New Orleans & The Displaced

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So New Orleans Council decided they want to raze public housing for “mixed income” (read: middle & upper middle class) housing.

I visited New Orleans for a week, by myself, pre-Katrina 2002. It was a vibrant, energetic and dangerous place to be, yes, but that’s what gave it its flavor – and New Orleans is/was one *spicy* city.

And it was cheap! I stayed in a hostel in a gritty part of town for $20/night. It was suggested that I didn’t go outside alone after dark; maybe they were exaggerating, maybe they weren’t. I took their suggestion and befriended a big guy to walk around with me. People said racial tension is/was very high in New Orleans in some areas, but I found most of the people to be loving, kind and generous – even to a white girl like me.

To think that these are the people whose homes are to be replaced with rents they cannot afford sickens me. To turn New Orleans into gentrified New York City is depressing at best. But what’s worst is that the people protesting their own displacement should be tased, beaten and jailed is just uncool.

read: T O T A L L Y U N C O O L.

People have a right to protest. It’s called “assembly” in the Bill of Rights. It is meant to be used when a governing group doesn’t keep the represented in mind. Certainly nowhere in the Bill of Rights does it suggest that the police (read: paid with tax dollars) have a right to beat or taser any citizen for any reason, really.

It makes you wonder, really, if all that business about not keeping the levy safe was done with a goal in mind: let it wipe out the poor and maybe New Orleans can be another Disneyland for tourists to come thousands of miles shop at the Gap, Williams & Sonoma and Macy’s.

Yay America.

Pre-Katrina housing median was $89,000, with a population of appx 500,000. Post-Katrina housing? $233,000 with a population of appx 232,000. That’s less than half the population with almost triple the cost of living. Don’t believe me? Look it up at the US Census like I did.

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