Friday, March 19, 2010
The Death of Cafe 641 and the Fate of 1,500 Season Ticket Holders
In New Orleans, especially the new and resurrected New Orleans, we understand the necessity for change, even change that involves sacrifice--maybe especially change that involves sacrifice.
We need to remind the executives of the New Orleans Saints about just how creative New Orleanians are.
Right now, according to this (and confirmed by my conversation with Chef Who Dat), 1,500 season ticket holders (including Chef and his merry band in Cafe 641) are homeless this season and perhaps forever. In order to build a new press box (which everyone supports), the Saints are telling 1,500 people in the top of the Terrace that they have no seats for next year.
This cannot stand.
The old New Orleans would be complaining and whining right now, looking for conspiracies, and so on.
The new New Orleans assumes we are all in this together--including the executives of the Saints--and searches for creative solutions that bring renewed life to our community.
So here's my solution:
For the next season or two, while the Dome reconfiguration goes on, put those 1,200 people on the floor of the Dome, in temporary bleachers. Their view won't be great, but I have no doubt they will love it. Do you know how great it will be to look down from the Terrace and see former roofbangers whooping it up on the field for a season or two? Those roofbangers will surely miss their usual perch, but I think they would be willing to sit in bleachers for a couple of years in the name of progress.
Those displaced neighborhoods would become something special for the rest of the Dome and the whole region--a symbol of what New Orleans is doing to get better, and the creative and humane ways we are doing it.
With this kind of creative solution, the Saints will be heroes. Without it--with the current "Final Solution" they have in place--it's going to get old-New-Orleans ugly.
Nobody wants that.
Killing the Dome neighborhoods of 1,500 people? Imagine plowing under Treme or the Irish Channel.
We don't do that here.
C'mon, Saints. I know you're just as creative as we are. We can turn a death into a resurrection, just like we always do in New Orleans.