Paris is Singing! and Burning?

Katrina Relief Benefit Concert, American Cathedral, November 6, 2005

Paris is Singing! and Burning?

Parler Paris–your taste of life in Paris and France

Monday, November 7, 2005
Paris, France

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Dear Parler Paris Reader,

A packed house at the American Cathedral yesterday afternoon didn’t have a clue that outside the city’s “Périférique” and in towns across France, serious unrest ensued. Georgia native singer and composer Ammon Moore took center stage and led a talented crew of singers and musicians in performing Negro spirituals, gospel and blues in a concert organized by a long list of Franco-American organizations and volunteers to raise funds for Katrina Relief organizations: “Foundations for Recovery” and “Oxam America,” http://www.katrinafundfrance

News of the concert fundraiser had spread far and wide — even my mother now in her home in New Orleans had read about it in the local Times Picayune! At 30 euros a ticket, it drew an impressive showing of the American community. I hobbled in on crutches, one leg in a cast from last week’s fall tearing ligaments and damaging my mobility, taking the almost-front-row seats just behind the Ambassadors Connie (Constance A.) Morella to the OECD (Organization for
Economic Cooperation and Development) and Craig Roberts Stapleton, appointed by President Bush as the U.S. Ambassador to France.

The audience intently listened, clapped their hands and sang in unison to brilliant performances by Ammon Moore, Broadway musical star Ursuline Kairson, actress and Paris club singer Cynthia McPherson, opera diva Adèle Belmont, child prodigy 15-year-old Brian Levisalles, the Gospel Dream Choir and Louisiana native René Miller of the Wedding Band that regularly performs on the Pont Saint-Louis. Meanwhile, the rioting, car-burning and general unrest continues to spread outside Paris for the 12th night of violence.

To ignore the Paris riots would be irresponsible on my part, but I must tell you, that if it weren’t for my CNN news alerts, I wouldn’t know they were happening. That’s not to say that my head is “in the sand,” but living in central Paris, there has been no sign of the angered destruction taking place in the “banlieue” (suburbs) or in other parts of France — until last night, when a car was burned in the Marais.

I caution all those watching and reading American media so as not to overexaggerate the true situation. Remember that the American media is run by entertainment organizations that tend to sensationalize the news to build ratings. Remember that they usually take the same 20-second “sound bite” and run it every hour on the hour or more often leading you to believe the event is happening in continuous motion, rather than done and past. Remember that in Paris, the rich live in the center and the poor live in the suburbs — the opposite of the U.S. condition of the inner cities vs the wealthy “burbs.”

There is no question of the seriousness of the situation. For a very long time the poorly treated immigrant pot has been simmering and predictions of it coming to a boiling point have been whispered about. Now the time has come for France to pay for its mistakes vis a vis its poor and suffering immigrant population, mostly of North African and West African origin, who are jobless and grossly discriminated against. I remind myself that I, too, am an immigrant in France, but my white face and western background don’t threaten the French middle class.

Craig S. Smith of the New York Times reminds us that “Just two months ago, the French watched in horrified fascination at the anarchy of New Orleans, where members of America’s underclass were seen looting stores and defying the police in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.”

In his article “France Has an Underclass, but Its Roots Are Still Shallow” published November 6, 2005, he continues, “The corrosive gap between America’s whites and its racial minorities, especially African-Americans, is the product of centuries: slavery, followed by cycles of poverty and racial exclusion that denied generation after generation the best the United States could offer. France, on the other hand, is only beginning to struggle with a much newer variant of the same problem: the fury of Muslims of North African descent who have found themselves caught for three generations in a trap of ethnic and religious discrimination.”

Now both sides of the Atlantic are getting a taste for their just rewards. While the rioting is destructive, just like Katrina was, it sheds new light on problems that need to be addressed NOW, not tomorrow, and for our pain and suffering will come renewed enlightenment. Just like my cast will help heal my torn ligaments, so shall the uncorralled and violent expression strengthen the cause.

Call me the ultimate opt

imist as one of France’s more welcome immigrants, but I see a brighter future for an ailing community from a more tolerant government.

Paris is still Paris. Paris will always be Paris and this, too, shall pass.

Aa la prochaine…




Adrian Leeds

Editor, Parler Paris
Email [email protected]

P.S. Don’t forget to meet with me and other Parler Paris readers at Parler Paris Après Midi, tomorrow 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at La Pierre du Marais. For more information, visit /parlerparis/apresmidi.html

Special Notices


Read Jean Taquet’s latest November 2005 Practical Questions and Answers at /parlerparis/practicalanswers.html


The Invest in France Seminar previously scheduled for December 28, 2005 here in Paris has been postponed to March 2006 and is projected to be a full three-day Living and Investing in France Conference! New Orleans is also planned for this power-packed conference in May 2006. Stay tuned as the details unfold by visiting /frenchproperty/conference/index.html. To be on a special mailing list for more information about the events, email Schuyler Hoffman at [email protected]


To read comments from the attendees of the past Living and Investing in France Conference in San Francisco and the Invest in France Seminar in New York City, visit /frenchproperty/conference/conferencements.html and to see photos from all past events, visit /frenchproperty/conference/photos.html

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* Let us help you find your perfect Paris apartment. With a one-on-one consultation in person or by phone, you’ll get the answers you need and the help you want. Book your appointment today! /parlerparis/services/consultationservices.html

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* Get all the insider information about what there is to see and do in Paris, from and for the very active Black community. This is the first guide of its kind, totally devoted to Black Paris. Click here for more details.



Leeds Marais Apartment
Available in its entirety November 22 – 28, 2005

Located in a 17th century Le Marais Hotel Particulier, this 70 square
meter two-bedroom apartment with lots of light is nicely furnished and
is perfect for up to four people when rented in its entirety or a
single woman in the freshly renovated guest room when owner Adrian
Leeds is there.

Pictures and more details available at


For all short term rental apartments in Paris, take a look at
/parlerparis/apartments or
/frenchproperty/insider/longterm.html for long term


Come for a drink and to meet and chat with other readers in Paris:
The next gathering is November 8, 2005

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