If you’ve ever been to historic Fifth Ward you may have passed through Frenchtown. It’s an area that’s bordered by the Eastex Freeway and Brewster Street runs through it. The community was originally settled back in the 1920’s by mainly Black Frenchmen from Louisiana. Their ancestry can be traced in some or fashion back to France via the Bayou State. The Frenchmen came to Texas mainly as skilled and semi-skilled workers who worked for the railroad. The group brought with them their rich culture of Zydeco music, Creole cuisine and Catholicism. Frenchtown in northeast Houston became their home and their pride. But fast forward about 80 years and the original settlers would be embarrassed. The Insite made a stop in the area to get video of overgrown and abandoned lots. I had no problem finding them. But I was really surprised at the bad condition parts of the historic area were in. Wall to wall trash with neglected land and dilapidated housing. The current residents say it feels as if they’ve lost control. I also ran into Pastor Amos Cruz of Nazareth Christian Family Center located on Brewster. He says they’ve worked with city officials in the area but residents also need to begin to care about their community before the problems can be completely addressed. Cruz says the problems are mounting. He says there is prostitution, gang activity, drug dealing, loitering and lots of littering. The Pastor is hoping city officials seriously push a program that would turn neglected lots into small urban farms. He says that’s a start but much more must be done than block by block band aids. Another resident who didn’t want to be identified says those who remain in Frenchtown which include Hispanics as well as African Americans now must take pride in the neighborhood before there can be a real change for the better. He says until then – Frenchtown is destined for a slow death. From what the Insite witnessed the body is already cold!

Question: What will it take to save Frenchtown or is it too late already?

Note: There are still some homes and properties where people take care of what they own in Frenchtown but there’s also a lot of what you see here on The Insite – dilapidation!