‘We’re Still Here Ya Bastards,’ by Roberta Brandes Gratz | NYTimes

Roberta Brandes Gratz is not concerned with the deep history of the city or its symbols. Early in “We’re Still Here Ya Bastards,” she writes, “I was not one of the millions who celebrated its music, food or rich diverse culture.” It’s a refreshing admission; too often enthusiasm for these aspects of the city verges on cloying romanticism. It’s the city’s density, its architecture, streetscape and potential that attract Gratz, an urbanist who has made New Orleans her second home.

Her subject is the resurgence of the city, through “old-fashioned volunteerism” and the determination of everyday people to prevail over dysfunction, corruption and contempt. An acolyte of Jane Jacobs, Gratz trails urban saviors, full of faith in the ­power and process of citizens organizing themselves against industry and government powers.

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How the People of New Orleans Rebuilt Their City
By Roberta Brandes Gratz