People Get Ready

[ make levees, not war ]

I’m not supporting carpetbaggers anymore

Posted by schroeder915 on December 9, 2006

I went to my usual post-Katrina barber this afternoon. It’s a convenient walk from my post-Katrina apartment. It’s not a great place for a haircut. I just like it for the comfort of a decent haircut, average folks, and the familiar smell of a barber shop. I’m not sure I’ll go back after today.

The guy cutting my hair was very agreeable. No problem there. He made some small talk about holiday shopping. I said I was going down to Festivus on Sunday, and the Kingpin flea market, and would be browsing the shops on Magazine Street and the French Quarter for some uniquely New Orleans gifts.

One of the cultural benefits of living in a place like New Orleans is the rich diversity of locally-owned niche stores. We’ve already lost too many of them due to Hurricane Katrina, and to the failure of the Bush administration to support small business owners here.

The barber responded that he lived in Slidell and did all his Christmas shopping on Wednesday at the outlet mall in Biloxi. Yeah, forty percent off. No, he didn’t know if that was forty percent off of the usual prices, or forty percent off of inflated outlet prices. Aside from the fact that I’m glad I’m not getting any gifts from that guy, I thought to myself, “what a carpetbagger!”

I found it difficult to be sociable after that. The guy earns his living in New Orleans, lives on the North Shore, and doesn’t even patronize Louisiana businesses for the biggest shopping season of the year! That’s like eating seed before it’s sewn. He’s taking money from New Orleanians — many of whom are small business owners themselves, unsure how long they can hang on — and he’s spending their money across the state line in a mall, effectively exporting New Orleans dollars to another state in a crummy little franchise shopping mall.

If everyone did that, New Orleans would look like … well … Biloxi.


You can make a difference in New Orleans. Make a statement. Join the more than 350 people who have pledged make at least 25 percent of their holiday purchases in New Orleans. The goal is for 1000 people to pledge.

I think 25 percent is a pretty low target. I find that I’m far more productive, and find gifts that people appreciate more, when I shop in locally-owned businesses, because the creativity, craftsmanship, and quality is so much greater than one can find in a mall.

Find out who your local businesses are by using the Stay Local directory.

Happy holidays!


Community Gumbo – Stay Local this holiday season


Elizabeth Mullener – Your City is a Gift


Chris Rose – Shop or We’ll Drop


Mac Ball – Shop Locally for Our Sake


Patricia Livingston – Donate old blankets to pets at LA/SPCA


Judy Walker – Restock and Rejoice


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