Monday, December 10, 2007

Stopping the Demolition

Well I made it to the rally at City Hall. 

It was okay, I guess.

Leigh to the C. sums up the chronology with accuracy.

It was fascinating to see the organizers of the rally, make tactical decisions on the fly. Quick votes, coordinators yelling back and forth at each other, it's a really neat thing. Malcolm Suber, public housing residents, and their advocacy allies seemed highly motivated and passionate.

How'd the tactics work?

Well, I don't know. The panel was swayed to block demolition at Lafitte. But it won't last because HANO is presumably going to appeal it to City Council. 

Mostly, the panel's brusk and business-as-usual attitude succeeded in taking much of the air out of the room. It was not a free-for-all, nobody in the back could even hear anything. It was hot. They were annoyed that we were there. I was annoyed at their smug attitude toward a room full of engaged citizens. It was not a free-for-all. We weren't acting like a bunch of crazies, though some of us smelled like crazies. (the room was quite warm, many of us took the stairs)

Meanwhile I heard protest group organizers talking about the report going out over WWL airwaves about a certain sensational poster. How sexy is that poster man? So sexy.

My eavesdropping revealed that none of the organizers knew anything about the poster and were pretty ticked about WWL's decision to focus upon it.

The posters were indeed all around the Duncan Plaza/City Hall area.

ARE poor public housing residents going to persecute rich white people?
The Times-Picayune goes Dr. Phil: "How does this message make you feel?"

The TP placed a photo of the poster right smack dab on the front page of
It is the featured story as we speak. 
Not the rally
Not the decision against Lafitte demolition
Not the pros and cons of demolishing preexisting public housing in a city supposedly suffering an affordable housing crisis.

This decision by the editors at undercuts tremendously attempts by public housing advocates to garner support from everyday neighbors. 

Instead, the T-P is playing some sort of socioeconomic division game, insinuating that the public housing advocates are ready to go buck wild and start taking their rich neighbors to the guillotine. Nobody was buck wild. 

Everyone was angry, passionate, and outraged. 
Why demolish these buildings without concrete contracts for site redevelopment?
Why demolish affordable housing units just as hundreds sleep in tents across the city and hundreds more prepare for eviction from FEMA trailers?


The anger is toward HANO, HUD, the C. the Ray the Nagin. There surely is resentment toward New Orleans neighbors presumably because public housing residents are disappointed in the lack of solidarity. I am 1 million percent positive no condos will be burning... that is a lie that increasingly feels like a deliberate dirty trick.

I have no doubt that public housing advocates do plan to be disruptive to business as usual in this city and will be directly disruptive of any and all attempts to raze the projects. 

I hope to stand with them.

That is a sexy, sexy poster. Too bad no cute white girls got hit with bricks, then we'd have a real free-for-all, wouldn't we?

I'll try to have more on this later, including pictures, but I'm late for work already.


Leigh C. said...

I didn't see that poster at all until I walked out of City Hall. I hope it doesn't lead the print version of the T-P tomorrow. Then it truly will be toilet paper...

Adrastos said...

Of course it will be in the paper. It's too good of a story to pass up.