Friday, December 21, 2007

Burning down the house

Since Hurricane Katrina struck, the cost of renting an apartment in New Orleans has gone up by 45 percent.

More than 200,000 of the city’s residents have yet to return home, unable to afford the soaring rents, and with little in the way of job prospects. Ain’t nothin’ comin’ easy these days in the Big Easy.

But some people just can’t seem to get the message. Go figure; there are still some poor people – mostly black people whose Gulf Coast roots go back some 400 years – who want to stay. Looks like the only way to get rid of them for good is to raze 4,500 units of public housing, and let developers replace it with “mixed-income” (read: too costly for the people who used to live here) neighborhoods.

Is your blogstress too cynical? Too conspiracy-minded? Perhaps.

But yesterday, the frustration of New Orleaneans spilled out onto the streets when they suspected just exactly the scenario your cybertrix has spelled out, especially when they found themselves locked out of the city council meeting at which the decision to raze the apartment buildings – deemed worthy of preservation by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The building where the meeting was being held was filled to capacity but, according to the Associated Press:

Protesters said they pushed against the iron gates that kept them out of the building because the Housing Authority of New Orleans had disproportionately allowed supporters of the demolition to pack the chambers.
Note that the city council is all white. Mayor Ray Nagin is not, but he did not show up for the meeting.

From the Associated Press via the New York Times.

From the Los Angeles Times via Frank Gilligan, your blogstress’s partner in musical crimes.

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