Aftermath In La Perla, Puerto Rico: Hurricane Maria Destroys 'Despacito' Video Location [PHOTOS]

La Perla
A view of the neighborhood of La Perla where the video 'Despacito' was shot in San Juan, on July 22, 2017. Photo: RICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP/Getty Images

After the pop hit "Despacito" music video was filmed in La Perla, a poor barrio clinging to a steep hillside between Old San Juan and the sea in Puerto Rico, the neighborhood started getting notoriety for its colors and the magical idea of having the ocean right in front your door.

Even though La Perla wasn’t a tourist –until now- or historic area, or doesn’t have gift shop stores or museums, after this almost five minutes long piece, that in YouTube alone, has more than 3.7 billion views, the brightly colored houses with interesting graphic art caught the attention of the world, becoming a hot spot.

La Perla is not new to the media; in fact salsa singer Ismael Rivera had a hit song, written by composer Catalino Curet Alonso, in honor of this community. Calle 13 released another tribute song, also named  "La Perla," in collaboration with  Ruben Blades, and Canadian singer Nelly Furtado along with Residente filmed the music video to the remix of Furtado's song "No Hay Igual" over there.

But the truth is that La Perla, with 1,600 inhabitants, is one of the poorest communities in San Juan. The streets of La Perla are not indicated on most city maps in order to deter tourists from walking into the high crime area, that includes drug trafficking.

After the Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee viral song, that was remixed with Justin Bieber, the bad reputation of the area didn’t seem to scare the curious fans that traveled just to snap a photo in the picturesque zone, but now, due to the recent scourge of Hurricane Maria, the neighborhood has been greatly affected, the space is almost inaccessible and nothing looks like it used to.

Category 4 Maria, left the whole island blacked out and badly damaged the houses in the community of La Perla, devastating it with no mercy. The storm ripped trees out of the ground and caused widespread flooding. "This is total devastation," said Carlos Mercader, a spokesman for Puerto Rico's governor. "Puerto Rico, in terms of the infrastructure, will not be the same. ... This is something of historic proportions."

Luis Fonsi took to Instagram after the Hurricane and shared a picture of the island of Puerto Rico writing how sad he was after the natural disaster. “It’s horrible what’s happening right now on the island,” he wrote in Spanish on Wednesday. “It’s very sad to read the messages from my family. There is a lot of work to do.” 

Intense flooding was reported across the territory, particularly in San Juan, the capital, where many residential streets looked like rivers. The authorities warned weary residents not to let down their guard, because flash flooding and mudslides could be more deadly than the initial winds from the storm.

Here are some photos of La Perla after Hurricane Maria.

La Perla Gerald Ramirez, 5, (Left), and Deyanery Ramirez, 3, (right), on Calle San Miguel in the La Perla neighborhood the day after Hurricane Maria made landfall on September 21, 2017 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The majority of the island has lost power, in San Juan many are left without running water or cell phone service, and the Governor said Maria is the 'most devastating storm to hit the island this century.' Photo:Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

La Perla Damaged homes in the La Perla neighborhood the day after Hurricane Maria made landfall on September 21, 2017 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Photo: Getty Images

La Perla Damaged homes in the La Perla neighborhood the day after Hurricane Maria made landfall on September 21, 2017 in San Juan, Puerto Rico Photo: Getty Images

La Perla Damaged homes in the La Perla neighborhood the day after Hurricane Maria made landfall on September 21, 2017 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Photo: Getty Images

La Perla Damaged homes in the La Perla neighborhood the day after Hurricane Maria made landfall on September 21, 2017 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Photo: Getty Images

La Perla The aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Photo: Getty Images

The powerful tropical cyclone made landfall in Puerto Rico with winds of 155 mph (250 km/h), becoming the strongest to hit the territory since the 1928 San Felipe hurricane, as well as the most intense hurricane to hit the territory in recorded history. 

As of September 22, the hurricane has caused at least 38 deaths: 15 in Dominica, 3 in Guadeloupe, 3 in Haiti, 15 in Puerto Rico and 2 in Dominican Republic.

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Lifestyle Reporter

Shirley Gomez has been exposed to many aspects of the art world. Besides being a Fashion Journalist, she studied Fashion Styling and Fashion Styling for Men at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, Interior Design at UNIBE and Fashion Design at ITSMJ Fashion School in the Dominican Republic. She worked as a Fashion Journalist, Fashion Stylist and Social Media Manager at one of the most recognized magazines in the Dominican Republic, Oh! Magazine, as an occasional Entertainment Journalist, of the prestigious newspaper “Listín Diario”, as well as a fashion collaborator of a radio show aired in 100.9 FM SuperQ. When Shirley is not writing you can find her listening Demi Lovato or Beyonce's songs, decorating her apartment or watching Family Feud.

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