Duany on Restoring New Orleans

Andrés Duany observes that American planners and architects are misunderstanding New Orleans by thinking of it as an American city rather than a Caribbean one.

"I remember specifically when on a street in the Marigny I came upon a colorful little house framed by banana trees. I thought, "This is Cuba," (I am Cuban). I realized in that instant that New Orleans is not really an American city, but rather a Caribbean one.

Looking through the lens of the Caribbean, New Orleans is not among the most haphazard, poorest or misgoverned American cities, but rather the most organized, wealthiest, cleanest, and competently governed of the Caribbean cities. This insight was fundamental because from that moment I understood New Orleans and began to truly sympathize. Like everyone, I found government in this city to be a bit random; but if New Orleans were to be governed as efficiently as, say, Minneapolis, it would be a different place – and not one that I could care for. Let me work with the government the way it is.

It is the human flaw that makes New Orleans the most humane of American cities. (New Orleans came to feel so much like Cuba that I was driven to buy a house in the Marigny as a surrogate for my inaccessible Santiago de Cuba.)"

Full Story: Restoring the Real New Orleans

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