Veggie Voyagers

Couple travelled 30 states and 3 Canadian provinces between 7/07 and 5/08 running their 1987 Ford truck on straight veggie oil. The blog continues with a focus on the natural world and energy politics from a personal perspective

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Stop the Demolitions!

We are staying in a residential neighborhood in Mid City that flooded at least 8 feet. Half the houses on this street are still unoccupied after over two years. There is a lot of reconstruction going on but other houses are in tatters and there are still lots of piles of house innards on the curbs…
We arrived in New Orleans in time for a Coalition to Stop the Demolitions meeting. Two days of trainings later we got word that the bulldozer had arrived at the BW Cooper Housing Project. In a nutshell, there is a Lot of Money involved here. Big Money wants to gentrify this land and force out the poor from the city interior. The structures are sound but the residents have never been able to get back in after Katrina, even to pick up their most beloved possessions. Now these people are homeless, in FEMA trailers that they are soon to be displaced from, or moved somewhere else. There appears to be a lot of contentiousness about the projects, which aren’t great places to live, however, the displaced residents at this point can’t afford any alternative and need housing. The right of return is a cornerstone of the local credo.
There is a rich diversity of people doing community activism work here and it was good to land in the middle of them. The physical presence of our contingent prevented the demolition of the housing for one more day. There are three public housing projects slated for demolition by December 15th (apparently that is the deadline for federal tax credits totaling $35 million and if demolitions aren’t completed by the 18th the city could lose that money.)


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