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Some Good News in New Orleans, At Least for Now

Posted by libhom Saturday, December 15, 2007

From the New Orleans Times-Picayune 12/14/07:

The Housing Authority of New Orleans agreed in court today not to demolish the C.J. Peete, Lafitte or St. Bernard public housing developments unless the New Orleans City Council approves permits for the work.

The agreement allows HANO to proceed with demolition work, approved in November 2003 by the City Council, at the B.W. Cooper housing development.

Officials with the housing authority and attorneys for demolition opponents, who sued HANO Thursday to stop tear-downs at C.J. Peete, Lafitte and St. Bernard, reached the accommodation after meeting privately with Civil District Court Judge Herbert Cade, who said he would sign an order later today approving the deal.

Plaintiffs argued that the City Council had to approve demolition work at the three housing complexes. HANO had not secured that approval for the three demolition projects.

Attorney Tracie Washington, representing the plaintiffs, said HANO's willingness to halt demolition work pending a City Council review is a first: "We have never (before) been able to get a court to order a stop to demolition."

The City Council is expected to address the demolition matter next week.

The Housing Authority of New Orleans is administrating federally-funded housing in that city. They have been expected to tear down safe housing projects and replacing them with far fewer housing units for poor people.

The ultimate authority for doing this is coming from the US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! explains:
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development, known as HUD, is expected to begin demolishing four of the largest public housing projects in New Orleans this Saturday. For more than two years after Hurricane Katrina, some 4,600 apartments in these buildings have been boarded up and closed to former residents.

Only 744 affordable housing units will replace the 4,600 units. That’s an 82% drop in a region where affordable housing remains a key issue.

The people who write the funding checks generally call the shots, and that is what has happened between HUD and HANO.

On the show, Bill Quigley, attorney and housing advocate, described the tenants:
And there’s a couple things that I think it’s important for people to know. These are 100% African American-rented apartments, overwhelmingly female-headed households. Most of the people that we work with are grandmothers, usually on disability after a lifetime of working as a nurse’s aide or working as a cafeteria worker or a minimum-wage job in the tourist industry.

The timing of the demolitions are bad as well. Quigley estimated that homelessness in New Orleans has doubled since Katrina.

1 Responses to Some Good News in New Orleans, At Least for Now

  1. Hey Thanks. I posted you onto today's NO News Ladder.
    Bruce / editor



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