Desire Neighborhood: Destroyed to build Desire Housing Development

A perspective from a former Desire neighborhood resident.

As a former resident of the Desire neighborhood, I am taking the opportunity to defend the integrity of our African-American community in the Upper Ninth Ward. These photographs depict our neighborhood in the late 1940s, however humble it might appear to have been.

These photographs document the neighborhood and family history seemingly lost after our neighborhood was destroyed in the late 1940s in order to create the largest housing development in New Orleans.

When viewing the photo of Mr. Norton, one will also see a small tavern across the street from our home; we actually called the taverns beer gardens back in those days. That particular tavern was the last one on Desire street. There were four other bigger beer gardens on Desire between our home and Florida Avenue. Fats Domino played at Edwin's place on Desire Street when he was just getting started.

I remember hearing many songs from those places because the juke boxes were hooked up to speakers on the outside of the taverns to draw customers. Since we didn't have street lights in the area, the lights of the taverns gave some comfort from the darkness as one walked down the street at night. Some of the following information is excerpted from my longer manuscript titled Winter Crow.