New Orleans and the Price of Beans
By Thomas Emmon Pisano
The last article I wrote, ("Is New Orleans a Greedy Little City?") met with some harsh criticism and was picked up and picked apart by Gary Scheets in his article ("The Greedy Child In Us All.") These commentaries appeared in nola.com on May 16, 2007. I am not complaining, I love criticism and commentaries on my written work, Gary was a lot gentler with his remarks than I would have expected from a local journalist – oh bye the way Gary that sugared fried dough is actually $1.75 a serving. To return to the topic of this article, I have done my research, discovering that New Orleans is truly a city full of wonderfully inexpensive bargains. Most of them though are hidden from the average person and must be sought out and pursued with diligence. These bargains are not well advertised, but still they exist. One such place, SUDA Freight and Salvage, this store is well known amongst the residence for their phenomenal bargains, which sell great products for pennies on the dollar. There is also the A&P in the heart of the French Quarter, they sell many of their items at reasonable prices and provide the residence of that historic section of New Orleans with a fair priced alternative to restaurants almost twenty-four hours a day. As I ventured further from the French Quarter I discovered that wonderful stores and prices were manifesting everywhere; little did I know that New Orleans' heart was truly full of sympathy and community spirit. Let me cite a few examples of the true openheartedness I have found. One young woman last week bought a dozen large American flags, complete with poles and mountings; she then promptly distributed them to all her neighbors to show community unity and support. Another woman in the same area throws a block party to help bring the residence together in the neighborhood. There are many such instances of local people using their resources to inspire those around them and to help lift the hopes and spirits of the community. These people have always been active in their neighborhoods for many years and take great pride in what they do to inspire their communities towards a positive attitude. Citizens planting gardens along the neutral ground on Esplanade Ave and other things like churches feeding the homeless and hungry on certain days of the week, and the Plan 'B' cooperative helps the people build bicycles for practically nothing, these types of things lead me to believe that the heart and soul of New Orleans still exist and will not be stifled. I have been digging in deeper and deeper into the true culture and personality of New Orleans, and I have uncovered this one amazing fact; the residents of this fair city are culturally resourceful. They are determined to create an image here that the rest of the world will respect. Another thing I have seen here in this city; the residents are rebuilding at a record pace and the home improvement centers are helping with reasonable prices and deals on tools, building materials and supplies. Everywhere you look beautiful construction projects are manifesting without hesitation. The construction trades are the big business here and tradesmen are booked solid well into the future. As I look out over the city while I travel from place to place on the freeways and the city streets; I see beautifully painted and renovated houses sprinkled amongst the houses, which did not survive the storm, Katrina. Gradually, and steadily, New Orleans is rebuilding its pride and communities along with their reputation for being a heart felt and sensible place to live. The people here are feeding and housing their families by being aware of what is going on in the area; they search out the bargains and share with their neighbors and friends.There is an innate generosity and genuine kindness coming back to this city, and I am truly sorry that I judged New Orleans with a cold and critical eye; but as I have been told over and over again, the business problems that have been heaped upon this great city are the result of those who have come here from elsewhere. These unscrupulous individuals have come here from other parts for the sole purpose of exploiting the situation in the aftermath of the hurricane. The natives here refer to these people as 'Carpet Baggers,' 'Gougers,' and the 'Exploiters of Misery.' Eventually, these vampires will be expelled from this city then a moral and fair financial climate will be restored to New Orleans. The Crescent City is on the rise; the quality of life has been steadily improving and the people are looking forward towards a future which is full of hope and promise, but for this place to continue to prosper and grow like it should, the residence here must keep a positive picture in their minds of a tomorrow which is full of fairness in commerce and fairness towards all the people here who call this city their home. Thank you for your time; Thomas Emmon Pisano, a resident of New Orleans.
|Bourbon Street, French Quarter, New Orleans|
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Mr. Thomas Emmon Pisano, an electronics-engineer-turned professional writer, serves as US correspondent for The Seoul Times. A New Jersey native he has lived in California. He has started his writing career in 2003 and has authored four books including “No Murder Too Small” and Big Crimes Small Miracles.”