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I saved a NOLA Fig Tree from gentrification

I’m not sure if it’s the fact that I moved away and came back that I appreciate the things some may not realize that are New Orleans treasures.

As you all know, I haven’t drove since my car accident in 2016, so if I’m not in a Lyft or being driven around, my feet get me where I need to be in New Orleans. I have mentioned you wi end up walking in my city even if you have a car especially if you want to live and/or work and play in the city.

I attended the New Orleans Tricentennial Treme Neighborhood Cleanup and the 3rd Annual Treme 7th Ward Arts & Cultural Festival, I live in the 8th Ward so you know I walked it out, well I caught a Lyft there and walked back. I have video and pictures from both events.

On my walk home, I notice this baby fig tree along with a few other of nature’s treasures are sprouting up by an abandoned Post Katrina house that will collapse if the Big Bad Wolf blows softly, as well there was an unkept overgrown lot directly across from the house. I love figs, really love figs, I can taste and feel the juicy texture and flavor bursting in my mouth, so I can spot a fig leaf a mile away. So, you can imagine my excitement as well as anger when I spotted it in the midst of trash and weeds. I risked bugs, lizards, rats, worms attempting to take a picture of it, then I looked at how far I was in the midst of the lot , I decided it needed to be rescued. I also, noticed the lot across from it has been stripped of all New Orleans Vegatation awaiting the next $250k+ build so I pulled it from it’s roots, thinking I knew I wore my boots for a reason.

As I walked through my neighborhood with the tree roots exposed, feeling proud some of my neighbors asked why did you pull the tree? I explained where it was growing like a weed, now thinking it had to have been cut down before to be this small, but they still didnt get it. They do not understand why I had the desire and need to save this tree from gentrification. How can they not see how deep this tree roots grow in relation to our culture.

At first I thought of my two aunties who have huge yards, but I keep forgetting that My Dad left us property in the Maribeau and I’m gonna go plant it there. The house had to be torn down after Katrina, but we have a huge oak tree in the front yard and an area that was a mini playground. I think it will be symbolic of my new start here, but that would me going way over there to eat figs and that’s not gonna work. If only we had the money to build and then there’s the task of splitting the property in 3s. I pray God blesses me with abundance of wealth so I can buy them out and build on my Daddy land, but back to fig trees.

It will get to a point were everything is just regular, we won’t stand out anymore. There’s a house that’s occupied by who has to be transplants and there’s a huge Misbelief tree in their yard with so many dried up or rotten fruit on it and the ground.

I guess they think it’s for the birds. Most of the younger kids do not know what a fig, misbelief, kumquat, mirliton or any the native fruit and vegetables are. There was a time when you could count on an afterschool snack off a tree. The fruit trees and vines bore fruit without anyone even planting a seed, but it’s slim to none now and you have to go on a hunt for seed. I remember jumping fences to get my hands on some juicy figs and etc even risking getting attacked by a dog, cuz they just that good.

I just wanna do some guerilla mirliton-vine planting along random chain link fences so that maybe in a decade or so it’ll be like when i was a kid and people just had them everywhere without even trying

I’ll keep on pulling trees and everything else that’s native of New Orleans, I can’t sit by and let gentrification happened right in front of my eyes. If it takes for me just to do something to keep the legacy for my family as my ancestors did for me I’m gonna do it.

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