s “the ghetto.” Do you even know what a ghetto is?


Minne Lusa. See the difference?

4. I hate that some people who DO live here think it’s “the ghetto.” If this is you, either open your eyes or buy a Celebrity home. (I know I’m going to hear from all my friends who own a Celebrity home. Let’s be real folks, you know my opinions.)

5. I hate that so many people around here still just shrug off the sound of a siren or the sight of a police cruiser as an acceptable daily happening. Most people don’t even stop watching  “Glee” long enough to stick their head out the window to see what’s going on.

Too Many Litterbugs ‘Round These Parts

6. I HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE . . .HATE! . . . the litter that I find on the Boulevard. My son and I take walks on the Boulevard with his little Radio Flyer wagon and absolutely fill it to overflowing with litter. My son is well versed now on how litter “makes the ground sick” and stops to pick up trash every time we’re out. THAT’S NOT MY SON’S JOB!! So to you kids who threw your plastic drink bottles on the ground the other day, I saw you! To the well dressed business man in the new black Impala who tried to discreetly let his Kit-Kat wrapper flutter out of his hand while his arm hung out the window, I saw you! And to the Schmuck in the grey Pontic Vibe who threw a whole Burger King bag out the window as you raced down the Boulevard, I saw you . . .and followed you! I even gave your licence plate number to the “Keep Nebraska Beautiful Litter Hotline” (877-NO LITTR or 877-665-4887 for all you other litter nazis like me). Everyone, PLEASE, quit littering. Just hold onto it until you get home.

What number am I on now? I got all fired up for a minute. Ah yes –

7. I hate that the elm trees that lined the Boulevard decades ago all died off and that they were never replaced with comparable trees.

8. I hate that the beautiful decorative lights that once lined our neighborhood streets were torn out sometime in the past and were never replaced.

9. I hate that I have to bounce and jostle my way home on about every third street because the city has let our streets get so bad.

10. Maybe I hate the bouncy streets a little less when I think about this one. I live across from Minne Lusa elementary, and I cannot even count the number of time during school hours that someone has come racing down the Boulevard at 40-50 mph. There are kids right on the other side of that fence! Cool it, Hot Wheels! I have gotten into the habit of casually walking into the middle of the street when I hear the folk of leaden feet about a block away. This slows them down long enough for me to point out that it is a school zone not a qualifying lap. My neighbor is concerned that one day, he’ll come out to just find me squashed in the road. He might be right. Maybe I should just look into a speed bump instead.

11. Rentals. I don’t hate renters. Some of my best neighbors are renters. But I hate rentals, mostly because landlords don’t care for them the way a homeowner would and renters are limited on what they can do. There’s an entire street of rentals in Minne Lusa where all the houses are owned by one guy. The houses are worn down and neglected. Again, not the renters fault, it’s not their house. Here’s the kicker. The owner lives on the same street! His own house is pristine! I don’t know yet how to approach that issue so I dedicate my resources to areas where I know I can have success, but this is going to be tough nut to crack. And it’s going to have to crack. (Any ideas?)

There are always going to be things that bother us about where we live to some extent because we share the space with other human beings. My wife and I love Minne Lusa and we’re proud to call it home. My son will grow up with utopian memories of this place. I continue to campaign for my treasured Minne Lusa. I love the place, and I am impressed by how much positive momentum I have seen recently. I hope that if you have not checked out Minne Lusa recently, that you like it as much as I do. I hope that I have not scared anyone away.

I would like to hear from you. What are your hot spots in Minne Lusa? What do you love? And (dare I ask?) what do you hate?

**Editing Note – in my comment about litter, I had previously mistakenly said the owner of the Vibe worked at the barber shop on 30th St. I have been corrected on this twice as the owner of the barber shop indeed lives in the area and has a good reputation. The owner of the Vibe has no affiliation with the barber shop or its staff. Thank you to those who corrected me on this mistake.**

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24 thoughts on “What I Hate About Minne Lusa.

  1. Tell us what you love/hate about Minne Lusa (or wherever you live). Then click one of the options above to share this post with others!

    • Bev Demory

      AWESOME Article!!! I’d love to discuss all of this list more with you. I’m more than a bit crazy about most of the same issues…. and I LIVE on that street with the BAD landlord and would love to find a way to correct his errors that are affecting everything and everybody in our wonderful neighborhood.

      • I’m so glad to have you on that street Bev! We’ll get together to start putting a plan into place to make that one of the nicest streets in Minne Lusa again!

      • Lesley Calabria-Brown

        I have not lived in the area for over 40 years…but I remember how serene and beautiful it was. This truly saddens me and I hope you and those you rally are successful in correcting these problems.

    • Paula

      Greetings, I spent the first 13 years of my life in the Minne Lusa area. Those years were the most pleasant and most settled of my life. Our family lived at 2581 Bauman. I am still friends with the neighbors who used to live at the other end of that same block. My memories include the elm tree lined streets, playing in and near Miller Park, skating on the Miller Park Lagoon in the winter and even skating down the sledding hill!!! We all knew our neighbors, in my childhood opinion and adult memories the houses were beautiful, so thank you to the current residents for keeping Minne Lusa alive.
      Before you look for 2581 Bauman…it isn’t there anymore. It was directly behind where the Birchwood Club swimming pool used to be. Shortly after my father died in 1956, the Birchwood club bought our house and either tore it down or moved it some where. Inspite of all that, I still have such fond memories of playing with friends and knowing the wonderful neighbors in the Minne Lusa area. I remember the walks to school–rain, shine or snow. Best wishes from a former Minne Lusa area resident.

    • Hi. My name is Sarah Geier. I just wanted to say that I truly appreciate the things you said about our neighborhood. I am 26 years old and have lived in the Minne Lusa neighborhood for most of my life. The things you said are very important.to me as well and the TRASH is DISGUSTINGI’m not sure what is wrong with all these people who keep filling north Omaha with garbage maybe they like it. Maybe their parents never taught them one thing. Whatever the problem is, it makes me sick. I would hate to see what their homes look like! The speeding drivers up and down the streets back and forth day and night make me sick too. I will not let my kids play outside unless I have a hawk’s eye on them.

      This being said, I wish that the Omaha Police Department would do something, anything to help our community and our children feel safer. After all, I thought that the police issue tickets to speeders and to people who litter. Maybe I was misinformed about these things. Sadly, my family will be moving out of the neighborhood soon. We live in one of those rentals that is falling apart. For three years my landlord has only served one purpose, to collect rent from me.

      • Sarah, we are saddened to hear that you are going to be leaving soon. We know all too well how difficult it can be to have a bad landlord. We certainly hope that your family finds a good situation soon. Minne Lusa and its neighbors are committed to working on improving the litter situation and keeping an eye on speeding drivers. There are some things any citizen can do to help with these things. Teaching children about the importance of service and of keeping the earth clean makes for good reasons to take them out for an hour or so to pick up litter. You shouldn’t have to do that, your kids shouldn’t have to pick up someone else’s litter. But it will ensure that they will not also grow up to litter. This has been one of the best things about this for my son as he now hates litter as much as I do and has sworn never to do it. Also, if all of the neighbors on your block agree to having one installed, you can contact the city to install speed bumps on your street. There’s no way to guarantee that someone won’t still rush down your street, but it will certainly cut down a lot of it. We hope these tips help whoever reads them and we hope that your family finds the right place for you!

  2. White

    Hate is such a strong word for what I think so I’d rather use “strongly dislike” if that is ok. I too move to the area in about 2007 however my husband has been a lifelong citizen here. I grew up across town in what I would call another world and in that world over the span of my childhood I was taught that this side of town was the “hood” and it has beauty in the housing and many wonderful community people but it is too close to the current crime to not consider the safety of our children.

    What I dislike it hearing gun shots often and seeing the “bird of north Omaha” as my hubby calls it fly over my home looking for another person.

    What I love is that the inside of my home had restored hard wood built in buffet and display areas. I also have some wonderful neighbors I can call friends and good memories however that is not enough to keep us here and we are set to move by June. The good news is for those who love the area we will have a great home for sale.

    • Nina

      I can appreciate your concern for safety for yourself and your children, however I have many friends who work for OPD(many who live in minne) and have told me many times that our area is one of the safest spots in town. I have lived in dundee and have had my car and my friends cars broken into, I don’t know how many times I’ve heard and seen the police respond to domestic violence calls, rapes, and break ins hold ups and unfortunately at the Abes gas station in Dundee, even murder. So it isn’t just Minne Lusa. Crime is everywhere. It’s just that the news always seems to focus on North O. Now don’t get me wrong, on the other side of Miller Park there needs to be something done. It’s almost like an invisible line once you reach Minne Lusa Blvd. What we have to do is keep fighting for our community encourage young couples who want affordable housing to move to our area to keep revitalizing this beautiful and historic part of Omaha. I wish you and your family well on your move and hope you find some peace.

    • Mrs White,
      We have loved having your family in our neighborhood. It’s a shame to lose you guys just when Minne Lusa is coming back up. We understand your concern for safety for your family, and we trust that the family that buys your house will be a great addition to our neighborhood family as well. We wish you the best in your new home and will leave the door open for you guys to come back for a visit anytime!

      • White

        Thank you very much for the support.. We are excited to see the change. The people of this area have done an amzing job of making it a home for all..

  3. Yes…Minne Lusa is a great place, was a great place, and will be great again! Which is why I am moving back to the blvd after spending 33 years in PHX. Yes… there is crime. An unfortunate symptom of our present society. Anything can change for the better. And it will. Let’s not focus on the down side. It can be too disappointing. I will pick up trash, walk with the children to school, plant flowers, and do whatever else I can to make our neighborhood the place we know it can be. I look forward to the oportunity:) One day we will all get together and say “I knew we could do it” as we look at the before and after pictures. It will be a very good day!

    • Eileen,
      You are so right! Anything can change for the better! Minne Lusa is waking up and is becoming a great place to live again! We are thankful for you and our other neighbors like you who are putting in the time and sweat. The day is indeed soon approaching where we get to say “I knew we could do it.”

  4. Leasha Benolken

    I agree with many of your assertions regarding our neighborhood. My husband and I have been here for seven and 1/2 years. We are proud of the area and its efforts to promote a positive environment. It holds much history. I feel particularly fond of Minne Lusa elementary school and its excellent staff. That’s not to say we haven’t had bad experiences. Yes, I see lots of litter. At times we play “what will we find today” on walks home from the school. Yes, we hear the police chopper often, but this is the case in my parents’ neighborhood behind Menard’s out west as well. The fact that landlords do not take proper care of their rentals dismays me. One avenue to pursue with this issue could be to make Omaha Housing Authority aware, lest they are subsidizing the rent and would be interested in knowing of unsafe conditions. I understand that inspections are to be done regularly pursuant to Section 8 rules.
    The positives of this area are impressive, however. Among other things, I am impressed by the kindness of neighbors here. The ability to communicate and help out is a rarity these days. I was thankful, therefore, when two women came to my nine year old son’s aid when he’s been pushed off of his bike by two older teens. These practically grown men made the choice to take the bike he’d just been given by his dad. We’d allowed him to ride alone that day, feeling assured that Minne Lusa Blvd. was a safe option for riding at five or so in the evening. When I received a call from a woman with my son crying in the background I didn’t know the extent of his injury. These two women walked him home and made a follow up call to check on him. My son learned that day that despite the awful behavior choices some make, proportionally good choices are made by others.
    I see more police presence on the streets of Minne Lusa, along with Citizen’s Patrol. One could argue that this implies that the area is unsafe. I see it as an asset.

    • Leesha, thank you for your stories! I am glad that the point of your comment is that, yes bad things can and have happened here, but that the good has outweighed the bad. We look forward to seeing and hearing more of you and your family! Keep being a great neighbor and you’ll see Minne Lusa be everything you want it to be.

  5. Steve Ongert

    I lived on Vane Street from the time I was 3 until I was 16. Went to Minne Lusa School when Vera Borg was principal. I played in the neighborhood during all of those special years, loved it. Learned to play golf at Miller Park. Caught my first fish in Miller Park Lake, will never forget it. Chased butterflies all over the neighborhood. What a wonderful neighborhood that was. I moved away long ago but each year I return to look at the neighborhood and remember how wonderful my youth was in Minne Lusa.

    It’s been 50 years since I lived there but I still cherish the special feelings I had toward my neighbors and friends. We were a special community.


    • Thanks Steve! It’s always so great to hear about people’s memories and experiences of growing up here. It is especially encouraging for me since my son is now developing some of those memories of his own now. You are welcome back any time for a visit. Stop by the Minne Lusa House at 2737 Mary St. Saturday mornings from 9am – Noon to chat with some of the current neighbors. We’d love to meet you!

  6. Our Future

    My spouse and I are going to look at houses in this area soon. I have a family member that has lived here for more than ten years and anytime I go visit, I find it very pleasing that certain areas seem very nice, quiet and secure. Now obviously, I am not so naive to believe that crime cannot and does not happen here because I know it does, in fact there was a murder that happened a few minutes south of here last night, which is why I will most certainly be taking proper precautions if we decide to buy here but overall we are very interested. We have children and they are our main focus of course.

    I understand that most of this nonsense occurs to people that are out doing the dirt (Gang members/younger kids up to no good) and am hoping that since we are very respectable, hardworking people with zero ties to any of this that we shouldn’t have issues here however I have to also say that the fact that these people could venture or even live near me is still a concern. I definitely don’t want to be around any “Bullet Magnets” as I like to respectfully refer to them as because I know that strays can and will happen 90% of the time.

    Any input on this from current residents? Any tips or helpful information from anyone with FIRST HAND knowledge would be appreciated.


    • Craig

      My family and I moved to the Minne Lusa 4 months ago from west Omaha. We have lived in many states and have found that the Minne Lusa was the most friendly community we have ever moved into. People we didn’t even know volunteered to help us move in. We have 4 kids ages 3 to 10 years old and highly recommend the area. The historic homes have tons of character and people here seem to look out and help one another more than most neighborhoods.

      • Craig, we’re just so glad your family has moved in. We look forward to watching your family grow over the years as your kids get older. The house you guys moved into is perfect for a family like yours and it already seems to be happier with you guys in it. We’re excited that you like it here because we’re excited to have you guys!

  7. I lived on Newport between Minne Lusa Blvd. and 28th st. Went to Blessed Sacrament school. We had quite a rivalry with the public school kids. Lived there from age seven to seventeen. Our house was haunted and creepy. I used to ride my bike up and down Minne Lusa Blvd. for hours and hours every day and even then people drove too darn fast. We moved there in 1965 and thought it was pretty classy, esp considering where we’d moved from. There were a lot of nice people, nice mixed neighborhood with a wide variety of people from elderly widows to families with kids. Good luck on your revitalization project. One of my favorite places to shop as a kid was the Minne Lusa Hardware store on 30th st. I swear that place had everything from toys to yarn as well as all that typical hardware stuff. My dad used to send me up to the Minne Lusa Drugstore to buy him cigarettes. (Huh. Times really change, yeah?) We shopped at Hinky Dinky and the loss of that store crushed the neighborhood. I remember when they tore out the gas station on 30th and Redick, and built a Taco Bell. I’d never eaten anything that exotic in my life but they had everything spelled out phonetically on the menu board. I walked in and said, “Give me one of them Burr-eee-toes!”

  8. Thanks for your input on this neighborhood. WE are currently looking into a home to buy there. We currently are renting in the 44th and Bedford Ave area. I must tell you how wonderful of an area it is. The old rustic charm and such. We are empty nesters looking for are forever home until the Lord takes us home. We appeircate people who care about the neighborhood and I agree with the liter issues and the poor kept streets. We face that over here on Bedford Ave, and notice it more when we walk our 4 dogs. I love to decorate my yard and keep it pristine and my home is the same. I really hope we get a chance at home ownership there!!!! PLease keep in contact and let all of us know more!

  9. Asa Russell

    My wife and I are about to move to Omaha from Berlin, Germany. We have lived in the states before but that was Portland, Maine, a tiny city of 66,000 with very little crime. The Minne Lusa homes are beautiful and we are drawn to everything we have read about the neighbours. It sounds much like our old home and we’d love to be a part of something like that.

    Even before moving to Omaha, we have heard terrible things about this area, and the rest of N. Omaha as well. In particular, we are concerned about gun violence. We’ve been living in a place where there are almost no guns at all, and walking outside at night, even in this big city, is very safe. The thought of hearing a gun shot seems stressful to me.

    However, my question is actually related to our lifestyle. We are going to be residing in Omaha but spending a lot of time in Europe for my wife’s research. That will take us away in the summer for anywhere from 1-3 months at a time. Can any of you share thoughts with me on what would happen to a house under those circumstances?

    We are so impressed with you all for what you have done to save your beloved neighbourhood. Much luck to you in the future with all you undertake, whether we are able to join you, or not.

    • Hi Asa! We’re so excited that you will be moving to Omaha! We hope to have you as neighbors in Minne Lusa, but wherever you settle, you’ll be welcome. Your concerns are among the most common we hear. Certainly, it is true that parts of North Omaha struggle with poverty and the related violence that seems to be part of that. Minne Lusa neighbors have worked hard to create a safe environment where crime is lower. We have a high concentration of families with children in the neighborhood, many of which take walks on the neighborhood in daylight as well as after dark. I won’t hesitate to tell you that this neighborhood will very likely be different than what you’re used to in Berlin or even Portland. But it is certainly not what you’ve been told about “North Omaha”. As far as your time away, you can rest assured that we can get you in touch with great neighbors who would gladly keep an eye on the house and help with yard maintenance until you return. We have a number of military neighbors who go on short deployments for several months. They rely on good neighbors to collect mail, mow the lawns, and generally watch the property. One of Minna Lusa’s greatest assets is that be neighbors here genuinely care about each other and about the neighborhood as a whole. Many neighbors have established relationships with a network of people throughout the neighborhood instead of just the people next door. We know the challenges that North Omaha faces and the stigmas that seem to saddle a lot of what we do. This creates a shared experience among the neighbors that results in a feeling of community pride and unity. It is not a perfect place, to be sure. However, it is special and unique. Wherever you decide to settle in the city, please know that you will always be welcome in Minne Lusa to visit or attend events. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us here or over on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/minnelusa) for any additional feedback or advice that we can offer.

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