5 years

Hey New Orleans, where can workers picnic?

Why, 9 years after the levee breaks, is the free & public beach on Lake Ponchatrain still closed? I hear all the time about the progress we've made post-Katrina; it seems to me the only progress that's worth anything to the media & the general public at large is the kind that benefits rich people. 

That beach was the only place in New Orleans where families, lovers, pals, pets could hang out in the sand and kindof cruddy water on a summer's day or night. Lots of fishers, bbq'ers, kids and radios, laughing, staring out at the sailboats. There was shade and shells and sunsets. I loved it cuz it was the opposite of Audubon Park - there were all kinds of people, people of color, and food and rowdy and fun. Folks kissing under trees and men fishing for supper. 

I drove out there today, hoping for some change. The fences, stanchions and locks remain. On the other side of all that authority, the grass is trimmed, the trees are loving, the water laps at the quietness and I miss what used to be. 

So we've got an endless crop of small plates restaurants, artisan doughnut shops and even a storefront where you can lay in a chair & get plugged to an iv to "rehydrate" with precious electrolytes to "recharge" after a late night at the funky dive bars or from a long work week. There's more grocery stores than there have been for a long time: a new "co-op" nobody in the neighborhood can afford to shop at, a new Whole Foods nobody in the neighborhood can afford to shop at, and so on. The rents have skyrocketed and wages haven't. My neighborhood has become achingly hip, flooded with white people in sharp clothes who don't say hello. And the protests to gentrification are comprised of hysterical zealots who think tearing down trees and dumping trash in rich people's front yards is an effective form of protest. And still, we can't swim in the lake. 




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