According to NOLA.COM, this poster is now appearing in New Orleans:
(image from www.nola.com)
Read it again. It really does say what you think it says. And if you have some time, dear readers, read the blog comments at the above link. One person says that this poster shouldn’t be seen as a threat, since it targets only property – not people. Comforting, isn’t it?
I have posted on this before, but I'll say it again - because of my work, which includes work for the Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO), I have first-hand knowledge about this situation. Some facts:
HANO is looking to remove the existing buildings because it will cost more to remediate and repair the units than it will be to take them down and rebuild. Do not forget that the projects in question were not in great shape prior to Katrina, and plans to demo some of them were in the works before the storm.
HANO is NOT, repeat NOT, looking to level these projects and leave the land fallow. They have plans in the works for new units – medium-density townhouses and flats similar to what they have done at other projects. I have seen the plans. And the sooner HANO can get the old buildings out of the way, the sooner newer, more livable units, can be completed.
HANO renovated several hundred of their newer townhouses and flats after the storm, but they have found few takers. Some of the units have been vacant for so long that HANO is having to put in de-humidifiers to prevent mold. HANO also has a voucher program for residents, too. So there are affordable homes available. Call HANO.
This whole issue has become so emotionally charged I do not think that facts will be much considered in resolving the issue, but I think they should be put out there anyway. (UPDATE: I think this YouTube video proves my point.) Those fanning these flames seem to have little interest in facts or in housing my fellow New Orleanians (I am a native), and a lot of interest in creating some publicity for themselves by exploiting people’s concerns and by intimidation. You don’t need facts to do that. (When they find who made this poster – not surprisingly there is no organization credit - I’d be willing to bet a a couple of bucks they aren’t even from New Orleans. Or more than a few in number.)
So be mindful, dear readers, to not let yourself be drawn into reacting emotionally when you hear more about this issue. That is what the creators of this trash want – your attention and over-reaction. Don’t give it to them. See it for what it is – a pathetic and desperate attempt to grab attention by being sensational and divisive, by increasing tensions, and by sowing mistrust and fear in an already battered City. Just remember the facts.
UPDATE: The demolitions have begun. This from WWL-TV. Pretty much confirms my worries that this is being driven by
"License plates indicated that many of the protesters had driven in from as far afield as Ohio, Kentucky and Massachusetts."
UPDATE: Day two. So much for the mass of opposition:
"It was expected to be a large crowd, but only a handful of protestors gathered at the B.W. Cooper housing development Thursday morning to wait and see if crews would continue tearing down the development."
"Basically we are just on guard to watch out for the demolition crew so we can mobilize our forces pretty quickly to get out here quickly to lock arms, and stand down the bulldozers as long as necessary," said protestor Roderick Dean."
"But when the bulldozing started most of the protestors left – a sharp contrast from just a day earlier when about 50 protestors blocked the demolition of B.W. Cooper."
QED. I guess many of the protesters left to get an early start on those long drives home.