Monday, January 18, 2010
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Cap-Haïtien (Okap or Kapayisyen in Kréyòl) is a city of about 180,000 people on the north coast of Haiti. It is the capital of the Nord Department. Previously, as Cap-Français, it was an important city during the colonial period and, as Cap-Henri, was capital of the Kingdom of Northern Haiti under King Henri Christophe.
The central area of the city is located between the Bay of Cap-Haïtien to the east, and nearby mountainsides to the west, which are increasingly dominated by flimsy urban slums. The streets are generally narrow and arranged in grids. As a legacy of the U.S. occupation of Haïti from 1915–1934, Cap-Haïtien's north-south streets were renamed as single letters (beginning with Rue A, a major avenue), and its east-west streets with numbers. This system breaks down outside of the central city, which is itself dominated by numerous markets, churches, and low-rise apartment buildings (3–4 floors each) constructed primarily before and during the U.S. occupation. Many such buildings have balconies on the upper floors which overlook the narrow streets below, creating an intimate communal atmosphere during the Haitian dinner hours.
Cap-Haïtien faces the North Atlantic ocean to its northwest, and its calm water and picturesque Caribbean beaches have made it a resort and vacation destination for Haïti's upper classes, comparable to Pétionville. Cap-Haïtien has, in general, also seen greater foreign tourist activity than much of Haiti, due to its isolation from political instability in the capital, Port-au-Prince. Cap-Haïtien is also unique for its French colonial architecture, which has been uniquely well preserved. After the Haitian Revolution, many craftsmen from Cap-Haïtien fled to French-controlled New Orleans, as a result, the two cities share many similarities in styles of architecture. Especially notable are the many gingerbread houses lining the city's older streets.
Cap-Haïtien's distance from Haïti's capital, Port-au-Prince, combined with the dire condition of Haïti's transportation infrastructure, has often made Cap-Haïtien an incubator for revolutionary or anti-government figures. In February 2004, the city was taken over by militants opposed to the rule of Haïtian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, presaging Aristide's eventual exile from power.
Notable native is Tyrone Edmond, Haitian-born model. He was born as Enoch Edmond in Cap-Haitien, Haiti. In Haiti, Edmond lived a difficult childhood, struggling day-to-day in a highly impoverished situation in the shantytowns of Cap-Haitien and Port-au-Prince, where he grew up. Early in his childhood, Tyrone attended a 7 Day Adventists school in the poverty-filled neighborhood of Carrefour in the capital. At the age of nine, Edmond's mother died resulting in him being adopted by an American missionary family and eventually emigrating to the United States at age fifteen. Edmond is one of the premier male models to gain international fame from the island country. Edmond has become a feature model for fashion designer labels such as Ralph Lauren, Kenneth Cole, and Donna Karan.
Also involved in the music industry, Edmond has received some public attention as of recently due to rising Dominican American singer Kat DeLuna, who is signed to Edmond's music label, GMB (Global Music Brand).He ran the production company with good friend Greg Maurice.
Outside of modeling, he is involved in charities. Edmond has been active in philanthropy being the founder of the One Heart Foundation, a non-profit organization to improve the lives of impoverished and underprivileged children around the world