Friday, July 21, 2017

The money pit

Hammer's report on the still shuttered and bankrupt African American Museum in Treme has all sorts of fun stuff going on including Irvin Mayfield, First NBC, and Wisner Trust funds which I think may be some sort of super trifecta. 

Some of this is just the comedy of organizational chaos. But it's also a window into the way the local non-profit sector spreads public subsidies around among the same familiar circles of professional fund-raisers, bankers, and lawyers operating in New Orleans.  Some of them, like the unfortunate Mayfield, tend to get themselves into sticky situations and become scapegoats.  But, really, it's a whole system of backslapping corruption that brings together neighborhood associations, historic preservation purists, and start-up entrepreneurs along with the aforementioned money people to direct public and private money toward feel good projects that don't really help anyone not invested in tourism or real estate. 

This sector has done well for itself under the Landrieu administration. As the post-Katrina money begins to dry up, the party may be ending for the con-profiteers. It's never a bad time to have a friendly mayor in the pocket, though. LaToya Cantrell, you may notice, delivered her platform vision thing speech last week at Irvin's Jazz Market.  There's probably more to that than just symbolism.

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