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New Orleans’ Saint Claude Corridor is a dynamic thoroughfare, a dividing line between two faces of New Orleans: poor and gentrifying, native and transplant. In the span of three blocks, we got a huge range of answers when we asked folks to finish the sentence: you know you’re wealthy when…
You know you’re wealthy when…
“You know you’re wealthy when you stop working before you’re thirty,” says Austin Todd, a 19 year old who lives uptown, but works at a scooter shop on Saint Claude Avenue. He says his chances of retiring before thirty are “not too hot,” but he likes working.
The finer things
Catherine Markel owns a band new wine shop on Saint Claude Avenue, not far from her home in Faubourg Marigny. Markel says she knows she’s one of the luckiest people on the planet, and whenever she catches herself complaining about not being able to find something like arugula at the grocery store, she reminds herself: “This is a first world problem.”
Money is no object
“You know you’re wealthy when you never have to look at a price tag when shopping,” says Sonya Shorty Hill, a full time student who lives in Gentilly. The only time she’s never looked at a price tag is in the dollar store. But, she sometimes finds herself asking, “How much is this?”
You can relate
“You know you’re wealthy when you watch and relate to the TV show, Girls,” says Brian Boyajian, who repairs bikes and delivers pizza near his home in Bywater. Boyajian’s never seen Girls, but from what he gathers, the characters have little in common with the people he knows.
Foot the bill
“You know you’re wealthy when your bills are paid,” says Jarvar White, an electrician from New Orleans East standing outside ACE Cash Express. “Even when you’re wealthy, you have problems,” says Jarvar, but at least you can live comfortably when your bills are paid.
“You know you’re wealthy when you ain’t got to lock your door with a bungee cord,” says Ernest Taylor, a retired construction worker from the 7th Ward. “When you can lock your door, and then put your seat belt on,” Taylor continues, “that’s when you know you’re wealthy.”
Free to wonder
“You know you’re wealthy when you can buy an RV and travel around the United States and not think twice about it,” says Sarah Fugler, who lives in Broadmoor, and whose job is processing donated paint at The Green Project, a warehouse store selling recycled building materials.
Turn a profit
“You know you’re wealthy when you’re profiting from skyrocketing rents rather than paying from them,” says John Gerken, whose bicycle repair shop is near his home in Bywater. Gerken says New Orleans is still perceived as an inexpensive place to live, but the rents here are as high as in other cities, even though the wages are much lower.
Have your cake and eat it too
“You know you’re wealthy when you can eat whatever you want for dinner,” says Kaiti Tasker, an environmental coordinator at a New Orleans nonprofit.” Tasker has been eating rice and beans all week, and after a long, hard day, she’s fantasizing about a dinner of macaroni and cheese (made with really expensive cheeses), or butternut squash ravioli.
‘Tis better to give than to receive
“You know you’re wealthy when you constantly give away money,” says Eugene Cox, a builder who lives in Bywater. Cox says a lot of people who have money, don’t want to give it away. “They hold onto it. They’re clinging. But I always think that if you give it away you have wealth beyond the money.”
Check out other photos from around the globe in the interactive map above. And see more from our series to find out what Washington, D.C. residents had to say about wealth in the nation’s capital and to hear from Southern Californians we encountered along the boardwalk in Venice Beach.
And let us know how you would answer that question on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter — use the hashtag #YouAreWealthyWhen.
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