A New New Orleans or Gentrification of New Orleans?
At the turn of New Orleans 300th Birthday and they hype they are selling ‘A New New Orleans” it has me worried about the future of our Native New Orleanians, especially with all the changes that have taken place after Katrina. Maybe, it’s the word, “New”, new means different and transition from the norm. For instance, you buy a New car, a New house or you breakup with your old boyfriend and meet a New boyfriend. What exactly is this “New New Orleans” they are glorifying? I thought I heard her wrong, but yes at the end she states “together we will create a New New Orleans?”
As it stands today, well in my eyesight and on my palette, New Orleans has turned into a water-down bowl of Gumbo. It’s actually not Gumbo in some restaurants here anymore, but wild peasant and alligator sausage soup as one tourist informed me she was served when she asked for New Orleans Gumbo…. Where they do that at? It seems in this new place soon to be New New Orleans. Something, has been changed, modified, removed from New Orleans Culture when they start messing with the Gumbo…it’s not Gumbo anymore, it’s soup and you can get that at any grocery store in the world.. I will not insult myself by posting a pic of what that may look like..
As I think of New Orleans, our home, culture and history I realized that We, Black New Orleanians contribute to the majority if not all of the cultural aspects of the city that bring people here day after day. New Orleans unlike Atlanta does not fall under that umbrella as being a Black City, when in essence if one takes away what makes New Orleans, New Orleans, it would be the black influence.
Have you walked down your street, or even sit outside on your porch for your new Non New Orleanian Transplant Neighbor to act as if you are invisible? New Orleans locals are known for their hospitality and yet the ones who want to take over have none.
One thing I have noticed is that they will come out as an organization and provide a service to the community,nice right, yes, but why is it hard for Us to be able to tap into those same grant monies to provide the same? They are not out there gifting their time, food, toys and etc. There’s funding for the things we see going on at St.Roch Park, Once again wonderful, but recently I was told that my Non-Profit Plan application was denied,because the organization was looking to assist those who have a Social for Profit Model?? Huh? Ok, reach out to at risk kids, teach them how to bake a cake and then sell those cakes??? Profit off of helping?? This is the New New Orleans way?
On another note have you ever seen a white New Orleanian have their own 2nd Line Club?No, recently there have been a couple of white men that I have noticed join certain clubs. Have you heard of a white Indian at Mardi Gras? No,but they will make sure to be the King of the best floats and etc. These two events alone bring in millions of dollars, but it has nothing to do with the white, well Cajun culture.
Just today I learned of Lena Richard, what if she remained behind the kitchen door like others? If she didn’t have the courage to break out and claim stake on her contribution the things she accomplished would have never been heard of, well not with her name.. It stands today that her picture was removed from the cover of her cookbook and today that very same cookbook owned by whomever cost $200+, more than likely her family receives a small royalty check for the sales. We have to have the spirit of Lena and come from behind the kitchen door and tell them, ” That’s mine’s, I made that.”
I’m not being racist, I’m just calling it as I see it, especially with all this talk about a “New New Orleans and Air B & B’s” to me it’s another take over of a land and a culture not of theirs, as they have done for hundreds of years. There’s enough for everyone. I don’t get how our people, our culture is being pushed out and/or forced to not come back since Katrina.
“A group of mostly white protesters actually held signs on Crowder Boulevard, proclaiming that this neighborhood did not want poor people to live here,” said Dr. Beverly Wright in The San Francisco Bay View. “It seems that the plans for the ‘new’ New Orleans include the pushing out of thousands of poor African-Americans with the intent of concentrating families in the East and any other suburb where they can be pushed out of the city.”
The 9th Ward continues to sit in ruins, while they hurried up and turned the projects, such as the Iberville into luxury downtown apartments and condo. Those who lived in housing prior to Katrina could never afford to come back with the price tag on the rental/mortgage condos… It’s odd that the Iberville Project which wasn’t affected by Katrina was the 1st to be remodeled… City living right in the heart of downtown… I wonder why they didn’t want to live in the Iberville prior to Katrina? There where openings all the time..
Do they not realize that the increase in rent and the low paying jobs will make a New New Orleans, because if defiantly won’t be New Orleans. New Orleans is made up of African, Spanish, Indian, essentially what we call Creole Culture, but technically New Orleans is an African American city. Everything from the ground up was created by black people, the very soul of New Orleans is black.
New Orleans is strong even while broken, resilient, loving, embracing, forgiving, enduring, a survivor who will keep resurrecting after each drowning, each political corruption and after each death, she will rise and will comfort and provide for those knowing she is still capable of giving birth to a plentiful harvest, because she will always have strong roots.
New Orleans is a spirit alive in all of us and we can let them continue to bend us into something we are not. We are New Orleans, we can’t forget that.