Our Community, Our Future Future

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Our Community, Our Future Future

The renaissance occurring in New Orleans has heightened the question as to who is benefiting from its regeneration? One of the main sentiments on this issue both locally and nationally is that New Orleans is a tale of two cities. The future of New Orleans depends on how we as a community responds to this challenge.

On the prosperity end, there are those that are thriving socially and economically while on the non-prosperity end there are those struggling to participate in the city’s resurgence.  Both perspectives are well documented by U.S. Census data, economic development analysis and various local and national research organizations which highlight the trends in both categories.

To further explain the complexity of this issue. On the prosperity side, many would argue that a combination of newcomers, increased millennial presence, increased real estate investment and speculation with a focus on the core city supported by an economic development strategy which focuses on high level economic clusters is fueling the prosperity.

However, on the non prosperity side, many would argue that the city historical social and economic issues are contributing to suppressed opportunity. Furthermore, many would also suggest limited education and skills, tourist economy, poverty, high incarceration rates, fractured school systems and the reality that the global economy is making it difficult for individuals with limited skills to adapt to change.

The opinions are wide and vary in degree on this issue. The point here is that without consensus as to what’s driving the tale of two cities, its presence only serves to further the divide in the community which fuels anger and resentment and limits our full social and economic potential.

Out task as citizens is to reach a break-even point where a shared consensus can occur on what’s driving the tale of two cities narrative. In doing so, we can begin to work on a path toward understanding this paradox. And as such focus our energy on not fighting the old , but building on new possibilities to create an opportunity city for all citizens.

As a starting point where we all can agree is the fact that we love New Orleans. This fact transcends race, income,  class, newcomer status and individuals born here. It serves as the common element we can build on in regenerating New Orleans comprehensively for all its citizens.

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