New Orleanians Get Too Negative

It was a glorious weekend to be in New Orleans.

It was the last Sunday of the Jazz and Heritage Festival, Santana had just finished his set and the Neville Bothers were about to take the stage. My friend Ted Jones and I were sitting under the big chief tent adjacent to the Acura stage.

A man from New York and his wife sat in front of us. The man turned and struck a conversation with us about what it is like being in New Orleans post hurricane Katrina. He told us that he had been coming to New Orleans since 1975; he added that he was happy to see such a unique city on the come back. He extolled the wonder of our music, food, culture, spirituality and our humanity.

It was after that conversation that I began to think about how negative some of us are when it comes to appreciating what we have as a city. To listen to some of us, every politician is a crook, every agency is dysfunctional, every cause is wrong headed, and all the people are of less than average intelligence.

I wonder what we could accomplish if we all adopted a sense of positive energy about our city and about ourselves. Can you recall how it uplifting it was in the chaotic days immediately following hurricane Katrina – when we were all pulling together to help each other get back on our feet? Let us try to recapture that commitment and concentrate on making things work. What do you think?




  1. I encounter that sort of negativity from time to time among locals, but I sure don’t share it. I feel fortunate each day to live and play music in this city, and there’s nothing that could make me leave. It’s been challenging for the past for years, and it’s a simple fact that Katrina (with help) has given folks lots to complain about so we all have to cut each other some slack on the tough days. But even those that may complain from time to time must want to be here because of all that’s special about New Orleans, or they wouldn’t be here at all. I love my city and I love my neighbors, and better and better days are ahead for all of us.

  2. What? Norman, you spent 2 years post Katrina with the most hate filled half hour in television – your “Hot Seat”. You asked awful questions and gave people ten seconds to answer, you made up controversies so you had something to talk about…have you decided to reform?

  3. Unfortunately I share that negativity. I moved back to New Orleans, my home town, in July ’07. Rent was too high, taxes were too high, and there are more crooks than kind-hearted people out there. I work for the City of New Orleans in a capacity where I see residents at their lowest points everyday. I long for the day when I hear someone say, “I’m so glad I came back home to New Orleans.” That sentiment really is not shared by many. I work my butt off and risk my life everyday for a city that doesn’t care about me. If it did I would be able to get help financing a house in Orleans Parish, and my children would get an education comparable to what they received in Northeren Lousiana over the past 2 years. In many respects it is great to be home, but where it really counts….I’m not so sure.

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