Sunday marked the third year running that a group of Midtown residents in Detroit celebrated a once forgotten character in the city’s history.
La Marche du Nain Rouge is the brainchild of Francis Grunow, a midtown resident and a big player in the turnaround of the historic Cass Corridor neighborhood. When I was in high school the area (which is part of greater Midtown) was #1 on the list of neighborhoods that you didn’t want to venture into at night. Today, however, it boasts some amazing new residential loft developments, authentic retail shops, great restaurants, and an energy approaching what you might find in some of the more well known “comeback” neighborhoods in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco.
The Marche itself is the product of energy, vision, and plain-old guts. Francis and his many compatriots didn’t ask permission to do the event, nor did they wait for someone to tell them that “it would be all right” (although I did notice that the city’s finest helped with traffic and street closures so the appropriate permits were eventually pulled). They just did it. With attendance topping 3,000 this year, the event seems destined to be here to stay- along with the fabulous neighborhood that plays the happy host.
What’s the lesson we can learn from this event? If you care about a place, then celebrate it. If you have a passion for it, then find others who share it. Then… let it all hang out!
“Over 300 years ago, around the same time the city of Detroit was founded, an evil was discovered in and around the city. An evil that has plagued the people and the city, and even wrecked havoc upon the founder of Detroit, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac. This ‘evil’ was said to have been a Nain Rouge, other wise known as the “red dwarf of Detroit.” This malevolent spirit cursed generations and brought ill tidings for many Detroiters. It wasn’t until La Marche du Nain Rouge, held the Saturday closest to the vernal (spring) Equinox, did the people of Detroit come together to abolish the Le Nain Rouge — until his fearful return the following the winter Solstice.” -http://marchedunainrouge.com/