The other day the T-P had a little article about mis-understanding Politics 101 here in the city. One of the developers of the Fallstaff property on Gravier St. remarked about the failure of Jazzland. Pissed off a supe or two, so what? The key thing was that he believed that we should “get people into rentals” Excuse me?
“Using the HOME money to help owners work on their houses, the Falstaff developers said, would not produce any of the new rental units the city needs and would not leverage the federal money to produce the greatest return.”
I freakin’ beg to differ Mr. Suit Man. The greatest return on the Federal monies sent as part of the Reparations due to the city’s people is best served by maintaining and creating home-ownership. A little slice of the American Dream, ‘eh?
HUD is tearing down the Projects… what the Hell can those folks afford in the near, or could be, the long-term Future? They will be paying tribute to yet another developer and their overlords. No Freedom, no freakin’ way out of the hole. Let’s just return to the pre-Flood days, ‘eh?
Screw that path… not going to play the same old game down here again. No, ya’s ain’t gonna build lots of apartment complexes in the “Sliver By The River” to house the poor that will become your indentured servants for the service industry and your damned profit margins. We don’t want your ugly complexes (read: projects) in the city. You will just suck rent, along with other things, let those things decay, find a way to bail out with the $$$, and then where do the little folks stand then?
I can tell you some of what’s going on. From the “Nation” April, ’06:
“The Republican hostility to New Orleans, of course, runs deeper and is nastier than mere concern with civic probity (America’s most corrupt city, after all, is located on the Potomac, not the Mississippi). Underlying all the circumlocutions are the same antediluvian prejudices and stereotypes that were used to justify the violent overthrow of Reconstruction 130 years ago. Usually it is the poor who are invisible in the aftermath of urban disasters, but in the case of New Orleans it has been the African-American professional middle class and skilled working class. In the confusion and suffering of Katrina–a Rorschach test of the American racial unconscious–most white politicians and media pundits have chosen to see only the demons of their prejudices. The city’s complex history and social geography have been reduced to a cartoon of a vast slum inhabited by an alternately criminal or helpless underclass, whose salvation is the kindness of strangers in other, whiter cities. Inconvenient realities like Gentilly’s red-brick normalcy–or, for that matter, the pride of homeownership and the exuberance of civic activism in the blue-collar Lower Ninth Ward–have not been allowed to interfere with the belief, embraced by New Democrats as well as old Republicans, that black urban culture is inherently pathological.
Such calumnies reproduce ancient caricatures–blacks running amok, incapable of honest self-government–that were evoked by the murderous White League when it plotted against Reconstruction in New Orleans in the 1870s. Indeed, some civil rights veterans fear that the 1874 Battle of Canal Street, a bloody League-organized insurrection against a Republican administration elected by black suffrage, is being refought–perhaps without pikes and guns, but with the same fundamental aim of dispossessing black New Orleans of economic and political power. Certainly, a sweeping transformation of the racial balance-of-power within the city has been on some people’s agenda for a long time.”
How about “The New Orleans Agenda” from last February’s S.F. Bayview? (If I excerpt it, I’ll have to copy and paste the entire essay. Just read it.)
“Oh! But the Feds are only required to return us to pre-Katrina situations.” Just kiss my tush jerks. The levees weren’t all of the problem. This has been a systemic assault upon the people of New Orleans for many, many decades. The failures of the levees could easily be seen as part of a “plan”. WE ARE OWED REPARATIONS! We should use them to bring all of New Orleans back on a more equitable footing. (Shit! That Neo-con/Bigot fault just shifted! Did ya’s feel that?) Neighborhood ownership and co-partners in the developement of said neighborhoods. (Damn! That fault shook again!) Good Public schools instead of the Parochial and Charter schools? (I think that last shaking was Rigor Mortis setting in. I’m freakin’ groovin’ to the movin’.)
The wrongs from the Past can be corrected within the rebuilding of the city. Many of us are seen as the oppressors from the poor’s side, but we aren’t: all of us are heirs to the bullshit bigotry of the Past. This time all of the tribes of New Orleans can hold hands and create the New Orleans that should have been: a place that is a collection of slices from much of Humanity’s experiences and have them mesh together into a semi-coherent whole. To create a new New Orleans: where the bigotry of the Past is laid to rest, and we all can stand up and state, “I own a piece of this home-place”, both soulfully and materially.
Think of it: What the Hell is the worth of the city and the vibes without all of us: Creole, Cajun, black, white, Asian, etc. living together? How did the music begin? Blacks and Creoles mainly, and then other elements flowed in. Our cuisine? Babes, I defy you to produce a more thourough fusion in the culture of foods. The City’s flavor? It took, and takes, all of us who love Her, all of us that just said, “New Orleans owns me… I can’t leave.”.
There’s a thing called the “Spirit of Place” or Genius Loci… all of us who love this place belong to it. It moves within the soul. It’s called belonging, and we should be beholding to It’s spirit. Let’s now create a true “Shining City Upon a Hill“.
I’m game: (I am a part of almost every culture in the city. I wish my relatives to be happy and contented). Where Yat?