Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The rent is too damn high

Getting higher too.

Orleans Parish ranks 13th among 500 counties for the chunk of income that renters will pay in 2015, according to a report by real estate data service RealtyTrac. The national average is 27 percent of a renter's income.

RealtyTrac analyzed fair market rent data for 2015 issued by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development. Read RealtyTrac's report here.

Meanwhile, Orleans is among the top 25 counties nationwide where the millenial population is growing. The share of millenials (defined as being born between 1977 and 1992) grew by 20 percent in New Orleans from 2007 to 2013. Other cities where younger people are flocking include Austin, Texas, Seattle, San Francisco, Denver, Washington, D.C., and Alexandria, Va. See that list here.

"These millenials will be driving strong demand for rents in the next few years," said RealtyTrac vice president Daren Blomquist in a video explaining the report.
Jesus, please stop blaming "the kids today."  The problem is not "millenials."  The problem is a series of deliberate urban policies meant to encourage luxury development and to push poor people out of the way. In New Orleans, in particular, there's the added scheme to allow the available housing in residential neighborhoods to be given over to the tourism industry.  This is starting to make life, not only more expensive, but also uncomfortable in more subtle ways. It injects a new kind of tension into the most mundane things. Consider this, for instance.

My car is in an.. interesting state these days.  It turned twenty years old this year and, while it runs great, it's coming apart in ways that are difficult to do anything about.  Most critical is a left rear "quarter glass" window that was shattered in what I think was probably a weed whacking accident about a year ago.  Every few weeks I make calls around to auto-glass guys and junkyards but no one can find the appropriate piece of glass to replace it. So, for now, the left side of the car is covered in a big patch woven out of duct tape.

It doesn't really bother me in the meantime.  In fact, I often take a silly kind of pride in its distinctiveness. I am either the living proof that the "broken windows" theory of crime and blight is bullshit ... or... it's 100 percent true and I am single-handedly holding back the total gentrification of my block.  Either way, it's pretty terrific. I have a standard to uphold.

I've been thinking, also, recently about the "Fix My Streets" movement created this year by some entitled Lakeview residents and how their "Pimp-My-Pothole" series of ironic protests differs from the fun we've had with our sinkhole over the past few years.  "Enraged and engaged" says Clancy DuBos's column about these brats. Can someone really be "enraged" about a hole in the ground?  Apparently, yes.

But when our sinkhole appeared, we weren't enraged at all.  We were amused. Here is something interesting that seems fairly harmless for now, we thought.  Of course, I hoped that it would be fixed eventually. At the same time, I knew that finding out just how long "eventually" ended up being would be interesting (four years, it turned out.) And as long as it wasn't an actual nuisance, it might also be kind of fun.

And it was.  It started out humbly enough.

Hole in the road

Then it grew a bit.

Hole in the road take 3

Then people started throwing things into it.

Sinkhole May 16

Those things became more interesting.

Sinkhole avec cart

Pothole cover

Soon a mighty tree (well, a big bush) emerged.


Which was great because it meant that, during Halloween, we could do this.

And, of course, during Christmastime, we could do this.

Celebration In The Sinkhole 2013

What a great time all of that was!  No one was hurt, the city was not embarrassed.  Unlike our friends in Lakeview, we did not consider this experience any sort of drag on the city's recovery. It was a harmless and interesting thing that happened. And it was something that was resolved on a timeline fitting to its low position on the city's long list of priorities.

This year, the city finally fixed the sinkhole on our corner and, in doing so, ripped up the bush that was growing out of it. But, like I said, there are standards to uphold now. So we simply moved the holiday decorations down to the weeds growing out from under the side of the building.

Holiday vines

Last week, I was walking to my car when  a pair of ladies came out of the illegal (for now) short term rental across the street it was parked in front of.  They didn't see me there as they stopped and examined the car for a moment before one of them kind of smirked and said to the other, "Poverty." Then they walked off to catch a streetcar. 

At this point, I am pretty much the source of all the "cultural authenticity" these people airbnb their way into New Orleans to gawk at. At least in this neighborhood, I am.  So I guess my question is, now that I'm a significant "culture bearer" is there some sort of grant I can apply for?  Because the rent is pretty damn high right now.


Nolaresident said...

They didn't see me there as they stopped and examined the car for a
moment before one of them kind of smirked and said to the other,

Skooks, you could have owned the moment, walked over to your car, patted it lovingly, and asked for any spare change to replace the window. You might have gotten a twofer: some spare coinage and also maybe scared off any more rentals for the illegal rental across the street!

David said...

Your neighborhood's gotten that gentrified? You do live in Central City (albeit on the edge of the neighborhood) don't you? Would gentrified even be the correct term? Would short-termified be more correct?

The oldest millenials were born in 1977 now? Gen X lasted 11 years? If I start blogging again, I'll have to clean up this comment and turn it into a post. Is there a label yet for your car's generation?

blair said...

Fixes are starting to appear with frightening frequency around the Washington Ave Cemeteries