It’s something soulful bout being from & living in New Orleans even with all the turmoil of day-to-day life here, politics, crime and this list goes, there’s just about nothing that can kill the spirit of my people here. Call it resilience or whatever, one thing I know it’s rooted in us to not only survived, but to overcome whatever evils that come up against us.
The locals define what New Orleans means to so many, you can’t have one without the other. If I had to point out a negative about New Orleans, it would be the fear of losing New Orleans with the loss of our people. Since Katrina the population of true natives, true locals born and raised in New Orleans has significantly decreased and with all the new changes, gentrification it will decrease more.
My return to my home town landed me amongst others with the same heart as mines, who left and came back, because of the love for their home town. I’m thankful that my sister-in-law thought of me when her mother-in-law had an opening in a neighborhood where the culture is prominent. I love living in a neighborhood that’s trying to hold on to it takes a village mentality I grew up with .
My neighbors are an extended family , we actually know each other, well with the exception of a few transplants that have relocated here. It feels like you have to force a hello out of them. You would think that they researched the culture here prior to moving and found out that all New Orleans people speak to everyone. It’s common knowledge here to acknowledge each other when you pass by them where ever you are, bus, crossing the street, at the store, sitting on the porch, you speak. Maybe I should host a “How to live with New Orleans Natives, when you are a transplant” class..
Everyone looks out for each other, we all are involved and respected by all the kids in our neighborhood and know all f them by name. I can’t walk to my door without an adult telling me how they interacted with my children on any given day. The kids refer to all adults as Ms/Mrs/Mr or Auntie and Uncle, just as the days of yesterday. Our black men are always spoke of in a negative light here, the media seems to show the small percentage who are out in New Orleans streets committing crimes. Never reporting on the good that they do within the community. There are so many men in my neighborhood as well as those who come in to it, who hold themselves accountable for not only their children, but all children who they make contact with. On a daily I witness Black men encouraging, mentoring, playing, talking to the youth. Our men also assist single and widow women in our community with their issues around the home, such as plumbing as well as just offering a hand with bringing the groceries in. We all family here, it’s awesome.
The people in my neighborhood and neighborhoods represent New Orleans culture to the fullest. New Orleans needs us and I hope the big people with the money and power see this and soon. I see transplants taking over blocks in urban neighborhoods at one time they refused to come visit when they were on vacations and making it unaffordable for those who work to make New Orleans what she is. How can this be? The very person that works in the tourism industry can not afford to live in New Orleans.. The projects that were downtown prior to Katrina have been turn into beautiful luxury condos, leaving thousands of New Orleans unable to return.
Then there’s the Airbnb…OMG, I believe it’s a trap, knowing that locals can not afford to stay in the neighborhoods they know as home this is a way to supplement their income, but its a marketing trap to see just how many will do it then present thrm with a buyout option.
New Orleans, home to fewer than 400,000 people, has always been a tourist town, and locals have long complained that throngs of out-of-towners endanger the city’s authenticity. But Airbnb and other short-term rentals threaten that authenticity in a new way. Parts of the city were already gentrifying when Airbnb started to grow a few years ago, but the rise of short-term rentals appears to have accelerated that process.
This new kind of Airbnb-powered gentrification comes with all the downsides of traditional gentrification — home prices and rents are going up, lower-income residents and people of color are moving out — but with fewer upsides. Tourism and gentrification typically bring cleaner streets and less crime, but tourists don’t stick around to clean up the neighborhood, vote in local elections or lobby for better schools.
The locals are New Orleans, the world must know that. There’s so much good here, besides Bourbon St and Mardi Be Gras. The media scares the world, the very tourist who love New Orleans to not come where the locals are. We, the locals, where we live is labeled as “unsafe.” If it was so unsafe why are people relocating here in masses? Maybe, the catch is we will be gone and I wonder how much of New Orleans experience will the transplants have then.
No one can come here to make New Orleans what it is, it’s the people here who make New Orleans alive, a soul, a place that’s unlike any other in the world. New Orleans is known as a place to go to revive the spirit, comfort and heal the heart, mind, body and soul. We need to keep her alive for all of us. As I mentioned before I believe New Orleans has the soul of a woman given all that it’s land has given birth to and we are responsible for ensuring that her seeds, her children can remain in her bosom. Come met us, come get a po-boy from the local store, have a conversation with your housekeeper, server and if you can’t do that just say hi when they greet you. All it takes is for a tourist to make a connection with a local to see the direct source of “Who” makes them return to New Orleans. ⚜