In the event you’re interested, I am announcing today that New Orleans has officially become a Third World Dumpster Fire.
Now, what does that phrase mean exactly?
Well, a Third World city is essentially constituted into two distinct parts.
The first part is the small portion of the city where the elites/wealthy class work, play, and live.
In New Orleans, neighborhoods such as the Garden District, Lakeview, Uptown, the CBD, and Audubon fit into this mold. Business professionals, lawyers, politicians, and college professors/administrators live in these neighborhoods. They make up a large part of what we will call the “Urban Elite” in New Orleans.
In essence, the Urban Elite are able to wall themselves (though not completely) from the dysfunction present in most of the city. For instance, the Urban Elite drive to work in their cars so that they do not have to use unsafe, unreliable public transportation. They send their children to prestigious private schools instead of the substandard public schools in New Orlenas (in NOLA, think of private schools like Sacred Heart, St Martin’s, Newman, McGehee, Country Day, Jesuit, Dominican, etc). For leisure, the Urban Elite go to concerts at the Smoothie King Center, attend Saints games at the Superdome, and eat at swanky restaurants in the nicer parts of the city.
As you probably can guess, most New Orleans residents do not live this way. This comfortable lifestyle is unknown to a vast majority of the city’s inhabitants.
Much of New Orleans is run-down, dirty, and dangerous. Most residents worry about getting car-jacked as they walk to their cars or getting robbed at gunpoint while walking alone at night. Pot-holes, homeless people, and debris litter the City landscape.
Now, what truly makes New Orleans a Third world-esque city is how most of the city is either impoverished or dangerous. In fact, New Orleans has the highest per-capita murder rate in the country so-far in 2022. Pretty chilling stuff.
Much like a Third World city, most New Orleans residents live in poor, crime-ridden neighborhoods. In New Orleans, places such as Central City, Gert Town, the Lower 9th Ward, Desire, Treme, St. Roch, and virtually all of New Orleans East fit into the category.
In all honesty, you probably can’t find much of a difference between New Orleans and Third World cities in Central and South America.
Now, what else do Third World cities and New Orleans have in common?
The answer: a non-existent middle class.
For decades, middle class families in New Orleans have either moved to the surrounding suburbs in the Greater New Orleans—such as Metairie, Kenner, Covington, etc.—or have left the metro area completely. That trend has continued as I personally know of several people who are leaving the state entirely for better-run states with better economic opportunity.
The New Orleans that my grandparents grew up in 60, 70 years ago has completely changed. A once vibrant, bustling city is now a shadow of its former self. That reality is nothing to take pleasure in.
The tragedy of this situation is that New Orleans did not have to become a Third World Dumpster Fire. The city’s demise was not inevitable, but this decline has been ongoing for decades, and little to nothing has been done by the city’s political class to reverse it.
I hope that better days are ahead for New Orleans, but nothing will change when citizens keep electing corrupt, inept politicians—like Mayor LaToya Cantrell, District Attorney Jason Williams, and others—for decades.
I plan on continuing to live in the suburbs of New Orleans, and not the city itself, for the long term because the city is not likely to improve anytime soon. I would love to see New Orleans restored to its former glory because I truly do love the Greater New Orleans area. But, you can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped. The same thing goes for the city of New Orleans and its citizens.
LaToya Cantrell is fiddling while New Orleans burns figuratively.
Let’s hope that the flames of New Orleans don’t scorch the surrounding suburbs in Jefferson Parish and St Tammany Parish.