Much talk is made of gentrification, but I want to take a moment and lift up the shadow side of all the cool new coffee houses and increased property taxes – dispossession. New Orleanians who managed to return post-flood are finding themselves pushed out of the city by the incredible post-2005 rent & tax increases and city liens on properties.
Now this city is in the process of being dispossessed of it primary cultural expression – music. On Friday, January 17th, a Sound Ordinance will be brought before the City Council. One that requires lowering the decibel levels (on a tuba?!?!?! a trumpet?!?!?).
There is a pattern in this nation of white people being drawn to the soul and spirit of culturally vivacious places – and then beginning to institute laws and ordinances that strangle the life out of the culture that first attracted them.
Beloveds, let us break that pattern in New Orleans.
Bring an anti-racist analysis to the proposed sound ordinance and see how long it lasts. Same with the second line permits. Same with anything that on the surface looks “reasonable” and almost always privileges the dominant narrative, those with institutional power.
Institutional racism is persistently constructing our reality – and dehumanizing every one of us. Let us work creatively to resist the cultural genocide taking place in New Orleans and in other areas of dispossession in these United States of America.