Reader Feedback: Welcome to Ghirardelli City

antigravity_vol13_issue7_Page_04_Image_0002Last month we ran a critical piece on the newly opened St. Roch Market, written by Andru Okun. As always with matters food-related, New Orleanians responded in droves. Here are some of your comments from emails, comments, and Facebook posts. Bon Appetit!


“The St. Roch Market was to return to the neighborhood as providing fresh food in a food desert, designed to meet the needs of the neighborhood. It clearly has failed to do so.” —Lynn Cowles

“How are you going to have this long of an article on the local food movement and never discuss the impacts on the folks that produce your food? It’s kind of crazy how often farmers and food industry workers get left out of these types of conversations.” —Teal Brooks

“It would appear that the refusal to accept SNAP for the handful of items that do qualify is the plainest and most damning evidence that the St. Roch Market was never intended for the entire community, just the more economically stable residents of the neighborhood. Not accepting SNAP payments is no different than putting up a sign stating ‘poor people are not welcome’” —TurkeyMuffin

“This article is so unnecessarily negative and mean spirited toward the local vendors who are putting forth a creative, affordable and amazingly modern take on the historic Market. Conveniently, the author’s derisive list of the various vendors leaves out Elysian Seafood, which sells fresh seafood at good prices 7 days a week and has a weekly boil. Also, the produce at St. Roch Forage is great and cheap. How disheartening it must be for these nice, hard working vendors who just opened to read something like this that spreads disinformation and is not true! There is a grocery store that sells basic staples and accepts SNAP literally across the street. There is also a produce and seafood market 1 mile away at the French Market. There is also Circle Foods grocery store 1 mile away. What exactly is the author wishing would have opened here? The false critique that there isn’t seafood anymore really perplexes me. How much seafood are people in this neighborhood demanding??” Sim1

“So what’s the answer? Let the hipsters burn it down next time? Let it go back to being a blighted collapsing building, and insist that the next owner (if there is one) be an anarchist who will offer damaged vegetables for free to all the smelly credit-card trust-fund crusties begging for weed money on the corner of St. Claude and Elysian Fields?” —happydog

antigravity_vol13_issue7_Page_04_Image_0001“All the clever wording doesn’t disguise this article’s pandering to the poor artists and other ‘been here my whole life’ common folk. Money talks and when enough people with it decide on developing neighborhoods, it’s going to happen. Those old Navy shipyards in the Bywater are going to become a port for Disney cruise ships. That whole riverfront will be condos. The people who will live there will afford to live there. The poor artistic folk will move on somewhere else and the cycle will begin again… This is also happening in Central City along Oretha Castle Haley but no one cares because Central City is practically a warzone and not as many white kids have their drum circles there.” —Nola Trash Talk

“Imagine how much the seafood and produce would have cost if the city went with an actual market. There is no way the food would have been affordable with the overhead the city is charging due to the renovations.” —Jof

“Whether or not you support St. Roch Market, it is exploiting the direct low-income communities. That’s the whole point of this article: money supposedly dedicated to helping low-income communities was instead used to build an establishment for upper- middle class people, all while shaping the narrative that the market is bolstering those low- income communities.” —MxD “Food desert does not apply to this area. Save-a-Lot is a short walk away and they accept SNAP; as does Circle Foods, Family Dollar, General Dollar, and the Food Co-op along with many small ‘convenience’ stores nearby… Yes tax money went in to renovate this historic but abandoned (10 years!) building. The building is beautifully restored; many neighbors are working in it, LOCAL entrepreneurs are taking a big step toward becoming business owners. One business, La Charcuterie, is expanding into the here-to-fore languishing blue blighted building across the street. And white privileged out-of-town vandals can bemoan the injustice of it all. Boo hoo! Economic Displacement (not gentrification) is the greater issue here, not a food court for average wage earners like me.” —Voodoopig

“Interesting piece—but wait until the Jack & Jake’s Market opens in Central City—crystal chandeliers and French antiques supported by a million dollars from the city to address “food deserts.” Can’t wait to shop for $40/pound cheeses—a great “food access” project. J&J will make Balducci’s look like Sav a Lot, and the public is helping pay for it with all kinds of subsidies. What long-time members of a community want and need is completely disregarded when there’s money to be made, and “artisan” local products can be fawned over by people with sick amounts of money.” —dj2500

“It isn’t development itself, it’s the pace and source of the change. The pace purposefully undermines the coping mechanisms of the free market and of government that are meant to balance such things. And the source is increasingly outside the community (and colluding with those meant to represent the community). It is not, therefore, an investment strategy, but rather an extraction strategy. They are mining wealth at a furious pace with the blessings of those people, in the private or public sphere, who are charged with keeping guard against such short-sighted operations.” — caspian915 

Don’t miss Okun’s follow-up in this issue…