A Thousand Rally to Put Louisianans First

1000 rally at the Louisiana Capitol for a voice in rebuilding.

On October 28th, 1000 people gathered on the steps of the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge to call attention to the hundreds of thousands of Louisiana’s displaced working families, who are fighting for a voice in the rebuilding of New Orleans.

The Rally to Rebuild Louisiana was sponsored by New Opportunities for Action and Hope Coalition (NOAH), a group of LA-based labor and civil rights organizations, which includes ACORN, the AFL-CIO, SEIU Local 100, SEIU Local 21A, the NAACP, and others. NOAH is calling on federal, state, and local legislators to support job training and placement, fair wages, and access to affordable housing for Louisianans.

Beulah Labostrie, Louisiana ACORN’s long time president was one of the opening speakers, along with Vernon Bolden, the former president of SEIU Local 100. Governor Blanco promised the crowd that she would continue to play a role in trying to protect jobs and labor in the reconstruction of New Orleans.

“This is not just a New Orleans struggle,” said the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who also spoke. “Our nation’s character is on trial. This is our nation’s challenge.” Also participating were Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden, Congressman Jefferson, Congressman Melancon, New Orleans City Council President, Oliver Thomas, Reverend Al Sharpton, and other elected, faith, labor, and community leaders.

Since the storm hit, ACORN survivors have organized in cities across the Gulf States to fight for a right to return and a voice in the rebuilding process, in addition to affordable homes, living wage jobs, adequate health care, and good schools.

“We needed all those things before,” says Ms. Labostrie, whose Gentilly home was severely damaged by the storm. “Now whatever we were trying to do before has become so enormous. We need to get the Louisiana people back to Louisiana, to have some kind of affordable housing, jobs, someplace to come home to, and especially schools.” Job placement and training information were also available at the rally.