Coalition condemns the start of St. Bernard Demolition

Date Published: 
February 19, 2008
The Coalition to Stop the Demolition stands with Survivors' Village and residents of St. Bernard in calling for a halt to the demolition of the St. Bernard public housing apartments. Demolition of the apartments began yesterday (2/18/08) on the heels of a lawsuit filed in Civil District Court on Friday (2/15/08) calling for the City Council's demolition decisions to be declared null and void due to violation of Sunshine laws at the December 20, 2007 City Council meeting where hundreds opposed to demolition were locked out of the meeting, pepper-sprayed, tasered, and arrested.
The demolition is also proceeding despite a federal investigation into charges of corruption in the awarding of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) contracts, including the contract with Columbia Residential for the redevelopment of St. Bernard. Current HUD redevelopment plans would replace only 160 of the 1,436 public housing apartments, far short of the one-to-one replacement of units listed as part of SB1668, the Gulf Coast Housing Recovery Act and being called for by local public housing residents and housing activists.  Residents of St. Bernard have offered their own alternative redevelopment plan, but have been denied input into the planning process.
Demolition was approved by the New Orleans City Council despite the fact that provisos mandated by the Dec. 20, 2007 City Council Resolution and the subsequent Mayoral letter to HUD have not been met.  These provisos were designed to hold HUD accountable to producing clear, financially guaranteed redevelopment plans and greater local representation in its decision making processes.  The Coalition to Stop the Demolitions and Survivors' Village stand united in demanding that any demolition and redevelopment plans for the public housing developments include one-to-one replacement for the public housing apartments in order to address the crisis of affordable housing and homelessness the city currently faces.
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