Well Bottom Blues

Oh my God it's full of stars!

The Old New Orleans

I was locked out of Lakeview NextDoor for three days after I called out a woman who said the poor services at the West End Walgreens was likely due to “corporate DEI” goals or quotas, I forget which and can’t see her post again for three days. My first comment was, “wow, did you really say that out loud?” But I didn’t stop there. I stated frankly that code speak racist comments were still racist. And I would call out the code speakers.

My bad.

I lived in Mid-City and Faubourg St.. John (or as I called it across from the Blues Tent) since I returned in 2006. . When Patrice and I finally decided to move out of our small, one bedroom behind Delgado–still Navarre, but what I’ve come to think of as the right side of the tracks–my 70-something sister was being booted out of her house on South Cortez. We decided to move in together so we could all look out for each other.. Looking for a three bedroom, two bath apartment in New Orleans proved almost impossible outside of a complex. And the I found a basement on Florida Boulevard (still Navarre but I have come to regard it as the Wrong Side of the Tracks.

I grew up on the Lakefront, and first lived outside my parents house in the old airbase doubles across from UNO. I understood what my neighbors were like from an early age. My sister dragooned me into dropping literature for Moon Landrieu in his 1969 mayoral campaign. I routinely heard him called Moon the Coon, and I was called a sort of lover that did not comport with my rudimentary understanding of sex.

Spending time on my charming wrong side of the tracks neighbors from the lakefront, Parkview and Metairie over the canal, I have learned there are people whose views don’t differ much from their parents’ of 50 plus years ago. They just mostly speak in code.

Lakeview, I am sorry to report, it not really a part of New Orleans, from which its residents constantly mumble about seceding from, not the 21st Century New Orleans. They are part of the Old New Orleans of Jefferson David and P.G.T. Beauregard statues, of the large confederate flag painted on the wall of the Dixie Tavern at Canal and then Jeff Davis Parkway. They are a part of the flight to Vista Shores Country Club and the segregated Pontchartrain Beach pools away from the de-segregated public pools.

They are one with the hasty and panicked retreat down Bancroft when clearly affluent Black families showed up at homes for sale. They are part of the old New Orleans which proclaimed Gentilly Woods “the Black Lakeview” according to the mayor at the time because of course they had to have their own, separate one. They are the New Orleans of hanging a black wreath on your door on Confederate Memorial Day.

They are everything that troubled me about my New Orleans knit into a neighborhood. It wasn’t just one Karen complaining that the drive up window at Walgreens wasn’t open at 9:02 am when the posted hours are 9:00 am. It was the hordes of people who rushed in to support her, like the one who suggested a “woke” corporation was hiring the wrong sort of people. I wonder if it was the same women who was offended that two check-out clerks at that Walgrees were talking to each other, possibly slowing down her progress in the line, the one who lost her shit and when she refused to leave when asked by the clerk was escorted out by the clerk. She called the police to report an assault.

I am sure they enjoy their Metairie-bought King Cake as much as the next person, and dutifully watch the Saints games on their TVs the size of a barn door. They may hold season tickers, and bring a pistol to the home games to protect themselves, and holler loudest when someone smashes their window because there is probably a gun in there.

I live by them by necessity, but don’t consider them neighbors because we don’t really live in the same city.

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About Me

Mark Folse is a provincial diarist and minor poet in and from New Orleans. His past blogging adventures included the Katina/Federal Flood blog wetbankguide on blogspot.com which David Simon told NY Magazine was one of three blogs that helped helped inspire Treme, and Toulouse Street, which once outranked the Doobie Brothers on Google Search. His poetry and other writing has appeared in the New Laurel Review, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, The Rumpus and elsewhere.



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