Blight or Might?

neigh·bor [ney-ber]

noun

1.

a person who lives near another.
2.

a person or thing that is near another.
3.

one’s fellow human being: to be generous toward one’s less fortunate neighbors.
4.

a person who shows kindliness or helpfulness toward his or her fellow humans: to be a neighbor to someone in distress.
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This is a story about  Kweku Nyaawie’s  house, his neighbors and what happened when he became physically unable to complete the restoration of his house at 616 Port Street in the Marigny.  It’s a story with details that deserve to be read so I’m going to link to the story on NOLA Slate and I hope you’ll click over and read it. Long story short: Ku was restoring a shotgun he bought shortly after Katrina. He became  involved in the community including the Community Garden Project in Treme. Then he was involved in an accident in 2010 that left him unable to walk and resulted in his having to have physical therapy in Texas. Recently, he received a letter from the city summoning him to a blight hearing  as a result of complaints by neighbors. Neighbors who most likely knew of his accident and the circumstances of why the restoration was on hold. He was given a list of things that had to be fixed or he would be levied a $500.00 a day fine. Personally, I find it interesting that he received a blight notice so quickly when other people in the city have lived next to blighted property since the storm with absolutely no response from the city to their repeated complaints.
Enter other neighbors into this story. Neighbors who know the true meaning of the word:  “a person who shows kindliness or helpfulness toward his or her fellow humans: to be a neighbor to someone in distress.”
On Martin Luther King Day a group of neighbors (physical neighbors and metaphorical neighbors) came together to help Ku with the to-do list mandated by the city. It’s my understanding much was accomplished but, as of this writing, supplies and money have run out. Fund raising is being discussed to raise the money  to complete the project and I will let you know when I hear more on that.
Meanwhile, please read the complete story and ‘Like” Ku’s House on FaceBook. If you’re unable to help physically or monetarily then please show your support on the FaceBook page. Let Ku know we support him.

Guest Blogger Dawn (aka FQP) on anarchist posters in the FQ

Recently a friend posted some photos she’d taken of several placards recently posted in the French Quarter/Marigny area. A conversation ensued and I asked her to write up something about her opinion of the message the posters were broadcasting. Dawn is a photographer and has lived in the city off and on for most of her life beginning when she was a child. Shortly after Katrina, she made New Orleans her permanent home and lives in the upper ninth ward.

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I walk often in the Quarter trying to take shots of New Orleans from a local perspective, rather than usual shots you always see from vacationers. As I was walking on Decatur I happened to come across one of those sticky posters you see slapped on a pole or whatever happens to be at eye level. The image that I first saw was of a machine gun…an AK I believe it is. As I stopped and read the poster I was rather flabbergasted at its words.

Now at first appearance, if I was a tourist this would scare the shit out of me. In fact, even as a local I was determined to find out a bit more. Who is this posting this??? What is their supposed message? At a time when we will have many tourists here for Mardi Gras, I am still trying to form an opinion.

After going to their website nolaanarcha.blogspot.com and reading, it seems to me they are very much at cross purposes and contradict much of their own observations and rants.

On one hand they are promoting the poor, and make some very valid points on the problems with New Orleans. I actually agree with several of them in regard to our housing problem. I have been touting the idea of selling houses that are left abandoned for $ 1.00, require them to bring the house up to code within 3 years, live in it for 5 and then be eligible to sell it. This program worked extremely well in areas such as Detroit and a small town called Sanford, Florida where I used to live myself.

Then on the other hand they become bigots and racists by grouping this as a race war with posters such as this one:

This is in response to the new curfew which would be in place to keep those 16 and under out of the French Quarter after 8 pm unless accompanied by an adult or going to/from work. This curfew is in effect for ALL children no matter their race…Why then does the website and poster seen here make it a race issue? It’s not about race, it’s about everyone’s safety considering the rise in crime in the entire city. To say a curfew “ Effectively teaches kids to get used to living under permanent Martial Law” is bullshit to me. Many cities across America have curfews! You can bet they don’t have the crime stats we do in New Orleans.

The website and the person’s message that the city is trying to create “White Zones” does nothing but ferment attitudes that have been in place for way to long in this city. It seems to me that to cry and whine (along with a bit of a warped attitude) because things are now being rebuilt, laws that benefit everyone are being put in place, and communities are becoming much more diverse than in recent times sends an extremely unrealistic message of what New Orleans is all about.

The website conflicts many times in its articles. On one hand they advocate for the poor, the homeless, green initiatives and how new programs are revitalizing the neighborhood, but then goes on to say it’s the white population only that is benefiting. The Author’s anger comes across to me as if he is very much stuck in a time warp that really doesn’t exist today. His posters are in places that are
extremely diverse. To group people or to try to make tourists think that it’s only the black population that are in these zones is ridiculous to say the least. I live in one of these zones….I am living next to not less than 5 houses that are considered blighted and abandoned. I pay an outrageous price for my rent just like the author of the site. I battle New Orleans crime, fear of walking my dog, sitting on my porch and corrupt politicians just as he does. However, I am White. Where does this put me in the Anarchists eyes?

I had posted this poster and it’s URL to get other’s take on the site on a G+ post and received mixed opinions. I am only one person, and this is only my opinion, but I think residents should be aware of this message being sent to the masses.