More Algiers impressions
Twenty years ago, Algiers Point was an unbelievably dangerous, drug and crime-infested part of Algiers. Even now, the house in which my boyfriend was murdered in 1977 still stands – a gray, dismal, rundown shotgun that looks just as dilapidated as it ever did.
Yet much of the Point is lovely now, with children, families, couples, and singles on the streets, walking about, playing, visiting... Homes are (mostly) well-kept, yards are immaculate, and while there’s still tremendous work to be done, I didn’t feel the depression that pervades the rest of the city.
I’ve read endlessly online (particularly post-Katrina) about Algiers Point, and how its gentrification is hurtful to long-time residents. Actually, it’s not all “gentrified”, and while those houses that have been rehabilitated and restored have increased tremendously in value, the biggest changes are in the spirit of community.
A fair amount of the Point is still – visually, at least – much as it’s been for many years… but it doesn’t have that dangerous edge anymore. I saw the Point as one of the most upbeat and hopeful places in the city. I was so very impressed by what is happening there, I can hardly give voice to it… and most amazingly, it has almost nothing to do with Katrina.
Algiers Point has something that cannot be bought at any price. It has civic pride.
What they've done can be done elsewhere. It can happen. It's kind of like that brass ring... you just have to reach out and grab it.
You have to want it.