07 December 2011

shrinking cities but CITIES still and the same

My meanderings so far in New Orleans have mostly been in the French Quarter or along the Esplanade to the New Orleans Museum of Art or, from NOMA, along the avenues of Mid-City and the Garden District. All of that is higher ground than the Lower Ninth or Bywater so not hit as hard by Katrina flooding. Still, as you walk the streets, there are empty houses and lots. We can all read about shrinking cities but it is still sad to see the quotidian effect. New Orleans is different from Detroit; more of the emptiness is still fresh. I admit to having more experience with New Orleans than Detroit but when I visited Detroit a few years ago, it seemed like the vacant lots had mostly been planted or were overgrown. There were lots of broken-down houses but somehow they mostly didn't stretch into the street. Oh, that's right, I was driving and the stretch is way more apparent on foot than from a vehicle.

All of this is swirling in my mind as I wander the streets but I wanted to reflect here because of Roberto's last couple posts about being in New Haven: a relatively high crime rate, town-gown, real cities, streets versus art talks. When I commented, he responded that New Haven didn't seem like a "city" (he should come to Alfred for a bit of small-town town-gown reality) and New Orleans does. Yep.

1 comment:

Sherman Clarke said...

My city bus passed this house again on Thursday, at the corner of Freret and Louisiana streets. I looked down on it after I got home, using Google Maps. The housing complex more or less across the street that looked rather like Seaside, Florida is part of the rebuilding of the C.J. Peete Projects. Some web reading said that while some folks that had lived there would be able to return home, many had abandoned New Orleans or found housing elsewhere.