A view of Pétionville's hillside
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Pétionville is a commune and a suburb of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in the hills east and separate of the city itself on the northern hills of the Massif de la Selle. Founded in 1831 by then president Jean-Pierre Boyer, it was named after Alexandre Sabès Pétion (1770–1818), the Haitian general and president later recognized as one of the country's four founding fathers. The district is primarily a residential and tourist area. It held a population of 283,052 at the 2003 Census, which was officially estimated to have reached 342,694 in 2009. Pétion-Ville is part of the city's metropolitan area, one of the most affluent areas, where the majority of tourist activity takes place, and one of the wealthiest parts of the country. Many diplomats, foreign businessmen, and a large number of wealthy citizens do business and reside in Pétionville.
Despite the distance from the capital and the general affluence of the district, the lack of administrative enforcement has led to the formation of shantytowns on the outer edges of the district, as poor locals migrate upward and have settled there in search of job opportunities.
Culture and nightlife
Pétionville is a wealthier part of Haiti, in which many multiracial Haitians live. Avenues like Laboule and Morne Calvaire are known for their palatial mansions. There is an extreme, almost feudal divide between rich and poor in Haiti. The gated and privately guarded neighborhoods resemble a Haitian version of Beverly Hills, but with razor wire. Most residents of Pétionville are affluent in comparison with residents of most other parts of the country. Pétionville has more security than the center of Port-au-Prince, and in general, than the other major cities of Haiti. The community is very stable, with nightlife and business conducted with an appearance of western normality, in striking contrast to many other parts of greater Port-au-Prince.
The hillside suburban town is filled with nightclubs, beauty salons, fitness gyms and French restaurants. Businesses which cater to tourists are commonplace, and parties and get-togethers often take place at night. Establishments often host considerable expatriates and foreigners of a similar calibre.
The famous "El Rancho" hotel is in Pétionville. It was built from the private estate of Albert Silvera, a sports- and luxury car collector who was one of the pioneers of Haiti's hotel industry.
On 12 January 2010, around 5:53pm, a 7.0 earthquake struck the Pétionville area. The earthquake collapsed a hospital in the city. The 7.0-magnitude earthquake destroyed many buildings in Port-au-Prince, and a lot of homes in the Montana area including the Hôtel Montana.
The Club de Pétionville (Pétionville Club) golf course has been changed into a tent city by the US Army and now houses 50,000 to 80,000 Haitians. Its tennis courts host the US 82nd Airborne. The club was built in the 1930s and had only around 300 members at the time. The golf clubhouse has been turned into a field hospital.
In early February 2010, the Israeli-based humanitarian organization, IsraAid, opened a child education center in the Pétionville tent city, in conjunction with other agencies, such as Operation Blessing. The center was set up initially in the tents from the IDF’s field hospital.
The "Muncheez" pizza restaurant was turned by the owners into a community soup kitchen. It has been serving approximately 1,000 free meals a day. Before the quake, the restaurant chain was a place where few even in Pétionville could afford to eat. After the quake, owners realized that the food stored at the three restaurants would spoil before it would get back into business and decided to give it all away. Although still living in the streets, the cooks still came to cook for the masses. Owners distributed blue bracelets throughout Pétionville, one bracelet for one meal. They selected one of the outlets to become the soup kitchen and moved all 105 employees to that site to cook. When food ran out after two days, the Hôtel Montana donated what could be salvaged from their freezers. After fuel, cooking oil and food started to rundown, a convoy from relatives of the owners in the Dominican Republic arrived, funded by donations with more food and fuel. USAID delivers fuel, cooking oil and food to cook as well now, and World Vision is providing bulgur and lentils.
Electricity was restored to some sectors at the beginning of February and to most of the rest of the city later.
There have been a number of developments in the region. One such notable one was the development of The Irish village, which incorporated an Irish pub, called The Irish Embassy. This pub is frequented by many of the affluent members of the Haitian population including members of government
The Club de Pétionville country club was built in the 1930s and has Haiti's only golf course, a nine-hole course. It also contains tennis courts and swimming pools. The "Club de Pétion-Ville" is not in the suburb of Pétion-Ville but to the northwest in the foothills.
The city has a hospital which collapsed in the 12 January 2010 quake.
- Pétionville school collapse
- Guy François, colonel, accused of conspiring to overthrow the government of Haiti
- Signal FM, a radio station
- Don Bosco FC
- Katz, Jonathan (2010-01-13). "Major quake hits Haiti; many casualties expected". AP. Retrieved 2010-01-13.[dead link]
- "Haitian Earthquake Causes Hospital Collapse". The New York Times. 12 January 2010. Retrieved 12 January 2010.[dead link]
- Ireland On-Line, "Aid agencies overhaul food distribution in Haiti", 30 January 2010 (accessed 31 January 2010)
- Boston Globe, The field hospital at the club was operated by NDMS teams from the US Department of Health and Human Services. "Much rests on Haiti elite", Maria Sacchetti, 31 January 2010 (accessed 31 January 2010)
- Golf.com, "Once a club with 300 members, Haiti's lone golf course is now a refugee camp", Farrell Evans, 20 January 2010 (accessed 31 January 2010)
- National Post, "This won't do any good for most people", Sheldon Alberts, 23 January 2010 (accessed 31 January 2010)
- Heyman, Jeffrey "The resilience of the people is stronger than we expected", (10 February 2010), in Israel 21c Innovation News Service, Retrieved 2010-02-11
- NPR, "Haitian Eatery Serves Up Taste Of Hope Amid Despair", Tamara Keith, 27 January 2010 (accessed 31 January 2010)
- IOL, "Quake survivors score meals from pizza place", Ruth Morris, 28 January 2010 (accessed 31 January 2010)
- Christian Science Monitor, "Haiti earthquake: Restaurateur turns Port-au-Prince eatery into soup kitchen", Howard LaFranchi, 24 January 2010 (accessed 31 January 2010)
- Haiti Press Network, "Haïti – Séisme : L’électricité se rétablit peu à peu", MJB, 4 February 2010 (accessed 5 February 2010)
- Reuters, "Pétionville atlas of building damage assessment", 2 March 2010