Crime is Real Estate
Our podcasts are even better when old friends join in. This last podcast we had our boy, Larron, One Block Over Slim, weigh in on a few topics. The big shocker from him was that he is not a big seafood lover. How is someone from Louisiana not a seafood lover? Tideking doesn’t count because he has lived in every geographical location in this country until 1990. But here is what else we learned:
1. Julius Randle of the New York Knicks is a legit MVP candidate.
2. In today’s music scene, we will not remember the songs from today in 5 years.
3. We all need a She She’s & Shit account.
4. The New York Yankees’ April struggles are too early to get worried about.
5. New Orleans East is so bad right now they call it East-ghanistan.
6. Growing up in New Orleans, Bunny Bread was a mandatory field trip.
If season 3 of the Wire taught us anything is that crime is real estate. For those of who still haven’t seen it, I won’t spoil it for you. For those who have, I will just say that Hamsterdam will always blow up in your face. America was a Hamsterdam that the British didn’t see coming. Of course, Great Britain! Let’s get rid of our religious heretics, criminals, and our poor! Most of the criminals and the poor came to the New World as indentured servants. They were allowed to work for a Lord for a certain amount of time until they were free from their charge.
Only problem with this was that England let these people gain their freedom in one of the most resourceful places in the world at the time. American agriculture was and still is the King export in all of the world. This indentured servitude system went on for centuries until finally these descendants of this system, who have now grown up in the freedom that was gained by their ancestors, start questioning why they are paying taxes to a monarchy that has no real presence in this country.
This is how “no taxation without representation” came about and spawned the Boston Tea Party which led to the Revolutionary War. England tried to get rid of their criminals, poor, and heretics not realizing their descendants would come back to bite them in the ass. The religions that were scrutinized in Europe at that time, prospered in America and are some the most influential forms of worship today. The poor literally grew rich, and criminals birthed empires that produced generational wealth.
Which brings us to New Orleans East, by the late 80s and 90s, the East had one of the largest black middle classes in the country. The East was one of the most resourceful places in the city, that people all over town came there for their shopping needs. Fuck Canal Street, Fuck Magazine! We had the only Walmart in town. Fuck the French Market! We the Plaza Mall. 80% of the households living in the East during this time were actual homeowners.
When Hurricane Katrina hit, I just knew my neighborhood would bounce back. Yet the writing was on the wall that it would fall to the waist side when I saw Alden McDonald, President & CEO of Liberty Bank, one of a handful of black owned banks in the country, get irate at a city meeting to discuss plans on bringing back New Orleans. He was dumbfounded on why nowhere in the plans was there an agenda to bring back the East.
As we saw in the coming months and years, many of the housing projects were torn down. Insurance companies short changed homeowners and business owners on costs to repair their establishments. Businesses couldn’t reopen, or some just took their money and moved on from the city altogether. Ultimately, most homes and apartments became Section 8 housing.
Yet again, another hierarchy thought by getting rid of their crime ridden and poor neighborhoods, all would be well. Crime in the East is the worst its ever ben since Katrina. Some have given it the nickname of East-ghanistan. The surprise escalation has been crime in the French Quarter. When we were growing up, all they told us was to watch out for pickpockets and con artists. Now several times a year, you’ll hear about a senseless shooting there.
The notion of Hamsterdam on the Wire changed how I see city planning. Places like Austin, Texas and Denver, Colorado are seeing a boom in their population.I’ve read the stories of how they “cleaned up” their troubled areas and I can only anticipate how this will hurt them in the long run.What metaphorical bite in the ass awaits them?It’s almost as if there is a willing ignorance to not know your history.As the old saying goes, those who do not know their history are only doomed to repeat it.