A Place Called Desire documentary will show how the effects of two powerful, catastrophic disasters, took aim on this once tight-knit community. These disasters are only intensified by the lack of movement from the local, state and federal governments. The goal is to show how residents and former residents are left with a feeling of being forgotten. The clouds of abandonment and homelessness hang low over the once thriving community of Desire. The payoff for its residents from a long-awaited class-action suit involving the Agriculture Street Landfill added insult to injury to this community that hangs by a thin thread.
Contrary to what the public was led to believe, there was a sense of normalcy growing up in the community of Desire. We were self-contained, a concept that is quickly catching on in the rest of the nation. This concept already had been in practice in Desire. There were churches of various denominations, schools (both public and private), shopping, eating establishments, food trucks, parks for children to run and play, and community centers for after-school tutoring and activities. Desire’s most prominent citizens, our seniors, were unfortunately housed in an apartment complex that was located in the neighborhood that would later be labeled a Superfund Site. The community’s past – our seniors, and our future – the students of an elementary school, would all fall susceptible to possible life-threatening health issues.
Homeowners shared streets with renters and there was an abundance of government-subsidized housing where many family units dreamed of homeownership. A predominately African-American community, our families participated in the same rituals of other surrounding areas; birthday parties in the shaded backyards, grass mowing, planting of vegetables, and just enjoying life outdoors were constant happenings in the community of Desire. Little did we know that these rituals would rip apart our community and then would be further attacked by Hurricane Katrina.
Leslie Smith Everage