In the years since Hurricane Katrina, the modern-day bohemians of New Orleans have found themselves forced to the edges of poverty by the new tourist economy. Modeling his work after George Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London, the sociologist and ethnographer Peter J. Marina explores this unfamiliar side of the gentrifying "new" New Orleans. In 1920s Paris, Orwell witnessed an influx of locals and outsiders seeking authenticity while struggling to live with bourgeois society. Marina finds a similar ambivalence in New Orleans: a tourism-dependent city whose commerce caters largely to well-heeled natives and upper-class travelers, where many creative locals and wanderers have remained outsiders, willingly or otherwise.
Marina does not merely interview these spirited urban misfits-he lives among them. Down and Out in New Orleans follows their journeys, depicting the lives of those on the social fringes of a resilient city. Marina finds work as a bartender, street mime, and poet. Along the way, he visits homeless shelters, squats in abandoned buildings, attends rituals in cemeteries, and befriends writers, musicians, occultists, and artists as they look for creative solutions to the contradictory demands of late capitalism. Marina does for New Orleans what Orwell did for Paris a century earlier, providing a rigorous, unrelenting, and original glimpse into the subcultures of a city in rapid change.
Peter J. Marina
Foreword, by David Brotherton
1. New Orleans: Romancing the City of Sin and Resistance
2. The Hard and Soft City: A Portrait of New Orleans Neighborhoods and Their Characters
3. Living Down and Out in New Orleans
4. Buskers, Hustlers, and Street Performers
5. The Informal Nocturnal Economy of Frenchmen Street
6. City Squatting and Urban Camping
7. Occultists and Satanists
8. Gentrification and Violent Cultural Resistance
9. Hipster Wonderland
10. Brass Bands and Second Lines
Conclusion: The Fogs of New Orleans and the Future of the Crescent City