The battle for low-income public housing has been heating up recently in the Big Easy. First, Duncan Plaza just outside City Hall has become a tent city for the homeless over the past several weeks. Plus the projects are set to be demolished. The city's Housing Conservation District Review Committee gave the OK to destroy 55 building at C.J. Peete in Central City and 88 buildings at B.W. Cooper, though they were split on the Lafitte Projects and that will go to City Council. The demolitions are set for this weekend and with the many strong willed activists against the demolitions, there will certainly be some theatrics. Raising the stakes is this flyer, distributed around town anonymously this week:
It has a picture of a large fire, and the text reads: "For Every Public Housing Unit Destroyed A Condo Will Be Destroyed: If there will be no homes for us, and relief from high rents, there will be no homes for the rich either!" It's signed by the Angry & Powerless. The FBI is investigating the flyer, and even more worrisome for the creator, Dangerblond is on the case.
I have no doubts that the powers that be are using Katrina to do away with the large public housing projects. Many of these units never flooded and they could have reopened in October of 2005. But how do I feel about large concentrations of poverty in the projects versus mixed-income neighborhoods with subsidized rents spread throughout? I don't really know. I do know that poor people need a place to live in New Orleans, and the increased rents have kept many from returning.
update: Laureen Lentz outlines the protest schedule and it looks like many are planning on doing some jail time for their protests.