Saturday, September 24, 2005

Recently, on a trip to a certain American city which shall remain nameless, my friend drove me around pointing to new housing developments and commenting on areas of "new money" versus that of "old money". I responded politely, politically and socially correctly, as one would do with a friend, as I noticed how she distinguished the new money neighborhoods from the old. The smaller yet more than adequate dwellings were the new money communities. I suppose upwardly mobile and in some cases just plain working class folks who want the amenities of great schools and safe, clean neighborhoods live there. Then there's the old money hoods distinguished by huge garish houses sitting side by side, side by flippin' side. My friend quoted the cost of some of these homes and I thought to myself, because I want to be socially accepted and I wouldn't want to offend her having been so kind as to pick me up from the airport, if I pay a gazillion dollars for my home I no more want to see my neighbors as to have to listen to them take piss or shower. Who pays that much money for a house in spitting distance to the next? Better yet, the socially conscious voice in my head is calculating, new money, old money, well where the hell do the no money people live? That's a no
brainer. The no money people live in the city. The rapidly deteriorating inner sanctums of most cities, like New Orleans. I've never been there. But I know about all the convention and tourism money that is spent in the French Quarter. I know about the parties and drunken slovenliness of the folks who to there to celebrate Mardi Gras. I know about the history of the gulf, the intermingling of so many cultures resulting in an intoxicating flavor of Americana that one would ask why not visit New Orleans-- the birth place of jazz, the home of the French Quarter, the land of good food and drink; the best place to party? I don't want to go to New Orleans. Even if they rebuild it and pave the French Quarter with gold. I don't want to go there because the secret is out, America hates its poor, old and heaven forbid you're old, poor, and black. In the surrounding areas of this tourist Metropolis lived a segment of society that is generally hidden or other wise rendered invisible. They're not invisible anymore. We know they exist and now they're coming, through no force or motivation of their own, to our cities across the nation. Where will they live? Where do “no-money” people live when they have no place to go?

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