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Old 21 December 2007, 04:19 AM
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Dark Blue Dark Blue is offline
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Default Demolition of New Orleans housing approved

The public housing complexes that many of this city's poorest called home for decades before Hurricane Katrina were brought a step closer to oblivion Thursday, but not without angry protests quelled by clouds of pepper spray and stun guns.

In a day of inflamed passions that began with public housing advocates lining up to enter City Hall at 7 a.m., the City Council voted unanimously some eight hours later to support the demolition of 4,500 units. Most are vacant, and most of the former residents have yet to return to New Orleans, more than two years after the hurricane.
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Old 21 December 2007, 03:39 PM
Ryda Wong, EBfCo. Ryda Wong, EBfCo. is offline
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This is a rather intense issue.

Feministe has been following it, and there's some good link farming in the most recent post (it also links to other blogs which are more directly involved).


The topic of gentrification is a really important one, especially in the larger cities in the south.
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Old 21 December 2007, 03:51 PM
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Most of the units HUD plans to demolish are vacant, and many suffered heavy damage in Katrina, but those who oppose their demolition say they should be improved instead.
Housing for the poor is often sub standard to begin with. If a lot of it suffered heavy damage from Katrina then it is probably wiser to demolish it and re-build than to try to repair it. City counsel members don't take decisions like this lightly.
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Old 21 December 2007, 03:51 PM
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They can't just keep the buildings up for sentiment if nobody lives there. Gentrification my arse.
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Old 21 December 2007, 04:42 PM
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The thing is that tearing these down makes way for new housing that already exists elsewhere in the city. This isn't a new idea, it's one that has apparently been working for a while. The majority of the protesters are not people in actually live in the housing in question, but people who have come from out of state to protest what they are convinced is a racially motivated demolition. Frankly, some of them I've seen on local TV are embarrassing - they're nothing more than bored college students looking for a reason to get outraged and make it clear once a microphone gets in their face that they are clueless.

The New Orleans government has done a lot of very stupid things, but I think this one is ultimately a good idea. The current projects are disasters, both in concept and execution. There are people whose families have lived in them for generations, not because they are unable to work but because there was no incentive to. Of all the protests, the only ones I've heard coming from current residents have been along the lines of "My grandma lived here and my mom lived here and I've lived here my entire life, they can't tear down our house." That's not how things are supposed to work. Correcting it now is going to make people mad, but ultimately, it's something that has to be done or else they're just perpetuating the problem.
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Old 21 December 2007, 04:50 PM
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I do wonder if the protestors have a practical solution to this. Like Astra said, demolition of all sorts of housing has been happening throughout NO for 2 years. And some of the projects in question needed to be overhauled before Katrina. Letting them sit and fester is beyond ridiculous. Seriously, what else is the City of New Orleans supposed to do? If there is a need for suitable public housing (and there most definitely is), then the unsuitable housing has to go. So far, hundreds of blocks of middle class and upper class housing has been demolished as well. It has to be done. There is no other way to move forward, to supply NO with affordable housing. Yes, it will take years. It takes years after any event of this magnitude. Yes, New Orleans will be different. It already is. There is no way to change that.

The City of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana did and continue to do a lot of stupid, inappropriate, short-sighted, corrupt, and pointless things. But this demolition project is simply not one of those things.

Last edited by Mama Duck; 21 December 2007 at 04:58 PM. Reason: expanding on confusion
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Old 21 December 2007, 05:10 PM
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Gentrification is not the problem. It can be part of the solution. Aforrdable housing is needed, but if there are only 'poor' in an area, there will be little incentive for businesses to move in and provide work for those poor. Without work, they have no chance of getting out of public housing (which I would say should be the goal). Public housing should be a temporary thing, not a generational thing. When it becomes a generational thing, something is wrong.
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Old 21 December 2007, 11:10 PM
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I was wondering if any of the property in question is rental property owned by individuals (ie - family business is rental homes). If so, it's been over 2 years since the property owners have been getting any rental dollars--I'm referencing the vacant lots/currently empty housing here. In the meanwhile, the property owners have been paying expenses on these homes without having any income, unless they opted for a specific type of rental property insurance that would replace lost rental income when a property was catastrophically damaged and deemed uninhabitable during the reconstruction process. Even if all that was left was an empty lot there would be property taxes due on the lot, every year, just like the rest of the country.

I'm not ashamed to admit that I'd probably sell the property to a corporation after about a year of non-income. Just like someone (or many someones) did in order to get a Wal-Mart built in one of the areas in question.
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Old 21 December 2007, 11:19 PM
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"If you tear down public housing, then these people will be living in my neighborhood!"
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Old 21 December 2007, 11:24 PM
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My understanding is that these are along the lines of apartment buildings and most of them aren't even occupied at the moment.
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