Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Bring Back New Orleans...Just Not My Neighborhood

The city of New Orleans' Bring Back New Orleans Committee presented it's rebuilding plan today. You can read about it here. I must say it was very interesting. A couple of things caught my eye. The first thing that caught my eye was my pre- storm neighborhood falling into the "Future Park development" dots on the slide that showed the city's proposed green space. That is not real encouraging for people in New Orleans East. It is now clear to me that the secret plan will be to hope that lots of homeowners are not contacted so they can have an excuse to turn my old living room into the eight hole of the new golf course. The secret society doesn't care about New Orleans East. They stopped caring once all their friends moved to the Northshore and sold out to Section 8. The second thing that caught my eye was the area of the Lower Ninth Ward where my grandparents lived is considered an "infill area". They will probably be bought out and that land given to some republican big wig developer in the state to build apartments for all the people of St. Bernard parish that have wanted to come back to New Orleans anyway but were scared of black people. The plan claims everyone will get pre Katrina market value for their homes but with the incompetence of the assessor's office in the city we will probably get screwed that way too. It's not hard to notice that the most affluent areas of New Orleans East as well as "Little Vietnam" were not included in the green space plan. I guess Cynthia Willard Lewis who is the worst councilwoman ever, saw fit to make sure her and her friends' houses could be rebuilt once the land grab starts. Shirley Chisholm must be rolling over in her grave at this example of a black woman in public office.
Honestly, I could be ok living in an older part of the city but that is not the issue. The issue is that 50 years ago when my grandfather was looking for a place to buy some land and build a house for his family, his options were limited due to segregation, Jim Crow and the racist land selling tactics of New Orleans that still go on today in disguise. He and a whole group of hard working black men bought land that was basically in a swamp and built their houses from scratch because they had no choice. This fact alone should make the black political sector of the city work to preserve that area. 50 years later these political negro pawns that have reached the mountain top have teamed with a bunch of secret society Rex and Comus parade float riders and said that all the families from that area are second class. The argument that it is unsafe goes out of the window if anyone in St. Bernard and Lower Plaquemines(who are basically in the Gulf of Mexico) have the opportunity to rebuild. Make no mistake, this is all about a city, state, and country having no concern for a group of old houses built by a bunch of proud black men. It's bad enough the national media has already portrayed the Lower Ninth Ward as the toilet of American neighborhoods, now my own city is doing it. You know I miss my grandfather. He would have been 90 years old today. In a strange way I am actually glad he got to die peacefully sleeping in his own bed on Benton and Miro St. If he would have stuck around and cheated death for one more year, he would have had to experience seeing his house destroyed, his family separated, and being told that he could never go home again like the last 50 years didn't matter. I guess everything does happen for a reason. I'm sorry both of my grandmothers have to go through it now if both of them are still here.
All the neighborhood planning will be completed and reported by May 20, 2006. It will be on this day that I decide if the city of New Orleans is still worth living in or if it's just a symbol of disenfranchised minorities that I don't want my kids falling in love with so the same thing can happen to them when they are older. The three generations before have lost enough already. First to nature, then to the 10% of the population that actually controls everything going on. It's times like this that I wish I had a radio or a TV show to go on and rant but the FCC dislikes cussing and proud, angry, intelligent black men who tell the truth so I would probably get kicked off the air five minutes into the show. Where is Jesse, Al and Farrakhan when you really need them? Looks like we are going up against an army with a handgun in this fight. I wish Johnny Cochran was still around. At least he had the balls to fight for the common brother. If anybody reads this and gets offended, that's good. Now you know how I have felt for the past 5 months.

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