Thursday, October 23, 2008

Site #29 Morgana King "I Miss My Neighbors" June 2008; 610 Lesseps, Upper 9th Ward (*NLP)

(*NLP = No Longer Physical)

"Since Hurricane Katrina, the city of New Orleans population has been cut down to roughly a third of its size, leaving neighborhoods full of abandoned houses. On top of people choosing not to return, the city has still not redeveloped public housing units at all – 2.5 years later. This is a major source of controversy because it is widely believed that the government, through its neglect, is intentionally keeping poor, black and elderly people from returning to their homes. One of these vacant small brick apartment buildings is across the street from my house, where I lived before the storm.
I spent the year after the hurricane away from New Orleans and missed everything about my old life. When I finally did return, I was saddened by how much it had lost - especially the people who were missing. Many slogans have been made into T-shirts and yard signs promoting levee protection, or railing against FEMA, and I was always trying to come-up with my own phrase that would sum up my feelings living in this strange abandoned place. It came to me one day, and I think it sums up my local feelings about the specific people I miss on my street and addresses the city's Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) inaction. I feel that this slogan is relevant to everyone in New Orleans. The slogan is: "I Miss My Neighbors".
I created a large handmade banner that stretched above the railing on the second floor balcony of the afore-mentioned abandoned building on my street. On the boarded up windows and doors of the building I painted remembrances of people who used to live there. Like the loud guy who lived in the corner apartment who would always shout "Hey Neighbor!" and "Howdy!" when I was on the street. Or the elderly lady who would sit on a chair on the balcony for hours and hours everyday. I don't intend for this work to be overtly political - I feel this statement is more about sharing a personal feeling." - Morgana King