Olive’s Garden: Gentrified Chicken

Olivia Williams, Campus Currents

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Gentrification is defined as the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents.

Following the floods of Hurricane Katrina, many new Orleanians, mostly those who were poor and black residents of the ninth ward, were displaced from their homes. This only jump started what politicians in New Orleans wanted to do all along. The flooding gave them an excuse. This process has been swallowing up urban neighborhoods in New Orleans and making its way to Baton Rouge, especially those in “Mid City.”

Mid City Baton Rouge, centered along Government Street, has become the city’s “creative hub,” a hotspot for new homeowners and small entrepreneurs. Many of Mid City’s oldest residents are African-American and are facing concerns of being pushed out of their neighborhood due to the new developments. They have discussed these concerns with councilwoman Tara Wicker who says that this process is unavoidable.

Gentrification is one and the same with cultural appropriation. While appropriation is the robbing of culture, it is enable through gentrification. While hipsters take over urban neighborhoods otherwise considered dangerous or insignificant because of their black and poorer residents and make livings of their “aesthetic.” Not only in homes, but in businesses too. Black people are being pushed out of their neighborhoods, one brightly painted coffee shop at a time.

It’s not fair.

Gentrification is killing the black community. It is inherently racist. Officials try to make gentrification seem like a ploy to better urban neighborhoods when its only real motive is money. It’s a part of America’s oppressive capitalism. It is a contributing factor of the deterioration of education in urban areas. The history that bound these neighborhoods together since the beginning is erased with plots of hipster burger joints.

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