We have neighbors again!

We’ve been the only people living for blocks in any direction, but now there are some Mexican guys living in the upper apartment of the house two doors down.

I know they’re Mexican because Johnny told me so. Johnny is the Indian-American slumlord who owns the four buildings immediately adjacent to ours. The Mexican guys are working for him.

Johnny talked to me about the probable demographic change of the neighborhood. He speculated that it would become more “Spanish,” and he praised the “Spanish” as “hard-working,” and he derided the former population of the neighborhood, talked about how they cultivated “every vice.”

I suspect the Mexican guys could very well be here illegally. It wouldn’t surprise me. Johnny hasn’t bothered with building permits, so why would he care about that? On the other hand, there are a lot of Latino workers here from Houston and Atlanta and other nearby metros, on a perfectly legal basis.

I’ve got no problem with the burgeoning Latino population in New Orleans, whether they are here legally or not. Anyone who is willing to come here and do the work that needs to be done is alright with me.

Decades ago, Mid-City used to have a high Latin population. But by the time Katrina came, the Latins had mostly moved to the suburbs, and our neighborhood was 70% black. Mid-City still had the biggest Latino percentage of any neighborhood in Orleans Parish, but it had shrunk to something like 10%.

Maybe I shouldn’t call Johnny a slumlord. He has improved the properties he owns, to some extent. He is fixing them up after the flood, which is more than can be said for some of the properties on our block.

I don’t know. It’s all very confusing. And I miss my old neighbors. But I welcome the new ones.

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