Sunday, March 9, 2014

Embrace the Blight: Just Say No to "Brooklyn South"

Experiencing New Orleans With Fresh Eyes and Ears
By Lizzy Goodman, New York Times

"...If Delaney Martin, a co-founder of the community arts organization New Orleans Airlift, had her way, every newcomer interested in New Orleans would participate in the kind of tour she took me on: one less about which stores and restaurants and galleries to visit and more about how to explore the city by 'respectfully engaging' with what she, and so many of her peers feel makes it special. 'It’s the last bastion of living, breathing contemporary street culture and you don’t get it anywhere else in America...'”

...“This place has a way of drawing you in, but it’s not for everybody — it can chew you up and spit you out,” Mr. Shepherd mused. Ms. Martin nodded. “No one should have the illusion that New Orleans is some safe nice place for kids just out of college to move, because it’s not,” she said.

That edge is part of the city’s armor against being transformed into a cultural theme park. Mr. Ebert said he worries his adopted home will be pegged as “Brooklyn south” and become overrun by bright-eyed strivers looking for a new source of authenticity to co-opt. But he’s reassured by the city’s fundamental seediness. “It’s just a little too poor and a little too hot and a little too messy and a little too unkempt for the style to win out,” he said.  More >>