New Orleans City Council Approves Demolition of Public Housing

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.

0 thoughts on “New Orleans City Council Approves Demolition of Public Housing

  1. brandannn

    voucher programs are ridiculous…and “mixed income” is just slang for “we don’t want the poor bringing the property value down”…

    it’s sick. if this were suburban housing, how do you think this would turn out?

    i guess that isn’t really a fair comparison though…

    Reply
  2. rich

    It’s absurd to hear about the necessity of revitalizing the public housing projects, especially when some are considered perfectly habitable and are built quit well out of brick. Renovating the housing is actually cheaper, but I guess there’s no money it. Usually, the real motivation behind such maneuvers are little more thickly veiled than this, and not such a blatant “fuck you.”

    The Wall Street Journal quoted a couple of years back “U.S. Congressman Richard Baker, a 10 term Republican from Baton Rouge, telling lobbyists: ‘We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn’t do it, but God did.'” Of course he said this in reference to being able to rebuild public housing to make it livable instead of the shitty conditions they were in, except his Baker Plan gave HOMEOWNERS the option to return home, accept the buyout and walk, etc. Didn’t matter anyways because Bush nixed the plan.

    You’re completely right, Merry Christmas indeed.

    Reply
  3. Thealogian

    What’s going on in New Orleans is ridiculous, systematic, and aimed at “getting rid” of the poor–it is criminal.

    Yet, I will say that the term “mixed income” is actually a progressive philosophy of urban renewal that oughtn’t be confused with what’s really going on in New Orleans. I don’t know if they are co-opting the term or actually plan a progressive “mixed income” rebuilding plan (considering all that’s going down, I think that they are probably just co-opting the term and selecting a couple concepts behind it to justify the move).

    Anyway, “mixed income” is supposed to be just that–representative of mixed income families/singles and its supposed to spread out the property tax system of school supports that leave one school well off and another with leaking buildings and 20 year old text books. Its supposed to avoid the concentrations of poverty that often lead to neglect and its supposed to be racially integrative–its supposed to do all of this, but it also relies on a certain number of affluent families and middle class families to live (choose to live) with working-class and working-poor folks (which “white flight” to the suburbs was supposed to be about avoiding). So, I’m skeptical. New Orleans seems to be a compounded cluster-fu&% of racist, classist, and sexist public policy handed to “the people” with a smile.

    Reply
  4. Cara Post author

    Anyway, “mixed income” is supposed to be just that–representative of mixed income families/singles and its supposed to spread out the property tax system of school supports that leave one school well off and another with leaking buildings and 20 year old text books. Its supposed to avoid the concentrations of poverty that often lead to neglect and its supposed to be racially integrative–its supposed to do all of this, but it also relies on a certain number of affluent families and middle class families to live (choose to live) with working-class and working-poor folks (which “white flight” to the suburbs was supposed to be about avoiding).

    Well, that’s precisely the problem, isn’t it? That we need to put some middle-class white kids in a classroom next to the lower-class black kids before we’ll actually bother to teach those lower-class black kids anything. Which doesn’t sound like a step towards equality, to me: it sounds like trying to trick the government into not letting people live in abject poverty so that property rates won’t go down.

    Reply

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