By Bianca Silva

When Haitian-American photographer Richard Louissaint lived in the Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant sections of Brooklyn several years ago, he began to notice the rapid gentrification taking place.

From 2011 to 2012, he photographed the businesses he frequented along the strip from Nostrand to Franklin Avenues and interviewed Caribbean business owners who were seeing the changes unfolding before their eyes. Mom-and-pop shops where the owners spoke Haitian Creole were either vacant or had transformed into trendy eateries.

Now, Louissaint, 42,  has the opportunity to further document these changes through the Haitian Cultural Exchange (HCX), a nonprofit organization supporting the Haitian arts and culture community in New York City. His project, Istwa Nan Je Yo, Haitian Creole for “history in their eyes,” focuses on Haitian immigrants in East Flatbush whose businesses are responding to the effects of gentrification.  


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