I added a link yesterday with video of the New Orleans public housing battle to my post on the Hurrican Katrina rent subsidy story in Houston. As Bryan Preston noted, most of the protesters were from outside the city. Jeff Crouere at Bayou Buzz had been warning about the rent-a-rioters for more than a week. Here’s his Dec. 13 post:
Yesterday, in New Orleans, protesters stopped the planned demolition of dilapidated public housing units at the B. W. Cooper public housing complex. Today, fresh from this success, protesters are poised to march on City Hall to stop other planned demolitions. The Housing Authority of New Orleans has announced plans to demolish four public housing developments in New Orleans and replace them with mixed income neighborhoods. The demonstrators are opposed to these demolition plans and believe it is part of a conspiracy to prevent poor African Americans from returning to New Orleans.
In contrast, the re-development of these units will benefit the former occupants of these housing projects. Creating units that offer modern amenities, less dense living conditions and a mix of inhabitants is preferable to the situation that existed in B.W. Cooper and the other housing projects in New Orleans. Prior to Katrina, housing projects were characterized by a high crime rate, gang activity, a thriving illegal drug trade, prostitution and filth.
To see how a redevelopment can be done correctly people should investigate the former St. Thomas housing projects, which are now the River Gardens neighborhood and a new Walmart store. It is a vast improvement over the situation that existed previously and should serve as a model for the redevelopment in many of these other projects.
Unfortunately, instead of moving forward and providing hope to residents, professional protesters and experienced agitators succeeded in shutting down the B.W. Cooper demolition last night. Now, this same group wants to thwart the demolition plans at three other housing developments.
In reality, none of the previous residents of these public housing developments have a “right” to return. Residents lived in these facilities courtesy of the taxpayers of the United States. They did not own these units. Instead the units are owned by the federal government and the people of this country.
All of these facts are disregarded by the professional protesters who came in to New Orleans from other states, carrying signs and yelling at work crews hired to do a job that had been approved several years ago. Yesterday, at the B.W. Cooper protest, license plates were spotted from Ohio, Kentucky and Massachusetts. Who are these individuals? What stake do they have in New Orleans? They have the luxury to come into town and protest and then leave and not have to face the crime and trash that characterize the housing projects.
A news release from the Coalition to Stop the Demolition, one of several groups organizing protesters, characterized the pending action as a “rubber stamp” at a “sham meeting.”
“It is beyond callous, and can only be seen as malicious discrimination. It is an unabashed attempt to eliminate the black population of New Orleans,” said Kali Akuno, an organizer with the group.
Who is he? An Oakland, Calif.-based rabble-rouser with the “Malcom X grassroots movement” who inserted himself into Louisiana as head of the “People’s Hurricane Relief Fund and Oversight Coalition and director of the Stop the Demolition Coalition.”
“Grassroots?” More like astroturf.