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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?”

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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..

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.”

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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.”

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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..

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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.

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Image result for black new orleans being pushed out

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.

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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.

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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