The New New Orleans, Part One:Victor Pizarro

New Orleans native, director of Plan B: The New Orleans Community Bike Project


  I live in a neighborhood [St. Roch] that 10 years ago I would have been scared walking in in the daylight. In the past few years I've seen it change, and I see a lot of people who aren't from here, that I feel aren't respectful or aware of the culture, kind of overtake these neighborhoods. I think essentially New Orleans has always been made up of people from different places and we repeat that pattern, but what's different now is the scale.

  My fear is that people like me, or people that have been in multigenerational homes for years, will be suddenly priced out of it.

  When I was real little, I went to elementary school in the East and I saw the racial, white flight stuff happen to New Orleans East: black folks move in, single homes get knocked down, apartments built up, I saw all the patterns happen. I still got family and friends of family that have been there for 40 years, because they can't afford to move.

  I think Arabi is the next Bywater. I think they're just gonna keep going down river. When they come in numbers like this and when it becomes a hot place and we're making all these lists like "the coolest place for hipsters," that's when you gotta be worried. I've definitely seen the 9th Ward change. Maybe the Bywater's lost.

  Maybe it'll take another hurricane or a murder spree or some shit to shake it up. — AS TOLD TO MEGAN BRADEN-PERRY

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