Saturday, March 29, 2014

Not by accident

Our friend James Reiss again
The new city must be something very different, Mr. Reiss says, with better services and fewer poor people. "Those who want to see this city rebuilt want to see it done in a completely different way: demographically, geographically and politically," he says. "I'm not just speaking for myself here. The way we've been living is not going to happen again, or we're out."
The reason I keep digging up this quote is not only because it's so explicit. I keep bringing it up because it is representative of the mainstream view among upper and middle class white New Orleanians stretching back through my entire life.

The news rarely reports it this way. And our celebrated tide of recent arrivals don't understand the degree to which they are pawns in this. But whenever you hear.. Jackie Clarkson, for example, praising the influx of young white professionals to New Orleans, this is the reason.
The gentrification that is transforming parts of New Orleans is also showing up in voter registration numbers, driving up the proportion of white voters in some of the city’s state legislative districts, according to a new analysis by pollster John Couvillon.

He compared registration figures from April 2010 with those from this month and found that the six biggest declines in black voting clout in Louisiana all came from New Orleans districts.
For instance, the Senate district represented by Karen Carter Peterson went from 56 percent black to 51 percent.

In Walt Leger’s House district, the percentage of black voters dropped from 64 percent to 60 percent.

Couvillon said these declines could have real political consequences, although they do not seem to have translated into big gains in the city for Republicans, as might be expected. In a blog post on the website of his polling company, JMC Enterprises, Couvillon wrote that gentrification in New Orleans “could be the genesis for a voter base of urban, white liberal Democrats (because the districts in question have remained heavily Democratic).”
Of course to say it doesn't translate into "big gains in the city for Republicans" is to miss the point.  It means big gains for white yuppies regardless of nominal party affiliation. 

Anyway, it's important to remember that none of these changes came about by accident. They are instead the result of decades-long wish fulfillment brought about by the "opportunity" presented by Katrina's "blank slate."  Occasionally it's necessary to remind the amnesiacs around here about the way this works. 

1 comment:

hopitoulas said...

Sorry to say, but the idiots that this is aimed at have not the capacity to understand it, even if they read it. But it is a great piece of analysis that only you can do so succinctly yet cinematically.