Tell them if they’re lookin’ for me / I’m on the road to the next city

Born and raised in the USA
By way of New Orleans where the killers stay

 

I’m working on unsubscribing from every New Orleans- and/or Louisiana-focused newsletter, state and/or local political insider news update list and MeetUp group and neighborhood (and local technology) Facebook and NextDoor group. Excuse me, but: Fuck this place.

There are most certainly many intelligent, caring and concerned residents of New Orleans. I’ve met a few of them. But I’ve met far more who are more interested in puffing the city up as something it’s not (a tech mecca) while ignoring the current state of affairs, which includes the lack of good jobs, the explosion of high rents and merely a tourism industry to support the city. Not to mention the ridiculous number of violent crimes based on ignorance and racism committed every day threatening the only industry in town.

The local newspapers are just ten-page crime blotters. Yes, you heard me right. Excluding sports and other such non-news nonsense, the entire newspaper can be ten staff-written pages – at best.

Back in the early 2000s, while visiting New Orleans with my then-girlfriend and staying at Teri’s place, I noted the anti-intellectualism of the town. Even a town with as many universities as New Orleans has.

Our residence here has not changed that opinion.you're a douchebag! art

I’m happy to take my real tech job, tax dollars and shopping locally somewhere else. Along with my company’s advertising money.

The city that care forgot? Or the city whose residents are full of apathy? I think the latter is the real problem.

We keep bouncing from city to city since we left Austin. A short time in NYC and Harlem, a longer period in New Orleans . . . and now we’re back at it. Not immediately – we need money, and it doesn’t come quickly nor is it saved quickly given our rent and other bills.

Where are we going to go? Probably back to Texas.

Even Houston isn’t this violent, and at least it’s localized there. It isn’t all over the city. In New Orleans, you can’t tell how your street is going to turn out until someone is killed on it. Others have much better experiences than we have, apparently.

In reply to Misty’s email about the late-night, mid-week bombardment of fireworks after the hospitality industry convention a couple of weeks ago, our city councilwoman replied that it frightened her, too, as there had been two shootings on her street recently. That’s nice.

Express concern about all of these things – jobs, crime, rent – and other New Orleans residents give you a dismissive, “Why do you live here then?” Unlike in other cities, they make no arguments for New Orleans. Nor do they offer counterarguments.

Within the last 72 hours, a neighbor found a bullet hole in her car and my daily crime email included seven serious crimes within one mile of our address. The high is still 29 crimes (assaults, rapes, murders, armed robberies, carjackings &c.).

I received the same email about the neighborhoods I lived in while in Austin, a city larger than New Orleans. The crimes that happen here never happened there. Even in the “rough” neighborhoods in pre-gentrification East Austin.

No income tax and lower sales taxes will be nice again, too.

Aside from always having to be alert and keeping my head on a swivel in fear of a potential problem arising at any time, I love walking around the ‘hood for a little while with Jeff and George or Carl and George, depending on how I’m walking them that day.

The smells and stickiness remind me of my youth in Biloxi. And I wonder again how the hell I played outside as a kid there and, later, marched two miles a day to class at Keesler in this soup. Take a deep breath and you’ll drown.

You don’t have to be outside for more than a minute and, without even actually working up a sweat, you’ll be drenched in it and begging for the A/C.

If we’re going to call any city a cesspool, New Orleans definitely has all the right ingredients.

I knew this city was violent. I expected black-on-white racism. I predicted to Misty when we first moved here that something aimed at one of us would come flying out of the window of one of those cars at some point in the future. I didn’t realize she would so quickly fall victim to the racial violence here. Harlem was 100 million times better (I’m operating on your prejudices with that).

There’s no reason for this, New Orleans. Except that you’ve all buried your heads in the sand and justified ignoring the very real dangers and causes for the stasis – at best and backsliding of your city with your white liberal guilt and corruption and profiteering from the inadequate basic public services (disintegrating roads, lack of police officers who respond to crimes, a contracted-out education system, etc.) the city offers its residents.

Apathy doesn’t look good on any city.

It’s the birthplace of jazz, you say. It has so much culture, what with the Creoles and Cajuns and Catholics and blacks and whites there, you say. The food is delicious and can’t be matched in the States, you say. I said that, too.

Guess what? You can experience all that on a short trip here. You don’t need to live here.

Anyway. That’s enough. I’ll be happy to find someplace in Texas – outside Houston? Austin? Waco? San Antonio? Brownsville? Corpus? Who knows? Omaha also sounds nice. Too far of a move right now, though.

Someplace with $600 a month rent. There are more of those places than you think, surprisingly. I didn’t realize you didn’t have to live in the projects and only pay that much.

FYI: This blog is going up unedited.

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