On the streets of Little Haiti, resentment is brewing in the air. The bright, cheerful neighborhood booms with friendly banter and greetings between neighbors, even early in the morning on a Monday. But the lightest of conversations turns sour when the discussion shifts to the neighborhood’s booming development.
“The developers come and make it almost impossible for a guy that makes under $25,000 a year to make it,” grumbles TiGeorges Laguerre, who runs Kafé Péyi. Laguerre’s Haitian cuisine made him famous in Los Angeles, but he came to Miami seeking Creole and a Haitian community. Now, he feels that familial atmosphere is about to disappear, a trend locals say is thanks to mass-development — as well as climate change.
In the midst of murals adorned with the Haitian flag and iconic Haitian figures, a number of small businesses have shuttered. To the side of a main road cutting through Little Haiti, a large-scale mural oversees one grassy vacant lot, partitioned by a fence strewn with campaign signs in advance of Tuesday’s primary elections. Bordering the area is another, larger lot, where a prominent billboard foreshadows Little Haiti’s imminent future: a wide-scale development project bringing 2,500 apartments and 27-story buildings to the neighborhood. Continue reading