Monday, December 19, 2005

Cyril Neville says no to N'awlins

Looks like the Nevilles will opt out of "New" New Orleans unless the rebuilding includes more black ownership.

Cyril Neville says no to N'awlins: "Entertainment Archive

Cyril Neville says no to N'awlins

December 15, 2005

BY DAVE HOEKSTRA Staff Reporter


During a heartfelt conversation before embarking on the train journey, Neville explained he and his wife, Gaynielle, have bought a home in Austin, Texas..

'Would I go back to live?' Neville asked. 'There's nothing there. And the situation for musicians was a joke. People thought there was a New Orleans music scene -- there wasn't. You worked two times a year: Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest. The only musicians I knew who made a living playing music in New Orleans were Kermit Ruffins and Pete Fountain. Everyone else had to have a day job or go on tour. I have worked more in two months in Austin than I worked in two years in New Orleans..........................

'I am not a fish,' he said. 'I cannot live under 6 feet of water. In the 9th Ward and Gentilly they are going to do mass buyouts, bulldoze everything and make it green space. In my estimation, those are golf courses and other places where African-American people won't be welcome. There's nothing wrong with my house except that water destroyed everything we had in it. The foundation is fine. The house is still there. Same thing with our neighbors. So what are they talking bulldozing?".....................

"People are talking to me, but some of the people I know went through much more than I did. There are 3,000 children missing in New Orleans. [The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children places the figure at 1,300.] Hundreds of bodies are waiting to be identified. The people of New Orleans have been scattered to the four winds. Their lives were determined by people in Washington and Baton Rouge before the storm hit. Without African Americans having ownership, economic equity and the same type of things the French Quarter gets -- like tax cuts -- the city will never be the same. The 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th Wards should have their own tourist commission. Build our own hotels and restaurants in those areas. The key is ownership. Then I would think about going back and living there. But we're still practicing American democracy. How can we ever bring it to somebody else?"


It is a good read. He is currently on tour with Arlo Guthrie. A twelve day Amtrack journey from Chicago to New Orleans, to raise money for Katrina victims.

2 comments:

doctorj2u said...

The people that truly love the city stay and fight for her. The Neville Brothers have been milking the "New Orleans" image for years, but when the city needs Cyrill where is he? Austin, TX. It will be interesting to see what kind of reception he recieves at Jazzfest this year.

doctorj2u said...

New Orleans columnist Chris Rose responds to Cyril:
"And then there's Cyril Neville. What a prince this guy has turned out to be. Always the most vocal of the Neville Brothers and permanently relocated to Austin, Cyril said this in an interview with the Chicago Sun Times last week: "Would I go back to live? There's nothing there. The situation for musicians was a joke. People thought there was a New Orleans music scene; there wasn't. The only musicians I knew who made a living playing music in New Orleans were Kermit Ruffins and Pete Fountain. Everyone else had to have a day job or go on tour. I have worked more in two months in Austin than I worked in two years in New Orleans. A lot of things about life in New Orleans were a myth."

Well, the first myth would be that Pete Fountain makes a living here. He closed his club and moved away more than two years ago, but Cyril's grip on the music scene has always been a little skewed. The notion that musicians would have to -- horrors! -- TOUR, of all things, is certainly something to consider since THAT'S WHAT MUSICIANS DO FOR A LIVING.

"I'm not mad at anybody," Cyril continued after more gratuitous trashing of the music scene here. "But at the same time, we put a lot into that city and never got what I think we should have got out of it."

Right. Let's see. We supported you in the beginning, gave you an audience, bought your records, made you stars, adored you, built your houses, paid for your cars, proclaimed you our heroes and gave you the backdrop upon which to conquer the world, and now we get this in return?

"For a lot of us, the storm is still happening," says the guy who can afford to relocate and make a great living off the name and reputation of New Orleans, while the rest of us either fight the battle on the street down here or -- worse -- can't even move back here to fight the fight.

Cyril, baby, the storm is where it's always been: In your head. Leave us behind, if you want. But, don't trash us. Not now. Not ever.

We gave you our love and our money. You just sing your songs of peace and love and keep selling the myth of New Orleans to line your pockets.

Let God and Congress finish us off, if you please. "

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