Sunday, March 26, 2006
(click on image to enlarge that jellow map of....hmmm...what IS that a map of?)
My friend Piltdown Man (http://piltdownman.blogspot.com/)was complaing about how the little neighbourhoods in New Orleans were wiped out...that they have now lost so much. The small neighbourhoods which created NOLA Jazz, crab gumbo, blackened catfish... There are blogs from people ( http://slimbolala.blogspot.com/) who are IN New Orleans, and their attutude is a little different! Most seem to feel that some of the slums which got wiped out are better off gone. That possibly (horrible thought coming...brace yourself...) that people really didn't want to live there. And that possibly the fine jazz and good food had been replaced by gangsta violence, methamphetamine and crack use, and a crushing poverty.
He felt that the suburbs were soul-less, gasoline hungry carbon copy environments. Hard to argue with that. And gosh knows...when the great gasoline crunch comes, the suburbs will be mighty expensive places to raise your kids! I have always loved the idea of small neighbourhoods, villages in the big city so to speak. I have watched them change character over the years...usually they seem to go upward, but occasionally a nice little neighbourhood goes to hell in a handbasket. Below is the comment I put on Pilt's blog....
There is a perception that any nice little neighbourhood will turn into an isolated devalued introspective ghetto with little warning. Example...I watched a 9th ward resident complaining bitterly about how "those unemployed Vietnamese were coming in, cooking their fish heads and taking jobs away from po blacks." A telling example! So, people move the suburbs where housing prices are always on an upward curve, and it never becomes ghettoized. Example, Toronto's Chinatown. Example, Ottawa's Marconi road (the Italian Quarter if you will). People growing up in these tight little communities don't think of them as particularly dynamic...they think of them as restrictive, insular, run by moustache Pete's and old women who cook cabbage all day. Next thing you know, a couple of Pathans have moved in next door, and its "T'hell wit dis, Marta, we're going to the suburbs. Nice thing about the 'burbs is that it is always the same...you don't get a bunch of "those people" moving in to threaten your daughters. You have a nice yard, a dog, 2.5 children, and the local shopping mall which will act as a surrogate village to raise your kids. How you gonna turn that around?
Thats a fair and valid question. How DO you turn it around? How do you bring the jazz and the blackened catfish back to a neighbourhood full of MacDonalds and Walmarts?