What do you miss most in post-Katrina N.O.? - In Your Own Words - NOLA.com:
"Posted by aylicat on 08/25/07 at 12:04PM
I miss the sense of community and the sense that people really looked out for each other. I miss the friendliness and greetings of strangers walking down the streets. I miss going shopping with my grandmother at Krauss, Maison Blanche, DH Homes, and Godchaux's. I miss going grocery shopping at the little neighborhood store, ZARA's. I miss McKenzie's bakery and all the goodies there. There are lots of things that will never be the same again. I live in VA now, and dread coming to visit NOLA, knowing that every fond memory in my childhood is just that--a memory. The landmarks are gone, the storefronts now turned into unbelievably high-priced condos, and businesses once patronized are out of business for good. "

There is just no way to express the loss of this special community.
But from an article I wrote "After the Deluge"
I remember from the 90s hot summer nights wandering down some of the side streets of Mid-City, finding castoff treasures like an old cast iron chaise lounge, the scents of delightful flowers covering hints of rot and mildew, music drifting from the corner bars, lights spilling out from Mom and Pop deli/convenience stores, and mingling with the odor of Creole and Cajun cooking .

The community of Mid-city then and actually all of New Orleans was somewhat cowed by the violence of the druggies and gangs, mostly blacks, but gangs of all different nationalities: Hispanics, Columbians, Jamaicans, and Asian. So people tended to mind their own business in vain hopes of not getting “involved.” But the exuberance of most of this unique community broke through at Tipitina’s, Bayou Barn in Lafitte, in the Quarter, at the music fests.

What do I miss most? It is indescribable!

A mere visitor, even for a few weeks, can't even touch on what seeps into your soul. But frequent visitors will miss the streetcars and many of the buses, the street artists and musicians, vendors and fortune tellers, clowns and mimes, on Royal Street during the day and around St. Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square day and night. All the great seafood and volleyball places out on the Lake.
Bakeries and the great Natural food and deli/bakery out on Esplanade near the racetrack. Cairo Cafe.

Mid-City and all the great rents for places not recently renovated. Gone forever with rebuilding costs and triple tax assessments on many homes.

But the rental situation had already begun to seriously deteriorate after the riverboat casinos and the Sultan of Brunai tried to take the town. A lot of speculation and renovation started up, rents were raised all over the commercial districts in the Quarter and in the CBD (Central Business District, on the other side of Canal from the Quarter) and the residences that were leased out to visitors who came for Mardi Gras, JazzFest, football and other events. Long-term rentals were also often raised in hopes of driving out the renters so the flats could be leased out to the increased number of visitors vainly expected.

See more blog posts on the Times-Picayune blog.

What do you miss most?

René O'Deay


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