Via Leigh (who has done the best job I’ve personally seen of covering this story), the New Orleans city council ruled today that the public housing will be demolished.
Merry Fucking Christmas.
To add insult to injury, police responded to protesters outside the meeting rather violently. Chemical spray and stun guns were used. For approximately 70 protesters, the police sent out a dozen officers mounted on horses and 40 officers on foot. Four protesters ended up in the hospital. This was all because the police were trying to keep the protesters out of their own city council meeting, including those who had been waiting from 7 a.m. to enter, while supporters of the demolitions were allowed inside. And the protesters either had enough self-respect or justified indignation to refuse to take it laying down.
This is how America treats its poor.
The ruling includes a provision that for every residence torn down, a new one must be built. But it will be mixed-income neighborhood housing, which will ultimately lead to fewer homes for the poor, and just as vitally, a loss of community. It’s going to lead to voucher programs, which are utterly laughable and unworkable. And those who are lucky enough to receive new homes are probably going to have to wait quite a while. So people will be homeless. They will leave town or simply never return. But you should know that the developers — who are employed by the U.S. Department of Housing — will receive generous tax credits for their actions.
I don’t know what else to say. The ruling was hardly unexpected, but I still read these stories and write this post now with a very heavy heart. My thoughts are with the protesters and with the people of New Orleans. Again, to those who can contribute financially, please consider doing so.