The name Laventille hearkens back to colonial times, especially when the French dominated the cultural traditions of the island. One etymological derivation of the name is due to the fact that the northeast trade winds come to this part of the island of Trinidad before reaching any other part of colonial Port of Spain - hence the metaphorical name La Ventaille ("The Vent"). Geographically, it is the source of Orographic precipitation for the capital city.
Community and Culture
Laventille was built by people of poorer communities originally but has since developed into contemporary housing developments interwoven with entrepreneurial spirit. The area's progress has blossomed so much, to the extent that its landscape and overlooking views of the city have become the envy of business owners and those living in neighbouring low lying areas.
Laventille is also the place where steel pan was born, and it is the birthplace of innovators and world renowned tuners like the late Rudolph Charles, Bertie Marshall and Roland Harrigin. It is the heart of the steelpan world, where pioneer Winston "Spree" Simon lived and created one of the century’s new acoustical musical instruments. It is home to Desperadoes Steel Orchestra, one of the world's oldest steelbands, still in existence today. It also houses several other bands such as Laventille Hilanders, Courts Laventille Sound Specialists, Tokyo, etc.
Laventille is also the home or birthplace of many people involved in community work and other types of cultural activity in Trinidad & Tobago. Soca artiste Destra Garcia was born at Desperlie Crescent, former name Ovid Alley. Laventille is probably the oldest Community in East Port of Spain. It has been said, whenever the enslaved peoples escaped from man's inhumanity to man, they headed to the Hills of Laventille.
The name has also been used as a general term for the neighbourhoods of eastern Port of Spain, including not only Laventille "proper" (Success Village, Trou Macaque, Never Dirty) but also East Dry River, John-John, Sea Lots, Beetham Estate Gardens, Caledonia, Maryland, Mon Repos, Chinapoo and Morvant.
Communities within Laventille - that is, not greater Laventille itself - have some of the highest "serious crimes" statistics in Trinidad and Tobago. However, because of these crime rates and the dominant Afro Caribbean population dwelling in Laventille, stereotyping of African Trinibagonians, especially male, occurs.