History, people, fables and critical essays on the 24/7 life of the French Quarter. "Those who live somewhere should be allowed to decide how a place should exist; it should not be determined by how it can be sold."
She always gave me a big smile and reached out to touch me when we met. I do not know why she did so, but it may have been that she could feel my respect for her organizing skill and longevity.
We did not lose our ability to fish. Don’t bring the fish to our door, just bring us some fishing poles and some bait. We didn’t lose our minds. I don’t know why we didn’t, but we could have. We lost all of the necessities we need to support our survival. Just give us that. Just give us that, and I promise you, in six months … come back, we’re going to make you some gumbo.
On his blog, “Scott Woods Makes Lists,” poet Woods posted:
“The problem is that white people see racism as conscious hate, when racism is bigger than that. Racism is a complex system of social and political levers and pulleys set up generations ago to continue working on the behalf of whites at other people’s expense, whether whites know/like it or not. Racism is an insidious cultural disease. It is so insidious that it doesn’t care if you are a white person who likes Black people; it’s still going to find a way to infect how you deal with people who don’t look like you.
Yes, racism looks like hate, but hate is just one manifestation. Privilege is another. Access is another. Ignorance is another. Apathy is another, and so on. So while I agree with people who say no one is born racist, it remains a powerful system that we’re immediately born into. It’s like being born into air: you take it in as soon as you breathe.
It’s not a cold that you can get over. There is no anti-racist certification class. It’s a set of socioeconomic traps and cultural values that are fired up every time we interact with the world. It is a thing you have to keep scooping out of the boat of your life to keep from drowning in it. I know it’s hard work, but it’s the price you pay for owning everything.”
This is what a friend wrote today, as Lee is removed from his place on our city streets, the last of the 4 main monuments defiling our public streets that were placed to strengthen the white supremacy movement in the decades after the Civil War. (There are, however, 3 more Confederate statues of much less prominence that still need removal. Still, as my pal says beautifully here: we are beginning to approach the truth.)
…Black children can expect and, by every measure, will receive, substantially worse treatment than their white peers within the educational system, the healthcare system, the policing and justice systems, the housing and financial markets, in terms of their prospective employment and earnings. Hell, they will have a harder time on Tinder and Grinder.
Parents of black children already get to explain why this is and try their best to prepare their children to navigate these evidence-based realities.
One less white supremacist being honored in the street is actually the smallest possible gesture available that we can bestow on these children.
One less statue doesn’t change these realities. But it begins to approach the truth. There has never been truth and reconciliation in this country, so we keep recycling white supremacy into different iterations, instead of dismantling it (Jim Crow! Mass Incarceration!).
We can’t begin to face white supremacy without truth telling. And most Americans (of all backgrounds) are not taught the fullness of the truth about the founding of this country or how it prospered. Most aren’t taught what slavery entailed, or how it persists in different forms today. Taking down Lee is simply acknowledging these truths.
So many amazing women leaders that I know here turn out to have been educated by the Sisters.
Defying expectations is part of the fabric of St. Mary’s, which this year celebrates the 150th anniversary of its founding by the Sisters of the Holy Family, the pioneering order of Roman Catholic black nuns founded by Mother Henriette Delille. St. Mary’s Academy for Young Ladies of Color, the city’s first Catholic secondary school for African American girls, began in the French Quarter in 1867, then relocated to its own campus on Chef Menteur Highway in 1965.
An historic photo from the 1930s of the original campus in the French Quarter. The Bourbon Orleans Hotel stands there now. Courtesy of the Historic New Orleans Collection. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. L. Kent Nelson. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY Charles L. Franck Studio Collection at the Historic New Orleans Collection
The Nola Files is preparing stories of the most influential people and places in New Orleans history. To do this history project justice we need to first focus on the people and places that had the widest impact and connected with most of the city. Please look through some of these options and vote for those you think need to be our focus first.
In this survey you will vote on PEOPLE who stories must be told.
This Eater story is pretty good, but could use a little more context outside of the French Quarter tourist angle. Still, I am so very glad that Knapp included Rien Fertel’s analysis and research.
As a past farmers market organizer, I can tell you that the praline biz extends past the Quarter to thousands of locals who search for a particular variety that they grew up with: some look for a creamy taste, others want lots of chopped nuts and others need the sugar-free type. Most New Orleanians expect to find middle-aged African-American women as the chef behind the treat, although the Crescent City Farmers Market has most recently had genial Wayne Brown and his momma’s Crescent Creams pralines along with his of the old-timey “Nipples of Venus” concoction. Other vendors of pralines at CCFM include or have included the (white) family member of market fishing family Gerica Seafood who makes some tasty sweet treats based on a hundred-year old recipe from Raceland, and school bus driver Betty Walker who hails from New Orleans East, which remains one area of town where the homemade candies can be found on counters of all types of stores.
Available at farmers market frequented by locals, at Broadway Ave and the River on a recent Tuesday. Pralines are NOT just for tourists.
Additionally, the dozens of varieties sold only through churches or a daughter’s office to this day also show the resilience and creativity of this local cottage industry.
Check out this wonderful piece that covers the “mammy” stuff that Rien alludes to; that crap certainly has denigrated the art of praline making which should be deeply respected and widely encouraged.