After wading through the crowds brought on by Bayou Classic, I went to Robert’s (pronounced Ro-bears) to get ingredients for grilled cheese and some beer. Robert’s like my apartment not far away, is in the Marigny-Bywater area, largely black in population and poor. I think Sheri and I are the only white people on our whole block, not because I count myself by what around me is not like me but because we have not been warmly welcomed on the block, even though we try to be friendly and inviting. Most of the patrons of Robert’s have their hair in curlers, their feet in slippers and their kids in some state on anarchy on the streets, unmonitored, which makes me terrified to drive since few of the kids on bikes pay attention to traffic and don’t wear reflective clothing.

On my way out of the store, some employee was handing out ads for a new cell phone sale, and my heart sank. I can’t afford a cell phone, despite that I don’t want one, and I live in a neighborhood where you would assume no one can afford them. Well, affording them (or needing them) seldom seems to stop anyone these days, and it angers me, considering where money would be better spent.

I know there is no one way to rectify poverty, that simply being realistic is not always enough to get you by, but then to have everyone telling you that the delusions are what you should be striving for, isn’t helping. I don’t know who is more to blame, the companies that target these impoverished areas to buy into their products or the people who let them in, into their pockets, their homes, and their supermarkets.

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