Sunday, September 11, 2011

Healing Center Attacked For Role in Gentrification

The New Orleans Healing Center, center of controversy since it's inception, was attacked the night before it's opening day by opponents of it's impact on the neighborhood with stickers and the breaking of trees in ridiculous planters. The Healing Center was funded by a combination of notorious anti-poor developer Pres Kabacoff and the government give away of tax-payer money. It houses services oriented towards liberals and rich people compared to those who have historically lived there.

The centerpiece of the Healing Center, and an apparent target of the vandalism, was the New Orleans Food Co-Op. A consumer co-op to deliver Whole Foods style food tastes to an area where some rich people might be reluctant to move to because of it's lack of access to yuppie groceries (or any grocery stores at all, really). So the issue is a double-edged sword: on the one hand, it will be providing access to a fully-stocked grocery store to an entire half of the city that is lacking one. On the other hand, a consumer co-op grocery store full of items only hippies and liberal yuppies would appreciate isn't much consolation to most people who just want a normal grocery store with decent prices and a selection of foods familiar to most New Orleanians. This is not to mention the context of the Healing Center around the Co-Op, which will be filled with services and goods that most people who've been long term residents of the Bywater, Marigny, or 8th and 9th wards would have no interest in at all.

Only time will tell how much of a gentrifying impact this latest project from one of the chief architects of privatization-development schemes that destroy services for the poor will play out. But for now, at least some people are taking action to make the point clear that the Healing Center is looking more like a outpost colonizing the the wild west than a project that doesn't seek to dominate and re-shape a neighborhood that has already seen plenty of colonization up until now. What do you think the outcome of the Healing Center development project will be?


  1. The same kind of thing happened in Boston recently: a locally-owned grocery store was bought out by a Whole Foods in an inner-city neighborhood undergoing gentrification. The fact that these high-end stores try to make themselves look all "progressive" by serving organic or vegan or whatever foods with "fair trade" labels (which is a lie; capitalism is ALWAYS unfair trade) when they are in fact causing the same social ills they claim to be solving makes me want to puke. Why is it that the poor always have to be "saved" by some rich yuppie liberals? If the rich wanted to help the poor they would be fighting along side them against gentrification, landlordism, wage slavery, not by setting up their outlets in struggling neighborhoods.

  2. I understand the point of the action but breaking trees is wrong. Whatever happened to smashing windows?

  3. OK, I was initially revolted by the violence to the trees. That's like kicking a puppy. But I thought I should come back and say something in defense of the co-op. I have supported the co-op out of general principle. This is not a high-end store coming into a neighborhood from outside, as the comment from Τζούλια Ρήμπερ Πιτ would suggest. The co-op is a grassroots effort. I have not been closely involved nor do I know a lot of the people who are, but those I do have seemed like righteous people who care about justice. Moreover, the economic model of a co-op seems like something anti-authoritarians should support or at least not attack. It's self-organizing from the ground up. Now I'll admit I really don't understand some of the dynamics around the Healing Center. I don't get down to that part of town very often. But given issues of food access and food justice in this city, it's really hard for me to see the co-op as problematic. Maybe I just need it spelled out for me.

  4. "Taking action" is breaking stuff? Childish thuggery is not something to crow about. Intimidating people with destructive acts under cover of darkness sounds really familiar. Oh yeah, that's how "at least some people [have taken] action to make the point clear that" uppity blacks shouldn't dare try to vote. Just because you call yourself an anarchist doesn't make you any less of a bully than the Klan.

  5. Anonymous, this wasn't really a childish act of "breaking stuff" or "bullying" but a symbolic gesture against gentrification.

  6. @ anon. Reducing the klan to a mere group of thugs is an insulting understatement of that fascist group and equating anarchists to the klan because they destroy property is a stretch and a farce at the least.

    I would have a more gregarious attitude to the Co-op if they weren't cosigning the prescience of the healing center and by extension legitimizing pres kabacoff and police and the guardian angels. Many of my friends and comrades were initially part of the co-op until the soul was deferred for convenience. Anyway a co-op is meaningless unless it is an active force in a community that needs it. I would argue that under that rubric the co-op is neither necessary nor relevant in NOLA's on going struggle to defeat the disparity of healthy food in poor areas of the city. Plus anything that uses our language and tactics to progress elitist yuppie culture is also a farce and a stretch.

  7. Ben Passmore, you argue very well against the Co-op's being a useful resource for the neighborhood. That's much better than breaking stuff and intimidating the Co-op with thuggish destruction of property. There's no farce in comparing the tactics of any stealthy group that seeks to make other people live according to its own preferences by using intimidation and sowing fear. Violence to property, besides being theft, is frightening. That's the message - be afraid and do what we want you to do.

    Foolishly, you take my critique of property damage as a defense of the Co-op, and the "Healing Center." That is a flawed assumption. I see the Center as nothing more than a vanity project, fueled by a misuse of tax dollars, for yuppie cultural imperialists like Sallie Ann Glassman and Pres Kabacoff. The costly - and imaginary - New Age "healing" treatments are an insult to a neighborhood in need of a hospital since Methodist was flooded in the East. So no, I'm no fan. But I oppose thuggery where ever it comes from.

  8. We're talking about whacking down silly trees as opposed to the systematic murder and terrorizing of communities, infiltration of law enforcement and the political hierarchy (not a hard feat by the by.), ect ect ect. To compare useless property to the raping, burning, hanging, shooting, stabbing of human beings is insulting. private property has no value, especially when it compares to people.

    I would be less agitated toward critique of the action's usefulness, which I think would be a worthy conversation to have. I would love to talk about the disparity between anarchists tendency toward disparate marshall engagements and the community's ability to create counter institutions (more on that at the bottom.). I just can't get over your audacity to use such an ignorant comparison to dismiss this action.

    As to the point about counter institutions I feel pretty guilty in a way. I think creating an alternative to this HC BS is way more effective than playing brawny man on a couple trees. However, I feel like we need to get on top of figuring out how to provide an alternative. As always the capitalists are busy and we're having trouble getting simple projects off the group. Considering how dire the situation in this city is I'm sad that we can't seem to pick-up any steam, I guess because there's some much leveled against us.

    Anyway, kudos to the NOLA Anarcha folks for keeping the peeps up to date, this is a great blog:)

  9. I'll meet you in the middle and cop to hyperbole, but I won't diminish vandalism as being no big deal, or say it's "just property." People inhabit their property. Breaking, burning, smashing something in front of a business is not just violating property, it's violating boundaries. Systematic terror includes crimes against property. Someone on the receiving end of repeated acts against their property would have reason to fear for their safety. And we all know that people have been killed and maimed in actions against property. There's no defense for it.

    I pretty much despise everyone involved with that Center, but it's not what's keeping food and health care out of the area. The constructive response is to work on alternatives. There are people working on counter institutions, even some dreaded capitalists. Wendell Pierce and Troy Henry are using private investment, not tax dollars, for their grocery stores, one of which will be opening in Holy Cross. The city has grant money to help put grocery stores where they are lacking. That, and getting a hospital in NOLA East ought to be the top priorities for the city. I don't want to short any credit for the grass-root clinics that have popped up since the storm, but damn, people need a real hospital complete with ER and labs and in-patient care, and a grocery store with plain old food on the shelves, at affordable prices.

    As much as the Healing Center grates on my nerves, it's not the real impediment. It's just a big symbol of neglect and self-centeredness. Breaking shit won't change that.

  10. I agree, creating an alternative is more effective than killing trees. It's also way more work. That's why this action looks so misguided and, well, juvenile. Of course people have been calling anarchists immature since Lenin, haven't they? Sorry.

    By the way, thinking of trees as property is buying in to the global capitalist perversion. Trees are not property. As our actions should reflect our values, what values does killing trees reflect? Obviously, I'm having a hard time getting past that.

  11. As a primitivist with a master's in arborial management, I consider what was done to those trees an act of euthanasia. Ideally, the trees should not have been put down; they should have been liberated from their confining and demeaningly "decorative" pots. Their dignity and right to existence should be respected, even venerated.

    Alas, these trees, raised in confinement, had stunted root systems adapted to their cruel rectangular prisons; they never would have survived in the wild. Like genetically engineered farm animals bred to be monstrous and unstable, sometimes death is kindest.

    Okay the previous two paragraphs are a joke because I personally don't care if a few decorative landscape saplings in planters get whacked, symbolically or otherwise. I mean, in a world full of so much horrendous human-- even mammalian-- suffering, if I let myself be upset about how PLANTS are treated? Oy vey.

    This tree-concern tempest in an organic $85 artisanal neti-pot reminds me too much of this, where the anarchists were compared to al qaeda (still less absurd than being called the klan)!

    What I WOULD like to say is that while calls for "positive alternatives" are well and good, the hard work on positive alternatives doesn't mean there shouldn't be resistance to scumbags like pres kabacoff and the Guardian Angel-guarded, nopd-substation-adjacent consumer "co-op" he's using to greenwash himself.

    Similarly, although I may wish the anonymous neighborhood defenders who leveled the critique above had leveled it slightly differently, hey, it's an imperfect world. At least they did something, and in the absence of my own critique (which would look substantively like Ben's above) I recognize much more that I agree with in the wheatpastings than I do in the "healing center."

    I believe this tendency to decry and condemn anything done by "our side" that we as individuals don't 100% agree with in form or content is part of why "our side" sucks so much. Since I'm merely sitting on my ass typing this, I find it just as easy to say: hurrah! Hurrah for resistance, hurrah for action, hurrah for putting up a fight!

  12. Blah blah blah . . .

    The healing center is preferable to an abandoned building.

    The neighborhood has two other grocery stores within ten blocks, one that caters to yuppies in the marigny (Mardi Gras Zone) and the other that caters to poor people in the St Roch (Save a Lot).

    This is pointless and immature violence, equivalent to breaking some gallery windows and maybe set the punk club on fire. A part of the city is changing, cities change, get used to it.

    The word gentrification is one of the biggest anarchist cliches: anarchists hide behind it as an excuse not to start cooperatives, collectives, buy houses, start businesses, or anything else that might give them some control over the affairs of a city. It is a banner of justification for being useless.

  13. yeah, it's weird how anarchists don't actively seek control over the affairs of a city.

    sav-a-lot and mgz weren't built by the cynical profiteer who destroyed the st. thomas and brought wal-mart to tchoupitoulas.

    I for one would prefer an abandoned building to a police substation or a guardian angel hq

  14. Some of you people are so small and petty. Breaking goddamn trees? Ooh, tough guys.

  15. Its much easier to attack other peoples efforts than to start your own.

  16. Hopefully, you'll grow out of this childish phase. This is wrong on so many levels. Pick one and think about it just a little.

  17. well, you got it, this whole thing is posted on forums with all ya'lls info, names, where you live, etc... dumb. punks are the seed of gentrification. get mad when the cops make actions against you, they get mad when you make actions against them. it is making for a world of conflict and lack of clear communication. covert action is for people without the nuts to stand up and say what they believe in and make a clear and convincing point about it. nobody knows what you are trying to say, it is all i big mystery, made worse by this forum shit where you can say what you want and sign it anon... get back to doing things that matter, like educating prisoners and having good music show that show the youth how to have a more interesting life. breaking trees is what the 8 year olds on my block on st. roch do to fight the gentrification (even if they don't know that's what they are doing).

  18. Seriously, this has to be some of the most ill-considered and self-entitled nonsense I've ever come across in the two decades I've lived in New Orleans, which is saying a lot.

    You're not making anyone's lives better, least of all the economically disadvantaged you're purporting to champion - you're just calling attention to your own ignorance and disrespect of your entire community, rich and poor alike. Try focusing your energy on some constructive change and see if that makes things better.

    (In the meantime, you might also want to try learning the difference between "it's" and "its" if you want people to take you more seriously.)

  19. KILLING TREES/ATTACKING NATURE "IS" "THE MAN". These cruel actions do nothing for the community, nothing at all but the same old same old. What a bunch of dummies. EAU

  20. additionally: the food cooperative is OWNED by THIS community, of which I am a long term member of. And our membership is as diverse as the neighborhood the co-op will serve. Regardless of how you feel about our landlord (the Healing Center), the economic business model as well as the basic philosophy and managerial tenents the co-op abides by are anything BUT "gentrification". Educate yourselves before you wreck yourselves.

  21. and furthermore! :) the idea here that only "rich white yuppies" will want and/or need FRESH, LOCAL PRODUCE, locally made bread, local beef/pork/seafood, local soaps, local rice, local honey, all or most available in bulk - which you can bring your own containers for - at exponentially cheaper prices than Whole Foods - the argument that this good, healthy, AFFORDABLE food is only "for" rich white yuppies is RACIST. Black people need and want and deserve fresh, local food - we're bringing this store HERE for OUR FAMILIES. Sheesh, what a bunch of nonsense y'all are spreading, absolute NONSENSE

  22. Coool!! I used LOVE breaking things - when I was 5 years old!

  23. Replace the food coop with a Walmart. There's lots of cheap regular food, and it might best serve the needs of the community... Ask them...If you can figure out who is them and who is us.

  24. Does the little girl who posted the comment below even know what a food co-op is???? I belonged to one in the 80s in Berkley. Sweetie, do a little research. This is not Whole Foods or anything like a Whole Foods. This is a co-op. It's not a chain. It seems to me like most of these people are really young and have no idea what they are talking about, nor do they appear to live in the real world. It makes you want to puke? Hmmm. That's some fine rhetoric there. Young lady, do you have any idea how we have been living on this side of NOLA since Katrina? WE HAVE NO GROERY STORE. PERIOD. If you have any better idea for these people who have no cars and depend on public transportation and bikes to get groceries, please bring it on.

    "The same kind of thing happened in Boston recently: a locally-owned grocery store was bought out by a Whole Foods in an inner-city neighborhood undergoing gentrification. The fact that these high-end stores try to make themselves look all "progressive" by serving organic or vegan or whatever foods with "fair trade" labels (which is a lie; capitalism is ALWAYS unfair trade) when they are in fact causing the same social ills they claim to be solving makes me want to puke.

  25. I actually worked on the healing center project early in it's creation process, and I PERSONALLY canvassed the neighborhood in which it is located, on foot, with a questionnaire that asked the locals what their personal interests would be with regard to what the center would ultimately house. The locals, by a very large percentage, indicated that they were in fact interested in alternative health care services, as well as the co-op grocery. Those involved in this project (who weren't already part of the neighborhood) were not only very conscientious about the needs and culture of the local neighborhood, but went to great lengths to involve those who would be impacted in the planning process.
    That said, with regard to the concept of "gentrification", I think it is important to note that everything in the universe has a life cycle. Everything is in a constant process of either becoming or decaying. Even you. Even neighborhoods. As one is in a becoming phase, another has to be in a declining phase. It is simply the balanced nature of how things work. There is no way to stop this, actually, any more than there is a way to stop the aging process. So though we as humans tend to think that we spin the globe, so to speak, we are really just part of a larger organism in which this is infinitely and endlessly taking place. As such, we may participate in the becoming phase of one neighborhood through development, just as we may participate in the decline of another through neglect, or just non-involvement. Either way, there will continue to be both neighborhoods in evolution and neighborhoods in decline. Otherwise, there would be stagnation or inertia, which doesn't really happen in nature. So, though on a very small and personal scale, perhaps, it is sad for a family to find they have to move from their neighborhood because the cost of living there has risen, it is really, ultimately, an example of a natural and unavoidable dynamic of the inherent birth-growth-decline-death-rebirth dynamic of the universe we live in. And my master's degree in community level social work (with a strong bend on social justice) would further argue that what you call "gentrification" could, quite possibly, mean increased opportunities and easier access to educational services, health care services, quality food, and all the other things that actually help an economically disadvantaged community move forward and upward. Unlike anarchists who simply come and break their trees.

  26. Bravo!! F-ing Bravo!!
    "what you call "gentrification" could, quite possibly, mean increased opportunities and easier access to educational services, health care services, quality food, and all the other things that actually help an economically disadvantaged community move forward and upward. Unlike anarchists who simply come and break their trees. "

  27. And where do you see all these anarchists trekking home to? Would that be the neighborhoods of the 7th, 8th, upper 9th and Holy Cross? Why yes it would. So it seems to me that this gentrification you speak of comes down to semantics and paint.

  28. The supporters of this madness are fucking stoo-pid. Hey! listen to "anarchists" to better the community! Give me a fucking break. All you want to do is tear it down. What have you done? What would you do to bring the community together - you are fucking anarchists for chrissakes! Oh - the guy that helped create the center didn't think exactly like you so it HAS to be bad. Go home and buy all your china made goods and get your food from the giant grocery store where the real man keeps pumping you with antibiotics and artificial this and that...Yeah - that's much better. You are too stupid to see a good thing staring you in the face. Am I involved with this thing? NO. Have I been there? NO. But I know stupid when I see it. Breaking the trees. How BRAVE.

  29. I completely agree with Anonymous at September 22, 2011 6:54 AM

    However, I would argue that a local community oriented grocery isn't gentrification at all. Now, if you said there was going to be a Whole Foods there, and then they threw in a Starbucks, a few cosmetic surgeons and dentists, and a few more high chains, now THAT is gentrification.

    Improving your community in any manner will add value, and unfortunately in doing so, it will raise the value of the homes and attract others that may not be from New Orleans. Just think about how many time New Orleans has changed over the years? You can see it in its architecture, in the food, in everything! You can't stop change. The only way to keep things low would be to make in uninhabitable. Is that really that price you want all your residents to pay for little or no payoff or value?

    Personally I believe that the value was already going up, the people had already moved in and the healing center reflects a positive improvement whether it speaks to you or not. Hell, I don't eat fast food, but I don't go throwing chairs through their windows because fast food doesn't speak to me.

  30. This is pathetic. You keep deleting posts that make a point and are on topic. A co-op is not gentrification. A voodoo shop is not gentrification. A locally owned coffee shop and book shop are not gentrification. A very reasonably priced work out room is not gentrification. A low cost shared space for start up businesses in green building is not gentrification. Classes taught to the community from people in the community is not gentrification. The small business credit union is not gentrification. A locally owned space to showcase local/historical musicians is not gentrification. An art space that shows neighborhood artist's work is not gentrification.

    I'd also like to know if you have gone into the Walmart that Pres K. built and asked the people shopping there if they dislike having an inexpensive place to buy groceries for their children. Please go ask. Those people do not have the time, nor the luxury you have to talk trash about developers and post blogs- they are working 2 and 3 jobs to feed their families. Before they were held captive by corner grocery stores with overpriced food and basic necessities such as toilet paper. Toilet paper. Think about it. A human dignity that everyone should be able to afford. So, you may hate "big developers," but you do NOT know the poor and their needs- not the truly poor.

    Are you poor? Really poor? Ask the poor what they want. They want what everyone wants over here. A CLEAN, safe neighborhood.

    This is on topic: gentrification and Pres Kabakoff. Delete it and you are definitely embarrassed that you are wrong and we have proven you wrong.

  31. So many amazing and hilarious comments. Where to start???

    #1) No where does it say this was done by anarchists.
    #2) Pointing out the possible motivations based on the stickers left by the people who broke the trees is not necessarily that we agree with them 100%.
    #3) We ended the report with a question in hopes of hearing people's opinions on the Healing Center and the Food Co-Op, because obviously someone was annoyed enough to sticker their windows and break their trees. Thanks to those who've responded in that vein.

    There are reason some comments were deleted:
    -if you use ad hominem attacks against anarchists (calling us dirty, punks, out-of-towners, saying we all live in the 8th w/d, etc...).

    Let's clear something up: there are anarchists in every neighborhood of this city. The vast majority of them do not look like "gutter punks." We have various jobs, from professional careers to service industry gigs to musicians and artists.

    -if you display sexist, racist, homophobic, or classist sentiments. The majority of the problem in this area on this article has been with extreme, vile, putrid classism. Talking bad about people who are poorer you, however they got that way, is some evil shit. It's classism, and it is just as unacceptable as racism or sexism or homophobia. If you want to denigrate people for being poor or blame them for their poverty, do it somewhere else. Learn about how institutions and systems work to create certain outcomes. The outcomes you see around you are a direct result of the systems that govern us, from America's extreme form of free market capitalism to it's patriarchal and white supremacist foundations.

    Now by all means, please continue the discussion on whether the Healing Center is an example of gentrification, and if it will serve the majority of people in that neighborhood.

  32. Where did anyone talk badly about people who are poorer than them? I asked you a valid question. Have you ever been truly poor? I ask this because you appear in this blog to be speaking for the poor. Is your family poor- did you come from a truly poor family on welfare? I can tell you that I have been poor, but I also knew that I had a family I could turn to if things got really bad. These people do not. I have worked with the truly poor in NOLA for over twenty years. "Gentrification" is the least of their concerns. Feeding their children and keeping their children in a clean and safe environment is a major concern. Please refer to Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Food, love, safety. That's it. That's what the poor need. Fighting for anything else in the name of the poor is selfish- it is putting your own agenda before their needs.

  33. I deleted the comments that were classist. Please read a book or two about how the poor are created and re-produced in our society (and understand why N.O. elites are interested in continuing it -- think hotel cleaners, dishwashers, strippers, and drug dealers).

    Gentrification is a process of displacement that makes it more difficult for people to keep "Feeding their children and keeping their children in a clean and safe environment."

    Fighting gentrification is fighting against changes that make the things you say that the poor need harder to obtain.

    Now, whether the Healing Center or the NOFC are contributing to that process is what's at stake. But the process is definitely occurring in that area of the city: look at median home values in the last 5 years for the areas near there, they've all gone way up. That incentivizes rent increases on the poor by landlords who can now get more money for their rentals. It encourages people to sell their houses to people willing to pay more money than they paid for the house, increasing property values, leading to demands from a wealthier class of newcomers for more police (which will be housed in the Healing Center, BTW), for less renters, for less noise (ie- Bacchanal and other bars being shut down, etc...). Basically, for less poor people.

    Such processes, where poor renters are pushed out by artists who are pushed out by yuppies who are pushed out by the rich who are sometimes even pushed out by the global elite (think FQ houses, or NYC condos, being 2 examples of this).

    Their are tons of ways that a neighborhood could be improved in terms of services, quality of life, etc... without encouraging the engine of gentrification and displacement to start churning. These include: Community Land Trust arrangements, rent controls, covenants saying that homes bought must be owner occupied and the owner must be a first time home owner, or something saying the owner must occupy the residence as their primary home. Discouraging speculation, discouraging flipping, discouraging dislocation of people who've been in the neighborhood for long periods of time. Instead, government incentives encourage the opposite to occur.


  34. Their are plenty of ways to improve a neighborhood without gentrification being a result. The most effective, and anarchist method, would be the destruction of the sanctity of private property: the principle land/house/etc... belongs to those who use it, and communities having collective control over common areas (see: for the fallacy of the "tragedy of the commons" arguments).

    Their are certainly bigger examples of gentrification in New Orleans: the ongoing destruction of public housing (including the Iberville, which Pres Kabacoff is involved with), being the biggest. The VA/LSU center being another one. The reason the Bywater battle is so heated, I believe, is because the scale is more intimate and the pace of change less institutionalized and more incremental/ad-hoc.

    The problem is that government money, which funds or subsidizes much of re-development in New Orleans, is allocated in ways that *encourage* gentrification and displacement. It is arranged in such ways because poor people don't have lobbyists in DC or money to fund Mayor Landrieu's next campaign, but developers do, so therefore money gets channeled into projects that will be the most *privately profitable* instead of the most community stabilizing and improvement-creating for the people who already live in an area. Pres took advantage of this when he got millions of dollars to build the Healing Center. The Healing Center is not the main driver of gentrification in the St. Claude corridor/Bywater/Marigny, but it certainly pushes that process along further, in my opinion.

    Now, the Food Co-Op is merely a tenant of the Healing Center, and, having had plenty of nasty landlords in my life, recognize that you don't always get to choose your landlord. But businesses, especially ones proclaiming some type of socially responsible angle, do have a responsibility to understand the social and economic dynamics of where they locate and figure out if they are going to be part of improving the neighborhood, or gentrifying it.

    Here's some places to maybe start understanding gentrification at a more systematic level:

  35. I am glad this conversation is finally happening, even at the cost of a few trees.

    The Co-op might be the best thing in the world, but what I'm concerned about is that Pres Kabacoff is using it and the rest of the stuff in the Center as COVER for the NOPD substation and the racist violent paramilitary wacko Guardian Angels that he is bringing in.

    Those two groups-- NOPD and Guardian Angels-- emphatically make the neighborhood more dangerous for the poor, and for people of color.

    I maintain that Kabacoff's agenda is to "pacify" and "clean up" aka sanitize and whitewash the neighborhood... forcing out all the visible poor folks and all those who disagree with him. See for instance Kabacoff's treatment of longtime neighbors who objected to noise and lights--- he threatened to have them evicted!

    The Healing Center is ground zero for the attacks by the rich on downtown culture that we've seen manifested in multiple ways the last year or two particularly. It is a heinous and UN-HEALING fortress of violence against the poor and the noncomforming.

  36. gentrification is a cycle, it's not something you can argue is good or bad -- no more than the passing of the seasons. the basic cycle:

    - place is good.
    - people leave place.
    - place gets run down.
    - place gets bad.
    - place gets cheap.
    - people come to place.
    - people gets fixed up.
    - place gets good.
    - place gets more expensive.
    - people leave place.

    ...repeat. this is the cycle. it happens over and over, because that's life. you cant stop it, and you cant force it.

    case in point: the Marigny and Treme were originally suburbs of the Quarter, and they were quite nice, many well-off residents. later they were (white) blue collar. they only became working-poor black neighborhoods in recent history. so when you say you want to go back "historically" -- which period in history do you choose? you cant! it's a cycle.

  37. It is kind of a moot point. Anyone who can not afford overprices tomatoes or can pay for a gym with no showers and no classes except by the folks above them who will be charging a hefty penny is probably no longer living in the Marigny/ Bywater unless they were lucky enough to purchase a house pre-K when prices where a bit better and before the hipster trust-fund baby yuppie invasion. No working folks allowed.

    Yeah.. I lived in the Bywater before Katrina in a 450 USD apartment. Now, that same place goes for 1100 USD. With the addition of the Desire streetcar project, you will see the gentrification spread to St. Roch area too. Maybe in 20 years when the yuppies tear the place up and no one wants to live there, artsy and working folks can move back... but overpriced and upscale trendy is here and will be in that area for a loooong time. Protests, notwithstanding.

  38. the healing center is a sham

  39. I will not bother to comment on your "gentrification is a cycle" presentation, but if you are attempting to school people on history, and "what happened 'historically'", please first learn your history.

    The faubourg Treme was initially, in actuality, a former textile complex, which became the FIRST neighborhood where "free people of color," as well as whites/Creoles/etc, could easily and legitimately locate housing. You are talking about the birthplace of the second line, and of the jazz funeral - for crying out loud, you display your carpetbagging ignorance of the "history" you are attempting to lecture on when you suggest that "white blue collar workers" may have been solely behind the origins of these and other strictly New Orleanian traditions.

    Maybe I am a "regionalist," or something, but I don't think so - I appreciate many, many different geographical places and the cultures inherent - I just FUCKING HATE when people move to MY city and try to tell everyone else what is going on, or what has been going on. Don't fucking tell me, or anyone else, about history, when you are wholly ignorant of it - I'm from here and have been studying New Orleans' history since elementary school. Get a clue.

    And, by the way, I recant my opening statement - I *will* comment on your "gentrification is a cycle" proposition - gentrification IS bad, in nearly every case, HISTORICALLY, for the people who HISTORICALLY have lived in the areas in question. I will be more than happy to learn of any examples where the opposite has been true.

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