Why Gentrification is Especially Bad for New Orleans

And how that is terrible for Louisiana

By Jeff Thomas

Gentrification threatens tourism in New Orleans more than shootings on Bourbon Street. 

As the primary economic engine of not just New Orleans, but the entire state of Louisiana, tourism is normally politically protected at all costs.  The recent decision by voters to delay suddenly-sharply-rising property taxes is a step in the right direction, but much more is urgently needed lest New Orleans tourism morphs into a regional, rather than an international, draw.

Make no mistake about it:  New Orleans tourism, though unspoken, is largely Afrocentric.  In fact, the culture of the African American community is the key ingredient in our tourism gumbo.  People come to The Bowl for music, food, architecture and joie de vivre.  None of these exist without the contributions of African Americans.  Gentrification threatens this reality.

Olympians 2nd Line Crew

Cultural Erosion

Local leaders have tried unsuccessfully to convince national leaders that coastal erosion in Louisiana is a threat to national interests.  The loss of seafood production and the threat to oil and gas interests are brushed aside in Washington, D.C., as trivial, replaceable assets the national economy can easily absorb. But as gentrification pushes less-resourced people from inner-city neighborhoods, the future of the city we all love is seriously imperiled. Unlike Louisiana’s relative unimportance nationally, New Orleans’ success is critical to Louisiana. 

Every time a newcomer displaces a native, the whole Jenga structure becomes less stable.

From a distance, all might seem good when a more-resource rich transplant migrates in to town. Nevertheless, one need only look behind the mask of in-migration statistics to understand the precariousness of the impending doom.  Political strategy and long-term planning are essential to prevent catastrophic cultural erosion.  The destruction of our city’s cultural foundations – think second line clubs and brass bands – of tourist dollars can be prevented with smart legislation, based on sound and fair economic principles.

 Other cities, with far less important and influential cultural communities, have enacted safeguards to protect their own cultural assets.  A look at Seattle provides a glimpse of how we can protect our tourism industry, our city and our state.  That city has developed an Equitable Development Framework  which guides how the city prioritizes its work; shapes its budgets, policies, programs and investments; and structures the implementation of targeted strategies and equitable development projects by using clear objectives for reducing disparities and achieving equitable outcomes for marginalized populations.

Equity Drivers

  • Advance economic opportunity. Promote economic opportunities for marginalized populations and enhance community cultural anchors. Provide access to quality education, training and living-wage career paths.
  • Prevent residential, commercial, and cultural displacement. Enact policies and programs that allow marginalized populations, businesses and community organizations to stay in their neighborhoods.
  • Build on local cultural assets. Respect local community character, cultural diversity and values. Preserve and strengthen cultural communities and build the capacity of their leaders, organizations and coalitions to enjoy greater self-determination.
  • Promote transportation mobility and connectivity. Prioritize investment in effective and affordable transportation which supports transit-dependent communities.
  • Develop healthy and safe neighborhoods. Create neighborhoods that enhance community health through access to public amenities; provide healthy, affordable and culturally-relevant food; and safe environments for everyone.
  • Enable equitable access to all neighborhoods. Leverage private developments to fill gaps in amenities; expand the supply and variety of housing and employment choices; and create equitable access to neighborhoods which offer high access to opportunity.

The consequences of doing nothing are potentially calamitous.  As horrific and petrifying as a shooting on Bourbon Street is, the long-term effects of cultural erosion caused by gentrification are not offset by increased property tax collection. In fact, cultural erosion forebodes doom as the New Orleans which tourists seek out, no longer exists. Instead, NOLA will become more like Savannah: Nice place, but it’s no New Orleans. Without a protected and empowered black community in The Bowl, we might not be here no more.


A Savannah Trolley vs a New Orleans Street Car

15 thoughts on “Why Gentrification is Especially Bad for New Orleans

  • February 10, 2019 at 9:52 pm
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    How can you stop property values from rising naturally?

    Reply
    • February 11, 2019 at 7:10 pm
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      The consensus answer is that you can’t, and that a community can only apply bandaids, such as special tax exemptions based on age or income, or provide “incentives” for the inclusion of affordable units in new multi-family structures. Such fatalism is based on the mistaken notion that it’s all a function of supply and demand. But this consensus is wrong, for much of this generated by speculation, external investment syndicates, investment oligopolies, and also by the prevailing ethos that everyone deserves a right to strike it rich with real estate investments, no matter how passive the investment might be.
      What we need is a shelter first approach, property taxes that include both homestead exemptions not connected to state government and circuit breakers tied to several tiers of income. Adopting a Georgist approach, such as that in Fairhope, AL, where land is leased, not owned, and where increased land “value” accrues to the community and not private investors, is also a useful option.

      Reply
  • February 11, 2019 at 7:20 am
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    Why are you pimping my city with this nonsensical approach? You’ve lost economic support from business and you think Seattle has the answers? Seattle is struggling to incorporate cultural diversity that New Orleans successfully addressed during my generation. Long ago, neighborhood differences were resolved and the city was holding onto its economic base through the business community’s input. It was a win-win for a community with a good educational system that was having trouble competing nationally. Business took on the challenge, despite waning port support. Tourism is built on more cultural diversity than you’re recognizing and cities need an economic base without prostituting their populations. Check your history regarding transportation, healthy and safe neighborhoods, and citizen self-determination built into community goals. Beware a society built on “bread and circus”.

    Reply
  • February 11, 2019 at 4:12 pm
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    Rising property values, in many instances, have NO value at all! Particu;larly for those indigenous people who plan on staying in New Orleans. In fact, there is an adverse affect: increased property taxes and insurance premiums, forcing people out of their homes. Something must be done to grandfather in the indigenous people who have been fixtures in this community.

    Reply
  • February 11, 2019 at 7:12 pm
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    And let’s decide not to call it “gentrification,” which makes it sound like good folks are simply taking the place of not-so-good folks. It’s displacement.

    Reply
    • February 13, 2019 at 11:57 am
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      TADA !! YOU NAILED IT ! and many will sell out their city and people and follow a
      pied piper who Beguiles politicians,,, Because there special color is “green”.
      Natural Cultural Progression with time is what works, but when others come along
      with charlatan illusions they scheme with their schemes to get your family stuff and
      send you packing and then sell it under another scheme allowed by politicians with lots
      of word schemes and before you know it, Your under a bridge covered with a refrigerator
      box.

      Reply
  • February 12, 2019 at 2:02 pm
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    Bro.Jeff ” 504″ Thomas, your assessment & critique on the Gentrification impacting New Orleans is extremely well researched & articulated ! From my perspective many of the new arrivals are primarily interested in gobbling up the existing housings is because when compared to housing cost are fairly inexpensive comparing the housing markets these new comers came from cities where the housing cost are much more expensive! Thus displaced many Black Families, who are really the cultural creators…we are the driving engines of New Orleans cultural scene! Our cultural contributions is reason why people come from the four corners of the earth to observe, participate in this unique experience. Which does exist any where else in the country! When you travel around the country you see different cities trying to duplicate aspects of New Orleans African based cultural contributions to this city!!!

    Reply
  • March 6, 2019 at 10:16 am
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    New Orleans the De Facto “Sharecropper”?

    LBRC- New Orleans, majority Black, is a 2019 Louisiana Sharecropper! Tax Base? 

    1. What is a Sharecropper? https://www​.vocabulary.com/- A sharecropper is a tenant farmer (Citizen), someone who works land that’s rented from its owner. The word sharecropper, an American invention from the 1880s, comes from the fact that these farmers would share their crops in return for the use of the land./end/ *Addendum- The above aforementioned is a “Politically Correct” and “Sanitized” version of one of the most despicable and racist Southern Practices ever perpetuated on newly freed Black enslaved peoples! We know the story and are obligated to tell real stories and pass them on thru generations, especially to miseducated Black Youth!

    2. “Keep this Real”. The Black NOLA Political Class controls very little and is willing to do even less! Their betrayals with respect to the indigenous Black population, NOLA’s so- called Bourgeois Class and “Old Heads” have “Trickled Down” everything except results! If what they deliver was a smell test, a Skunk would complain and flee!!!

    3. The Case as Sharecropping? NOLA’s schools are funded via mills and MFP Tax Dollars. De Facto? Who administers and controls tax dollars? What is the “Product” aka results?

    a. There are over 26k so- called “Opportunity Youth” in NOLA and growing? Who are these adolescents/teenagers, 99.999% Black! Opportunity Youth are the precipitate of the NOLA RSD. What is the RSD/Recovery School Dist.? The RSD was formed during Hurricane Katrina while hundreds of thousands were displaced from their homes. The RSD fired over 7000 Black Teachers, Support Staff en masse and replaced them with TFA/Teach For America primarily. Since, the RSD amended school passing standards and turned students into commodities aka “Experimental Corporate Pawns” aka so- called Stakeholders! So- called “Big Negro Legislators” served as ‘Massa’s “Tips of Spears”  

    b. Newly elected Mayor Cantrell says- “Hold up, wait a minute”! What happened to our lost “Penny”? Why is it ‘Dat we only receive 7% of 100% of what we we generate? Parishes adjacent, contiguous, incongruous with Orleans are the beneficiaries of Tax Dollars generated in “Majority Black” Orleans? yada…, 

    4. Majority Black New Orleans is a 2019 De Facto Neo “Share Cropper”!

    a. The Tourist Industry is flush with cash! Who Benefits? Is it the underpaid Service Industry indigenous population? Now LOL! Who controls the Blue Ribbon Boards and Commissions? 

    b. Everybody ‘luvs The Saints Team! Who controls The SuperDome Commission? It’s Chair is from which Parish? Hint, hint- Was Tim Coulon? 

    5. Drive around NOLA. Where do you see resources invested? Hint? Stevie Wonder couldn’t believe ‘Dat in 2019, all these Negro Politicos deliver what return on Taxes? 

    6. In 2019, NOLA is an 1800’s version of “Sharecropping 2.0”! 

    a. Black Sharecroppers worked the land, no less De Facto Slaves. What’s different in 2019?

    b. Sharecroppers invested labor and time and were  accessed loans and fees plus ‘Massa’s  “Miscellaneous” concocted fees. What’s different in 2019?

    c. NOLA’s infrastructure is crumbling as fast as a “Slave Hut” after the KKK heard an uppity Negro lived there!

    7. This is not “GasLighting” NOLA! You are a 2019 Sharecropper!!! Respectfully, your Negro Politicos are proven overseers and this is what you elect! Hotep aka Peace Out…

    Reply
  • March 25, 2019 at 11:02 am
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    LBRC- Did you miss “Natural Selection” in High School? The “De Facto” 2019 Jim Crow Era? The Skinny?

    1. “Natural Selection”, despicable education outcomes in Prison Pipeline Schools, 13th Amendment Prison Slaves and yada…?

    a. Reproduction is Sexual and Asexual! Males and Females generally produce sexually. The roles of males and females are as distinct as their sexes in The Animal Kingdom.  3rd Grade Science says? Natural Selection- “It’s The Decider” and “Final Arbiter” about Gene Polls ‘Dat will survive! 

    b. “Natural Selection” chooses the best DNA, Darwin, worthy of survival! Who’s more fit?

    2. In 2019, “Education is Paramount”! In this “Highly Technical Age”- Shucking, Jiving and The Raw Hustle is as outdated as Wooden Catapults! Mothers raising boys minus the input of males, mean what to Natural Selection (Anecdotally, always exceptions)? Are Thieves, Burglars, Robbers, Murderers and your common criminals defying Natural Selection Processes? Can they reproduce “Asexually”? In prison?

    3. The Dominant Society has control of the penal system, initially to end! Darwin talked about “The Stupidity of Species” while examining “Mating Practices”! He said, “Natural Selection” selects out for “Stupid” even via DNA. He mentioned a Species called the “F#*^tard. This Species rolled down mountains and slammed into the Genitalia of male mates, eventually becoming extinct.- 

    a. A term for Darwin’s theory, which is a nice way of saying, that a Dutch Fokken was too stupid to live. 

    1. The main process behind evolution, as stated by Charles Darwin. also known as “Survival of the Fittest”. Those with superior traits are likely to pass their genes to the next generation. 

    b.. This is how life on Earth has progressed for eons, driven by instincts encoded into the DNA of all living things. 

    4. In Racist, Jim Crow Societies, man seeks to intervene via “Unnatural Selection” in defiance of natural DNA Encoding. Despite these unnatural procedures and complicit “institutions”, Black Achievement seemingly invisible in Dominant Culture and mainstream media has not been vanquished. Despite disparities in households monetary/other, Institutional Racism, Genocide and on, a significant population of Blacks “Still Rise”- not your common thieves, murderers, burglars or Criminal Class, no matter perception media fosters! Despite police slaughters in 2019, “All” are not conquered yet!

    5. Scientist commonly embrace rational aspects of Natural Selection data driven.

    6. A Spiritual Twist?

    a. “A Fool and his money shall soon part”!/Proverbs. A Fool and his life as well! Who regards Prison Life as living? A 13th Amendment Slave?

    b. Who justifies stealing, murdering, ignorance, Poor Educations? A Fool? Those unwilling to learn despises those who can and do? Hint: Legitimate access to survive portends sustainability! In a system designed to destroy you, play into it? Stupid DNA?

    7. Extrapolation: a. Natural Selection will “Select Out for Fools” via DNA b. The 13th Amendment, Racism and The Prison Industrial Complex will “Separate Out” for Thieves, Murderers, indecency, Common Criminals (Unfortunately, some of whom are innocent)! Scientifically/Spiritually, Fools grow into extinct! Fools move to extinction via  unnatural interventions too! Enlightened Blacks must avoid Fools, lest their DNA become extinct! Grandma- “There is a lid for every pot”! Some lids are warped! Choose well! Peace…

    Reply
  • June 1, 2019 at 7:46 am
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    What is “Black Bottom”?

    LBRC- NOLA is on The Way to Detroit’s “Black Bottom”! Black Bottom? How did you get there NOLA? Go here>>>

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=iSVgOCiT93Y

    1. The Chrysler Freeway did to “Black Detroit Wall Street” what civilian and police bombs did to “Black Wall Street” in Tulsa. Note: The so- called “Native American” Racist Community, a mixed breed of Caucasion, led the charge. (Damaged Negroes to this day proudly proclaim “their” ancestry! Go figure).

    2. In NOLA, the I- 10 Freeway again demonstrated this Racist Paradigm. How does this happen in a majority Negro City with Negro Politicians manning critical positions? 1 Word- The Negro Politico ‘Stuntin “Coon”! In 2019, Past is Present! 

    3. Think The NOLA “ENTERGY MONOPLY” again! How in the Dickens does ENTERGY have more clout than voters and get 11%? How did “The Circle Food Store”, once in a chain of “NOLA’s Black Entrepaneur Class”, get handed on a platter for pennies on the dollar without Negro Politicos knowing? Advertised!!! Councilperson is?  Further- 

    a. What could have been done and what  “Urban Funding” and support could’ve been invoked to save this history? Where was the effort by your Political Cons? Now think Pyrtania uptown! NOLA Negro voters are not only “Echo Chambers” for outside moneyed interest, but they vote against their best interest no less than #45’s Racist Base, less than 45%, but control the “Senate” and De Facto your Cowardly Lion and easily intimated “House”! All rhetoric “No” action! “Saber Rattling” Infinitum! 

    b. How disrespectful, clueless and void of Black Economic History sell- out Negro Politicos, totally unresponsive to those who elected them? When have you seen these shams touring the district accessing needs? You get Facebook and worthless emails aka “Propaganda”, plus Negro Echo Chambers who get off on feeling important because “Coons” return their calls, sometimes, to stroke their poor self esteem!

    4. How does a 40% Black Youth unemployment rate persist (No Legacy Funding to Address!) in a city where “Negro” profits are akin to Sharecroppers? chief tells NOE to wait while the Caucasion Controlled Business Dist. and Racist French Quarter (Killed Levon and arrest children of Negro Police Officers) is flush with protection! When the next Katrina hits? What you’ll get from Politicos are Football Coma Analogies! “Where’s The Beef” for the unemployed, who you know lack funds to eventually return, so poorly educated, their chances of surviving outside of ‘Ignant NOLA is zero to under? More than likely under a bridge! 

    5. Just visit NOLA and look! Negro Politicos bend over for Filthy Lucre, then brag about membership to “Majority Caucasion Control Groupings” and so- called Professional Interest! This impresses the ‘Simps!

    6. Like Detroit, Chicago and nearly every Negro Majority population, control is Filthy Lucre! Your politicos sell you out and they worship entities “Gentrify” where Negroes once thrived! Negro politicos “control” Zoning! Voting/non voting ‘Simps are clueless!  

    7. Here’s the “Ultimate” test-

    a. Once most Negro Politicos assume office? Does where Negroes live thrive or diminish? NOE in NOLA once thrived! What happened when Negro Coons took charge? They tax, Proposition (Single Ballot Issue) for The Zoo and City Park Golf Ranges plus assume debts and “Fees” (Taxpayer Funds)! Negroes  are pounded harder than ever with fees, less population! Lots of cages at the Zoo, maybe…? 

    b. How is stupidity fixed? Gifted young “Blacks” are on the horizon! It’ll take some time!

    Reply
  • July 3, 2019 at 8:31 am
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    Who is “Determining” What’s Gold in NOLA?

    LBRC- Reading The Advocate, Wed. July 3/ (Anderson and Vargas), Goes to The Heart of Why NOE and the NOLA Citywide Majority Population has “NO” Advocate/Pun intended, for their “Golden” Existance!!! 

    Re: Writers Vargas and Anderson are “Advocating”, but for Who and What? 

    1. Your Government and so- called NOLA Mainstream Media is Upside Down! How so? Who is challenging this? Where is the Push Back, especially Politicos who control “Your” “Tax Dollars” and monies generated via “Fees”? 

    a. NOE, New Orleans East, is New Orleans’ “Largest” Land Mass. It could exist on its own as a “Major” Louisiana City! Why do “Elected” Representatives sit on their duff and allow New Orleans Advocate writers, to “Designate” what’s “Golden” in NOLA? 

    b. NOE hardly gets returns on its “Decades” of investments in “Tax Dollars” and “Fees”? When asked on WBOK Radio about “Sub Stations” commensurate with The NOE Land Mass, Chief said, “I wish I had the resources” aka “WAIT”! Whose advocating for NOE? Is this all about “Brainless Voting” in NOE? We just ‘Sayin…, WTF aka Who’s Thinking For…?

    2. To the heart of the (C)rap? Citizen Tax Payers are “Standing Tax Payers”, non “Transient”! Lots of “Foreign Dialets” manning Quarter Profits! #45 says this is a “Warped” Paridigm, right? Citizens paved “Streets” and gifted “Amendities” to the French Quarters, including “Buck Dancers, Taps, and 2nd Lines! Track and Cease Citizen Taxes to any French Quarter business or infrastructures to include but not limited to streets, police, garbage Subsidity, ad valorem taxes and yada…! Let’s see autonomy with respect to extricating “Public Dollars” entirely from The Quarter!

    a. Citizen dupes are so accustomed to “Brainlessly” accepting “Ruling Minority Business Narratives”, they never or hardly ever reject hidden “Agendas driving non “Critical Thinkers” (Most not all, as always a Standing 7- 10% are never Silent and “Consistently Challenge “The Status Quo” and their “Lemmings)! Most sit on their duffs and say nothing “Publically”, especially your Politicos! 

    b. What happens when the “Minority Ruling Moneyed Class” in NOLA controls and set priorities, as effective as “Propaganda”, Lemmings and their ilk follow and promote issues against their own! Who doesn’t promote their own interest other than one who is “Void” of “Self Worth”! Sounds familiar? Who “Hates” their own worth? “Are You Gold”? Advocate writers say, “The French Quarter” is where the “Gold” is? Read it “You” decide!

    3. Where is the “Push Back” from those claiming to “Represent” NOE interest, who determine how “Measures” of “Public Dollars” are spent and where? 

    4. An “Alternative” Newsflash?

    a. Sure, The Quarter assesses additional fees for garbage and Police, however- These amount to “Subsidizes” with respect to “Public Dollar” input! Take Garbage- They get “more” pick ups, garbage generated by for “Profit Businesses”! They have additional resources via “Profits”! Which “Population” generates the “Profits” and “Control” who gets in The Quarter to do business? Major Riley, any questions? 

    5. Thought Experiment?  Tire Companies are “For Profit” and generate the same? 

    a. Why are citizens compelled to pay an “Additional” fee to “Dispose of” what Tire Companies Generated “For Profit”? Toxic Rubber Products infused with poison! WTF, Whose the fool? Thank your Politicos! “You” wonder why they ignore you and rip off your “Tax” Dollars like bullies rip off lunch money on Elementary School Yards? 

    b. The “TAPFEODAF” paridigm? Throw a party for ’em or declare a Festival! They just can’t wait to “Buck Dance”, right? This is how “They” cope, right? Majority NOLA is where the Gold is mined, just like De Beers generated Diamonds in South Africa while  the indigenous population dwelled in “Shanties”! You are “African”- American NOE! Mary, Joseph and Marta Caroli! 
    Solution? “Advocate” for “You”!!!
    Peace Out…

    Reply
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  • July 16, 2019 at 4:53 pm
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    New Orleans culture is a mixture of influences from all the people that have settled it. It’s not a black culture and blacks are not it’s culture creators, but are culture contributors just as the whites that have settled the area since 1718 and beyond. Without the white element, New Orleans culture wouldn’t exist as it does as it’s a mixed, multicultural culture. It’s not a black culture.

    Whites brought Mardi Gras and it’s parades, king cakes and masquerade balls, distinct architecture, drinking culture, the Fleur de lis symbol we all flaunt, the crawfish boils we attend, several different food dishes and culinary influences, the very Catholicism that the Saints football team took their name from and that of which the celebration of Mardi Gras was spawned from and much more. And it was not just the whites of French and Spanish ancestry in colonial Louisiana also, but later waves of other whites such as incoming southerners at the beginning of US statehood, German, Irish and Italian immigrants during the 1800’s. I mean we wouldn’t have muffulettas, baked macaroni and stuffed peppers without the Italians. Two brothers of Cajun ancestry (Martin brothers) invented the Poboy! The Irish even impacted the New Orleans dialect…earl for oil, berl for boil etc…yeah, that’s from the Irish.

    Remember, New Orleans was still majority white before 1980 and it’s only been recent that an incoming wave of blacks from outside of greater New Orleans combined with the small 31% black population of the city replaced most of the local whites who fled to the suburbs to create a majority black city, since 1980. So the white cultural influence in New Orleans culture is present because of this history and is great, do not discount it because local whites have dwindled to small numbers, mainly uptown, mid city and Lakeview.

    New Orleans is always changing and evolving. There were no poboys and muffulettas or jazz and second lines in 1750. New Orleans is always evolving and will continue to do so with the new white residents moving into the city, they will add to the culture just as those before them, white or black. New Orleans culture is multicultural, it’s not white or black. It’s a mixture and belongs to all in the greater New Orleans area, including its suburbs. The culture of New Orleans and it’s suburbs has not finished evolving and will continue no matter how bad some want to freeze it in time.

    Reply

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