I was born in New Orleans in 1943, during segregation. There were not many opportunities for me, as a woman of color. I had to locate to a more progressive city in order to achieve a successful future. Most of my family are still living there, and I go home quite often. However, my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren live in the state of Georgia, near my husband and me. My intention is to eventually move back home as my grandchildren move on to better opportunities with their families.
In 1996, I bought a rundown crack house in Faubourg Treme and rehabbed the property, which was given partial historical recognition. The restoration was, in my opinion, the beginning of a positive change in that neighborhood. Over the years, taxes have increased along with other normal expenses. When the Treme area was filled with drug sales and use, many didn't want anything to do with that section of town. It was OK for people of color to live in those rundown blighted houses. Since Katrina, investors took advantage of the low-cost sales and started to upgrade the houses. Now, Treme is considered a desirable community, causing property and taxes to rise to an unmanageable rate for those of us who saw the eventual potential of Treme and invested considerable amounts of money years before the destruction of the 2005 storm of the century.
It wasn't easy, but I have maintained my building's historical appearance for the past 23 years, and now that there is an opportunity to reap a substantial benefit through the short-term rental program, I cannot participate. My opinion is that people like me who invested when profits just paid the mortgage should be grandfathered into the short-term program. I was there when it wasn't convenient, but the people who moved in now that it's considered "the place to be" think I shouldn't be a part of the city plans. As always, greed and government administration have no soul when it comes to moving individuals like me aside for the new locals who want my property. Every day, I get a real estate postcard offering to buy my property, but I'm not selling. I am extremely disappointed in my hometown for not giving more consideration to those of us who made the initial efforts to clean up New Orleans.