NEW ORLEANS -- At 71-years-old, Sylvester Marshall's seen it all. Living in the 7th Ward, what he is seeing now is the high costs of living.
"Before Katrina, rent was like $500, $600. You know what I'm saying? Now, after Katrina ... it's like $900, maybe a thousand dollars a month," Marshall said.
It is something that Marshall says he cannot afford.
Adding to the frustration, Marshall and his neighbors say they're dealing with increasing crime, lack of job opportunities and education.
"We're a bunch of forgotten people," Marshall said. :Our voices are not being heard."
Marshall, like all New Orleans voters, hopes political candidates running for mayor and city council change that.
Wednesday night, incumbents and candidates running for City Council Districts C and D answered tough questions, speaking directly to voters.
Step Up Louisiana, VOTE, Red Flame Hunters, the Original Big 7 and Black Feather organized the forum.
District C incumbent Nadine Ramsey, District C Candidate Kristin Palmer, and District D Candidate Joel Jackson addressed mass incarceration, crime, community schools, jobs and affordable housing.
"It's a city-wide issue," Moderator Karl Washington said, "I mean, the French Quarter is different because of their economic base, but when you got the East, you got Treme, you got C and D, 6th Ward, 7th Ward, 8th Ward. It's housing. It's crime. It's adequate jobs."
These issues are why Marshall is now earning his bachelor's degree. He may be 71, but he has high hopes for himself and high hopes that these candidates can deliver on their promise of change.
"I wish somebody hear my voice crying in the wilderness. We need help! You know. Don't talk about it, be about it," Marhsall said.
Step Up Louisiana says if you missed tonight's forum, there will be another one later this month. It will be held on Aug. 24 at 6 p.m. at the St. Roch Community Church.
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