Good news: the Faubourg Marigny has been named one of the “10 Great American Neighborhoods” by the American Planning Association. But what makes a great neighborhood, by APA standards?
“They are enjoyable, safe and desirable. They are places where people want to be — not only to visit, but to live and work every day. America’s truly great streets, neighborhoods and public spaces are defined by many criteria, including architectural features, accessibility, functionality and community involvement.”
Frankly, I think the Marigny fits that bill to a tee. My friends from out of town often comment on the neighborhood vibe, how it’s walkable, relatable, manageable. How we speak to one another, say hello on the street (usually). We’ve got a good mix of inhabitants, rich and poor; straight and gay; black and white; steampunk, hipster, and square. If only we had a grocery store, we’d be freakin’ Mayberry. You know, just like Lincoln, Nebraska, Fargo, North Dakota, and everyone else on the APA list.
Bad news: St. Louis Cemetery No. 2 and Phillis Wheatley Elementary School are among 93 sites from 47 countries named to the World Monument Fund’s 2010 “Watch List” for endangered architecture. That list focuses on “cultural heritage sites worldwide that are endangered by neglect, overdevelopment, vandalism or disaster.” Funny thing is, many people come to New Orleans precisely because of the decay — and its etymological cousin, decadence. But I suppose there are limits to the romance of all that.