Piece Comment

Review of Reimagining a New Orleans Icon: The Shotgun House

A good piece with a fresh angle (new to me, anyhow) on the rebuilding of New Orleans. This is a straightforward news feature--about a program to build stylish new homes based on the traditional shotgun house--but Eve Troeh does a nice job of giving the piece depth and texture. We hear voices from multiple perspectives and a couple of mini-scenes. Best of all, we meet a character with an emotional story: a homeowner, Timothy Holmes, who's chosen to buy one of the new houses in a tough neighborhood because of his family history there--a history that includes his mother's shooting death. Holmes is a cop who wants to serve as a role model in his community. Troeh returns to Holmes at the end of the piece as he talks about his plans to plant blueberry bushes just like the ones his grandma once had. Real life presented without sentimentality. A good drop-in feature for any news magazine or, say, a talk show on New Orleans or urban gentrification.