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Former Iberville Project Residents do you know what this sign really means…?


I didn’t live in the Iberville, but I had family and friends who did. The history of where they lived never was a topic nor the sign that stood at the entryway, it simply was a place to stay. 

I recall reading the sign, but that was about it. I never asked my family any questions about this sign. What did come to mind, the name, it made me think of “Storyland” at City Park. I love Storyland, all the characters, rides, food, smell; it has this magically feeling, that has me smiling right now. Storyville from what I have researched was the total opposite of Storyland, well both were fun, exciting and made you feel good. The Iberville project possibly can fall in the middle, only because of family. There were rides in the project. Let’s see a used tire hanging from a tree or the thrilling feeling of a ride in a police car to the jail, you can pick if the lights are flashing by what type of crime you commit… 

This one sign has left me wondering about the numerous signs I made myself read to get the brief history of who, what, when and and where. This sign, plaque, well lets call it a slab of concrete with misleading beating around the bush facts needs to be rewritten. All these years I overlooked the legalized red light district part, I  believe mainly, because the writter or powerful decision maker knew that not only I would, but the rest of us as well would. 

“Ooh, jazz and all the greats possibly lived and played in this very project”, was what I thought for years, till now. There’s also the fact that the majority of kids came from very spiritual families and the grandmother wouldn’t have toletated the mere idea of living in a place that was known as a brothel. That sign, the history had to be fabricated, because families would have moved.

Why have us misinformed, ignorant of our history?? Wash and burn it from our memories, to make it something that was not.

In recent years I became aware that the projects weren’t created to help the poor black people, they were built for whites and the parts of town they did not want to live in where given to us. The projects, stores,  restaurants and etc were segregated as they continue to be. Well, if you go to the corner store in a black neighborhood it will likely be owned by a race other than ours, given them the chance to profit off our own communities that they refuse to live in… I wonder why that is??

So, for me to find out that this hot piece of land was actually mapped out for legal prostitution and the control of it, helped me understand their whole concept. 

Storyville itself was a project prior to the invention of projects. The government controls the who, what, when and where at all times. They monopolize on it, that is until it floods over, beyound their control for others to see. Then they slap Illegal on it.

Storyville is gone, as well as the Iberville and the other projects that where built to contain, oversee and exploit.

As a matter of fact, even without mere buildings, projects and etc, we continue to be roped off by the means of cost of living increases while pay has remained the same. Acts of nature such as Katrina and now Harvey have to come thru to assist those who never saw their way out of their project walls to better living. 

I hope and pray that those of you who never left New Orleans, the projects or hood where able to find better living where ever you are..

Lets stop turning a blind eye, stop trusting what is written or said and do the work to educate ourselves and families.

Tell me did you know that the Iberville was the main area for prostitution? Tell me did you know that “colored women” could work in the brothels, but “colored men” could not purchase a piece of pleasure from a white or black woman?? A black man couldn’t even pay for sex from anyone, but he could work in the brothels and night clubs. I guess that’s where all that Jazz came in at..

Iberville Projects was a neighborhood in the city of New Orleans and one of the low-income Housing Projects of New Orleans. The Iberville was the last of the New Deal era public housing left in New Orleans. Its boundaries were St. Louis Street to the north, Basin Street to the east, Iberville Street to the south and North Claiborne Avenue to the west. It is located in the 6th ward of downtown New Orleans, on the former site of the Storyville district. This district was known for being the center of tourists. It drew tourists from all around the world increasing the popularity of the area.The area has currently been redeveloped into a modernized apartment complex called the Bienville Basin Apartments

The Iberville development was built on a ten block site in the early 1940s as part of the Wagner Bill. The land was previously Storyville, the city’s official red light district. In 1940, the city declared 95% of the structures in Storyville substandard, clearing the way for construction of the project. There are 858 units in the Iberville.

The call for public housing was met in by the federal government with the U.S. Housing Act of 1937 while the Great Depression took a toll on the poor and unemployed in America. The government officials in New Orleans were the quickest act and immediately received the funding’s to being the building of the initial six housing complexes in the city. Once the complexes were complete they were divided amongst the whites and blacks in the city unequally with the blacks having four of the complexes in the less developed areas of the city. The in the two housing complexes the whites were given one was the Iberville Projects in honor of Pierre Le Moyne, sieur, d’Iberville, one of the founders of Louisiana. During segregation, the Iberville was occupied by whites, while the nearby Lafitte Projects served the black tenants.

Iberville Project 1942

https://youtu.be/uZL0INRZS98

https://youtu.be/BvrfLQhQvBA


A native of New Orleans, who left her beloved New Orleans to spend twenty years of living in the land of Minnesota Not So Nice. Minnesota was full of opportunities but would learn that the soul of the state and the people who made it was just as icy cold as the temperatures. After the years and my 40th birthday flew by, I decided it was time to pack up my youngest child and come back to my roots, my birthplace the city that not only birthed me but gave me life. I would not be who I am without my New Orleans beginnings. I am all things that would challenge the belief of growing up in New Orleans. I was a 16yr old teen mother of a premature baby born with a severe medical disability. And only With the help of my mother, was it possible for me to BE! I was able to endure and survive the obstacles laid before my child and me. In a city that was built by my family, but did not allow for us to reap the benefits I overcame. Charity Hospital was my second home — a building filled with miracle workers who made it possible for my daughter to have life. I have lived a life of rainy days with peeks of sunshine, that are my children, including those not of my womb. I'm the proud mother of three and a grandmother of three. My dream was to live the life of the nursery rhyme of ”The Old Lady Who lived in a shoe,” and for the most part, I did. I cared for several children over the years as a special needs foster parent. I would learn that my love was not enough for some children, but I loved them through their pain. I'm not sure if I ever had a case of true love or came close to what love looks like on television, but I had my share of men and the mirage of love. I survived two abusive marriages. Though I longed to return to New Orleans on a daily bases, I must admit my move was one of the best decisions made for me. I am a college graduate; I was a successful entrepreneur. I coowned a soul food restaurant and catering company in Minnesota for 12 years. I developed the talent of creating custom cakes after the murder of my beloved cousin Melvin Paul. He survived Katrina only to go to Minneapolis six months later to be murdered over a parking spot dispute. But with the challenge of creating a simple wedding cake, I was able to find healing. I created the House of Cakes in honor of him. Minnesota life had me pretty materialistic. I worked to the point I do not remember much, but work and handing my children love money. I thought by having the big house on the hill, a husband, having a family, the ultimate provider and being involved in all things that matter, plus having the funds to match would cure me of what I was told was a generational curse of lack of everything from money, love to even self-love. But for the most part, that life poisoned my heart and soul. I was blinded by visions fed to me by the media. I was told I wasn't anything unless I was better than the Jones's. I lived being ok with a broken, bleeding heart. Life like this did not exist in my family while living in New Orleans from what I viewed with my eyes and soul. We may not have had all the things I acquired over the years, but we were happy, we were together. Family outside of New Orleans wasn't family anymore. We lived separate lives and had awkward moments when we bumped into each other in public. I hated living in Minnesota even though life their helped me in so many ways. I felt deep down the only way to repair it was to get back to my roots, my soul, my home, myself, my New Orleans. I'm here, and I love it. Even being in the so-called Blighted Area of New Orleans and not having all the financial and material security, I'm happy. I am determined that She, yes, New Orleans is a woman is just like me; together, we will overcome and will rise from all that tried to kill our spirit. Nothing like starting from the bottom and making your way back up!. I just know in my heart that New Orleans will provide for me. There's a bank account with funds in it owed to me by way of back pay for my ancestors. And I will receive my inheritance, and I will continue the traditions and customs of the old to keep the heartbeat of New Orleans beating. I'm down in the boot, living the life that feels right to me awaiting my destiny...

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