Update 12-11-07 - 6pm
Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO), totally controlled by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), is trying to demolish 4500 public housing apartments. Residents and affordable housing advocates are resisting.
On 12-10-07, with over a hundred protestors cheering, the City of New Orleans historic district denied the demolition application of the housing authority for the Lafitte housing development. Sadly, they approved the rest of the applications before them.
So Lafitte, home to 850 families, cannot be demolished now. Other strategies are in the works to save the rest of the developments. The housing authority promised to appeal the denial of the demolition of Lafitte. No date or time for that appeal is known at this time. Rumors are flying that the City of New Orleans is preparing to surrender without a fight & say that they do not have the legal authority to stop demolition.
Despite the ruling that Lafitte cannot be demolished, HANO workers and contractors showed up there this afternoon removing doors and windows! Residents and supporters called the media and they showed up to document the fiasco. As night fell, the workers left and the apartments were left open for vandals.
(Note: from your Planetary Sister: This is an important fact as the families who were evacuated have never been allowed back to get their belongings. HANO applied the same tactic of leaving unsecured the belonings and apartments of C.J. Peete which were then ransacked, HANO police in all the times I have been to C.J. Peete to photogragh I have never seen them patroling. By allowing the buildings to be ransacked and then not maintaining the property, unlike Lafitte which is kept clean and well groomed, the government could then claim that the buildings and property were beyond redemption.)
Supporters called on HANO to protect the apartments and promised to set up their own security if HANO did not.
On Sunday, residents and supporters marched in Santa hats to Mayor Nagin’s house and poured coal on his lawn.On Monday, over a hundred people, attended a city demolition agency meeting. There were so many people the meeting was moved to a larger room.Tuesday, residents and supporters converged at Lafitte when HANO and contractors started taking off doors and windows despite the denial of the demolition permit.
Louisiana Episcopal Bishop Asks for Halt of Demolitions:
Bishop Charles Jenkins, head of the Episcopal Church in Louisiana, has come out publicly against the demolitions. See his statement to the City Council: http://edola-bishop.blogspot.com/
The Bishop prayed in front of City Hall with residents and supporters as the group marched in on Monday 12-10-07.
Presidential candidate opposes demolition:
Today, John Edwards announced his opposition to demolition in New Orleans:
LawsuitsThe federal class action on behalf of all residents is before the U.S. 5th circuit court of appeal on the residents’ request for an injunction stopping the demolition.A new federal suit was filed today in Washington DC by the residents of St. Bernard development. They have partnered with the AFL-CIO Housing Trust and proposed a plan for St. Bernard that would guarantee that every person there when Katrina hit can come back to the same type of subsidized unit. That suit seeks an injunction.
The Louisiana Attorney General has been asked to intervene to stop the demolitions because HANO gave out over $20 million to demolish without complying with public bid laws.
A poster was circulated in New Orleans on 12.10.07 that said:
“For every public housing unit destroyed a condo will be destroyed.” It showed a picture of a burning building.
See http://www.nola.com/ for cc of the poster. You can also see hundreds of the most racist violent posts you can imagine.
Tracie Washington, advocate for the residents, said, “These posters are a diversion tactic and were probably put up by those who want to demolish public housing!”
Over 50 Organizations oppose demolition:
The following groups have gone on record to oppose demolition.
Update 12-12-07 - 5am
Contact Elected Officials:
George Bush – President - 202-456-1111
Alphonso Jackson, Secy of HUD - (202) 708-1112
Sen. Mary Landrieu, 202-224-5824; Fax: 202-224-9735
Sen. David Vitter - (504) 589-2753, DC Office (202) 224-4623Rep.
William Jefferson Phone: (202) 225-6636; FAX: (202) 225-1988
Mayor of New Orleans Ray Nagin – 504.658.4900
New Orleans City Council Members:
Arnie Fielkow - (504) 658-1060 AFielkow@cityofno.com
Jacquelyn Clarkson - (504) 658-1070 JBClarkson@cityofno.com
Stacy Head - (504) 658-1020 SHead@cityofno.com
Shelley Midura - (504) 658-1010 SMidura@cityofno.com
James Carter - (504) 658-1030 JCarter@cityofno.com
Cynthia Hedge-Morrell - (504) 658-1040
Cynthia Willard-Lewis - (504) 658-1050 CWLewis@cityofno.com