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Sasha Masakowski 

New Orleans native, jazz singer

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Photo by Cheryl Gerber

  I keep hearing national media sources claiming New Orleans is the fastest growing city in the U.S., and it's been amazing to watch the city expand.

  Certain elements of that growth are great — we all know New Orleans has a remarkable propensity to attract artists from every corner of the earth, and I see how our arts community has blossomed from that. However, with the influx of so many great artists — from actors to writers to musicians to chefs to fashion designers — I also witness the destruction of important New Orleans emblems and wonder why that is.

  Companies like The NOLA Project have made strides in strengthening our local theater scene, yet the iconic Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre was turned into a restaurant. Brilliant, talented musicians from all over the country have flocked to New Orleans to integrate into our music community, yet most of our prominent music clubs exclusively hire bands that cater to the New Orleans tourism machine. Beautifully designed new restaurants with nationally renowned chefs are popping up left and right, and yet a "Mid City Marketplace" housing only fast food chains opened up just blocks away from the New Orleans Museum of Art.

  I suppose you have to take the good with the bad. I just hope that with all this growth and expansion our culture doesn't get lost along the way. — AS TOLD TO ALEX WOODWARD

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