In our viewing of Brooklyn Matters, we saw the citizens of the community feel many different emotions toward their new basketball stadium. Many were excited over new job opportunities or a new team, while others were angry about the loss of public space. Working-class citizens, many of which were looking for a job, believed the construction needed for the stadium would create opportunities that were lacking. Others thought they could receive a job working inside the arena after construction was over. Many locals viewed the new stadium as extra traffic and an obstruction of space.
Unfortunately in Brooklyn, the outcome of the stadium was viewed as negative, due to outside construction companies taking over the project. While the film focused specifically on the events leading up to the stadiums opening, I plan to explore what happens both before and after opening.
During major construction events, many civilians are uninformed, often by choice, about the events taking place. Without reading about the causes and effects or discovering who is directly effected, most people rely on what they are told by others. “The majority of individuals therefore rely on others (in particular the media) to assist them in the formation of a political opinion (Paul and Brown, 2001)”(Greenberg, p.11). Media typically talks about what they are paid the most to say, which in cases such as this the elites are behind the words. Knowing that public support won’t come easy, they allow news outlets to speak about only the benefits of “new advancements.” “Messages presented by the powerful leaders of referenda shape citizens’ attitudes about the issue”(Greenberg, p.11). Without knowledge of any potential risks or damages, the uninformed allow the elites to sneak by. While Greenberg and others remain focused on the negatives presented during construction, they fail to grasp the positives that follow.
Driven From New Orleans tells us about the suffering of the city before and after Hurricane Katrina. While the black community suffered before the hurricane, blacks as a whole were essentially left to fend for themselves during and after. However, one place attempted to help the community, no matter what race, during the disaster. The Superdome, home of the New Orleans Saints football team, sheltered anyone who needed refuge. While conditions may have been haunting, the dome kept them alive. The worsening conditions eventually led to a sense of community for those trapped there. “As evacuees faced these external forces, their internal stories and experiences reflected a sense of community and family support. One overwhelming similarity between accounts of being in the Superdome focused on people relying on each other, helping each other out, and sticking together”(Knoettgen, p.81). After the hurricane passed and the media was able to capture the images of the city, the image of a beaten Superdome became the image of the city. The stadium was ripped apart, trashed, unusable, but still standing. After over a year, the stadium was refurbished and hosted one of the most monumental sporting events in our nations history. For those who were able to come back to New Orleans, this was their moment of realization that “Once an emblem of all that went wrong, the Superdome has since been used as a symbol of success in recovery”(Knoettgen, p.83). Knoettgen describes how he saw whites, blacks, latinos, men, women, children, elderly, gay, straight, and disabled fill the seats. While most of these spectators were likely not the ones trapped inside during the hurricane, the stadium gave the feel that all people could unite in support of the Saints. As Knoettgen explored New Orleans, he found that “The concept of the Who Dat Nation did more for the New Orleans community than simply creating the appearance of similarity during Saints games. The collective acts contributed to the creation of a Who Dat identity that transcended football games and was on display throughout New Orleans daily life”(Knoettgen, p.123).
Many in New Orleans still suffer today from the effects of Hurricane Katrina. Others may suffer due to any jobs or housing possibly lost during the construction of the Superdome. Unfortunately, no plan is perfect and someone, typically the poor, suffers for the benefit of others. While many people struggle to regroup after these constructions, we cannot speak of the bad without at least providing the good.
Greenberg, M. A.A game of millions: Professional sports facilities and the media’s influence on the agenda setting process(Order No. AAI3414907). Available from Sociological Abstracts. (862599380; 201112304). Retrieved from http:// ezproxy.umw.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/ 862599380?accountid=12299
Knoettgen, C.We are the ‘who dat’ nation: City identity, narratives of renewal, and football fandom in new orleans public realm(Order No. AAI3525522). Available from Sociological Abstracts. (1520318899; 201421591). Retrieved from http:// ezproxy.umw.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/ docview1520318899? accountid=12299