Saturday, April 11, 2015

Gentrification; The Tipping Point

As this weekend has hosted both the French Chevron Quarter Festival and the opening of the St Roch Champagne Dreams Food Court, my thoughts have drifted to when this all began.

Of course, that would most likely be the introduction of White Europeans into this hemisphere....

But then, there's always a tipping point for these things.
I began to reflect on when these changes reached the point here where they simply couldn't be ignored any longer.

It was a Spring night, just before sunset, and I was standing on the sidewalk on Decatur Street, almost directly across the street from Angeli. I was with two colleagues, R. Scully to my left, and Ratty Scurvics to my right.

There was a new Mexican restaurant open on that corner, and we were meeting music friends for dinner; Dr. Fred, who owns the Rookery Studio in the Bywater, and his neighbors, John Porter and Linda Keith.

As we waited out front, the three of us couldn't help but notice an attractive blonde woman, running down the other side of the street, on the side walk. She was wearing some kind of spandex running gear, and as she cleared some cars, I noticed she was pushing along some kind of three wheeled cart in front of her.

"Is that a STROLLER?" Scully was the first to speak.

I joined in immediately.

"That's the first time I've seen somebody running down Decatur who wasn't chased by the cops or running after a drug dealer that ripped them off," I observed.

She continued on down the street, and our heads collectively swiveled to marvel at this strange site.

At last, Ratty turned back to look at us with those penetrating eyes of his. With a look of almost pleading optimism and a hopeful smile, he spoke.

"Maybe she stole the baby!"

St Roch Market; same as it ever was.

The Good: The produce vendor, whoever they are, is right inside the front doors, and the produce was not only much more affordable than the Co-op (tomatoes were $2 a pound instead of $4), but local (not Mexican) and brilliantly fresh.

The Why?: There is a fish monger, and they have wild caught fish, but it's not cheap, nor is it over priced, I guess. It's very limited, and the vendor complained about getting a 2x3 foot 'ice bin' to keep fresh fish in, with most of their space dedicated to prepared food sales.
This was the design the Market was built to serve, so it comes from the top down: A fairly expensive (considering the neighborhood) food court.
There is a butcher there, too, and the very same holds true. A tiny case for fresh meat, and a large facility to make prepared food. The butcher, however (Shank) has plans to open a full butcher shop across St Claude.

The Bad: After ten fucking years & all manner of bullshit, this is a glorified, upscale food court. How many locals want a daily stop for champagne & oysters on the half shell? I'm sure we'd all love the Absolutely Fabulous lifestyle from time to time, but seriously, another upscale bar with an extensive wine collection? I wonder if they take WIC there....
At least there is another source for produce besides MGZ's limited selection and the Co-ops Mexican Spider Camp veggies, but for fuck's sake, this looks like it was designed for Sean Cummings to show off to his rich divorcees from Manhattan.

This tomato, bought for a dollar, was nice though.
And Shanks' sausages were great.

PS:For those raving about the St Roch Market:

I'm glad you had a good time.
Really, I am.
But think about the thousands (yes thousands) of local residents who waited 10 years for that open market they could afford, and got the Champagne Crowd, sipping on their sidewalk, instead.