Greetings Friends and Comrades

Survivors' Village

3800 Block of St. Bernard Avenue New Orleans, La. 70122


Greetings Friends and Comrades:

One year ago today Survivors' Village took its first steps towards the front of the bus and started an active resistance against the city of New Orleans, its housing authority (HANO) and their combined efforts to prevent public housing residents from returning to their homes.

Residents and volunteers stormed the gates of St. Bernard Development, forcing through barbed wire fences erected by HANO, to allow residents access to their homes. For some it was their first opportunity since hurricanes Katrina and Rita, to view the state of their apartments and retrieve things they wanted.

Our campaign is an active and vibrant struggle, surging and soaring in some moments, lagging and depressing in others. One member sums up our year aptly, "tell no

Iies ... claim no easy victories."

A year ago, when the HAND officials boarded up windows and doors and erected barbed wire topped fences around the developments, the destruction of public housing was a foregone conclusion, but residents and supporters did not stop fighting. Our fight to preserve these neighborhoods moves forward via:

  • A viable lawsuit - a lawsuit most thought would be summarily dismissed.

  • Rep. Maxine Water's Bill (HR-1227), which mandates the reopening of 3000 apartments by August, and halts the demolition of public housing while it guarantees one-for-one replacement for any redevelopment, passed with overwhelming support in the House and has moved on to the Senate.

  • Construction of Resurrection City - several wooden structures meant to house protestors.

  • Winning the public support of elected officials - Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco has endorsed maintaining current housing stock.

  • St. Bernard residents are meeting with representatives from the AFL-CIO to discuss the possibility of residents buying and redeveloping the area.

Our setbacks only highlight our city's misguided recovery and rebuilding efforts:

  • Following one of the most violent weekends in New Orleans - seven murders in a 72-hour period - city officials diverted the police force to ticket a Survivors' Village protestor exercising his First Amendment rights and destroy the structures of Resurrection City. The City also assigned future security of the St. Bernard development to the New Orleans Police Department.

  • Activists fighting alongside residents face charges in municipal court, which under normal circumstance would be routinely dismissed. In addition to myself, Malcolm Suber from the People's Hurricane Relief Fund, Jay Arena from C3, Bork from Mayday NOLA and Curtis from Common Ground have also been jailed and forced to fight various charges.

  • The New Day Community Center, inside St. Bernard, was destroyed by S.W.A.T. team members and HANO maintenance men after they removed peaceful protestors.

It is clear to me we are about to be met with a serious effort by the city to close both Resurrection City and the Survivors' Village permanently.

Our response must be to dedicate ourselves to rebuilding both Survivors' Village and Resurrection City. We must take the battle to the Mayor and City Hall.

Last night there was an emergency Survivors' Village meeting, and we decided to implement the following action steps:

  1. Starting this Saturday we will replace the signs, symbols, and memorials torn down by the city.

  2. Saturday April 14, we will have a 24-hour protest vigil the home of our Mayor, who won re-election primarily because of the support of public housing residents.

  3. After the vigil we will begin a 24-hour, 7-day a week, in-your-face direct action campaign targeting the mayor.

  4. We will picket and march on the Jazz and Heritage festivals to educate the tourists as to what is going on in New Orleans.

  5. We will plan and implement a time-limited tent city in Duncan plaza in the near future.

  6. We will rebuild Resurrection City on Saturday June 2,2007, and maintain a 24­hour, 7-day a week presence from that point on.

How Can You Help??

We will need the help of righteous and dedicated people in the following ways to continue our struggle successfully:

  1. We need financial resources to rebuild Resurrection City, the Survivors' Village and the New Day Support Center (to house our volunteers and to insure a place for people to live close to the battle front)

  2. We are calling for physical supporters. If you can come to New Orleans the first weekend in June and meet us at Resurrection City we will need as many bodies as possible!!

"'**Going to jail may be a part of this job description*"'*

To donate make checks payable to:

Survivors' Village 3820 Alfred St.

New Orleans, LA 70122

For more information contact:

Endesha Juakali 504-239-2907 EJKSSNO [at] YAHOO [dot] COM

Homeland Security Begins With Homes!!

Join Rally to Demand Sen. Mary Landrieu

Support DR 1227 to Reopen Housing Now!!

Senator Mary Landrieu will be the keynote speaker at a so-called 'Homeland Security Forum" sponsored by corporations hustling contracts from the federal government. Yet, at this forum there will be no talk about real homeland security for Louisianans, like constructing better levees, like preserving our wetlands, and like passing House Bill HR 1227 that includes:

  • Making $1.75 BILLION in unexpended FEMA funds available to the Louisiana Recovery Authority's Road Home program, that is' designed to help private homeowners rebuild.

  • Opening 3,000 badly needed public housing apartments in New Orleans by August 2007, and one-for one replacement in any redevelopment plans for HANO's stock of over 7,000 apartments.

Senator Landrieu has done NOTmNG to pass this bill; indeed she is trying to kill it! She and her family have relied on the support of working class and African American voters for years, but she is doing nothing to meet their REAL homeland security needs. Come out Friday and send her a clear message: Sponsor and Support HR 1227 in the Senate Now!!

Press Conference and Rally Friday, April 20

Gather at 11 :30 AM, Picket until 2 PM 611 Poydras Ave.

Pan American Life Center

Sponsor: C3/Hands OffIberville, United Front for Affordable Housing

For more information and to endorse this action call Elizabeth Cook at 504-319-3564