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KATRINA COMMEMORATION: Ten years later, what’s really changed? (Part 3)

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“When you have no other choice but to survive, that’s what you do. To know there’s an entire city that faced the same thing as me, makes me take that mentality and apply it to everything I do. No matter where I go, I’m always going to represent New Orleans. It’s in my blood.” – Rob Nice (DJ/Emcee/Entertainment Personality)

It is frustrating watching one of the most beautiful and unique cities in the world fall prey to whitewashing (pun intended) of the culture, gentrification at its best and a general glazing over of some of the worst social ills imaginable – by the very people who claim to have helped New Orleans bounce back. The voices that need to be heard never are – the people you see in front of the camera lenses owned by mainstream media, are handpicked to shuck and jive to a tune orchestrated by those who have ulterior motives or even worse, who are so clueless they think everything is okay. It’s not. It is heartbreaking to those residents who go through it on a daily basis. I’ve heard people say, “They should just move if they don’t like what they see.” For anyone who says that, it is obvious they just don’t get it. There is no place on earth like New Orleans. For all of its good and bad, it is a unique, inspiring place if you are fortunate enough to be able to experience all it has to offer. Words cannot explain what New Orleans means to someone who truly loves it. What needs to happen, is people need to get a grip and realize the very people who make the city what it is, are being moved out as quickly as the beaurecrats can make it happen. Those newbies that flocked to the city for its culture and interesting appeal, will soon see all of that has gone.

Apartment rents have doubled or more. Homes are ridiculous in price and completely unaffordable for most individuals and families. Commercial property costs have risen exponentially. Middle class and lower income families won’t be able to afford to live in the city for much longer – and many have already fallen prey to the ploys to keep them out. To conservative snots, that probably sounds great. To a real person who has an ounce of humanity, it’s a travesty that must be stopped. If things continue moving in the current direction, the REAL New Orleans will be gone. Many, me included, believe this was the plan since long before Katrina struck and that the powers that be just used the convenience of Katrina to begin the gentrification process.

They forget that New Orleans residents are resilient and brilliant. They will find a way to stay in the city they have always called home. They will find a way to bring New Orleans back to its former glory. They will overcome, with the help of musicians, entertainers and grass roots organizers. They will also learn to respect the hard working, special people of the city – one way or the other.

Movements such as “Protect New Orleans” have made it their mission to keep intact the culture and hundreds of years of ancestry that literally built the city. Much of the city’s history was built by ancestors of the very people who are being kept away – or who are being forced to move. This is beginning to be recognized and steps are being taken to prevent any further destruction of the culture. New Orleans art, whether it be visual, musical or any other, is an important part of American life that must be preserved in its entirety. If is often imitated, but it can never be duplicated. Those of us who care for the real New Orleans need to stand up and be counted. Officials need to be held accountable. Getting rich off the backs of those who are often times voiceless must end. What will you do to help?

Read Parts 1 & 2 of “KATRINA COMMEMORATION: 10 years later, what’s really changed?”

Part 1: https://theheatmag.com/katrina-commemoration-ten-years-later-whats-really-changed-part-1/

Part 2: https://theheatmag.com/katrina-commemoration-ten-years-later-whats-really-changed-part-2/

Arlene Culpepper, Asst. Editor-in-Chief
Arlene Culpepper, Asst. Editor-in-Chiefhttp://www.mikodreamz.com
Vice-President & Asst. Editor-in-Chief of The Heat Magazine, Arlene is a Louisiana native, Certified Paralegal, Publicist, Owner of MIKODreamz PR, co-owner of 504Diffusion, writer, producer, and jack of all trades, who is heavily involved in her community as well as serving as Media Advisor for New Orleans Union for Entertainment (NOUE), Member of the NOLA Music Awards from 2012-present & Member of the Press Club of New Orleans. Her work is published across the web. Her PR work has been highly recognized & awarded. She was/is publicist for the late great BTY YoungN, 0017th and more. She is also working on her first novel & aspires to turn it into a film & is currently writing the authorized biography of the legendary Pimp C of UGK. She can be reached via email at Arlene@theheatmag.com. Follow her on Twitter - @CategorySeven & Instagram - @hurricanearlene.
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