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NO “Struggles” To Regain Its Black Character

From Reuters:

New Orleans struggles to keep its black character

14 Jan 2007

NEW ORLEANS, Jan 14 (Reuters) – On Martin Luther King Day last year, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin famously said his city would "be chocolate at the end of the day," a remark meant to encourage African Americans to return after Hurricane Katrina.

At the time, it drew accusations of racial divisiveness and a barrage of jokes. T-shirts went on sale in the French Quarter portraying Nagin as Willie Wonka and maps of the city were redrawn with neighborhoods named Godiva, Hershey and M&Ms.

But a year later, it is no laughing matter. New Orleans, one of the most culturally distinct African American cities, is struggling to regain its black character.

"We need the chocolate back in the vanilla!" housing activist Endesha Juakali shouted to a crowd last month to protest the demolition of public housing damaged by Katrina.

But there were only about 20 black people listening, just a fraction of the whites who came to support the cause.

New Orleans was 67 percent African American before Katrina and 28 percent white. Now, in a city with less than half the previous population, blacks account for 47 percent and whites 43 percent.

"It will never be the same in my lifetime, we already know that," said Juakali. "The forces that control the redevelopment are going to string this thing out for at least five years. And people can’t wait that long." …

But no one is ready to decree the demise of black New Orleans.

"It is way too early and no one can predict accurately," said pollster Silas Lee.

"It is going to be dependent upon resources available from the government, changes in the infrastructure, a lot of factors that are beyond the control of the individual," Lee said.

Government is woefully behind schedule, sparking accusations from some that it is deliberately stalling to keep certain problem neighborhoods from coming back.

Only 100 families out of 90,000 applicants have received federal aid to rebuild homes hit by Katrina in the whole of Louisiana. The city redevelopment plan, said to be in its final stages, has yet to be announced.

Poor blacks who did not own their homes have little affordable rental accommodation to choose from, keeping them at bay in cities like Houston. Meanwhile, local media report that middle class black evacuees are thriving in new cities like Atlanta, and are unlikely to return.

Sharon Jasper, 57, lived in public housing that is now closed, but finally made the decision to come back a few months ago.

"Our young people need to come home where they belong," said Jasper, a seemingly strong woman who breaks down when she talks about her children scattered in several cities.

She said depression and tension are rife in the city, with two or three families staying in a single home and kids attending disfunctional schools.

Indeed, shooting deaths are a near daily occurrence, a pattern Nagin called "black-on-black" crime

What a racist article from top to bottom.

And just imagine the outrage a similar headline about whites would bring.

This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, January 14th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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