A lawsuit filed in Louisiana last June seeks the immediate re-opening of New Orleans’ public housing units. Judge Ivan Lemelle recently ruled that the case deserves to be heard and a trial is set for November 26th, 2007. Hardly “immediate”.
The suit is being brought against US Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson and the Housing Authority of New Orleans by a collaborative effort between the Advancement Project, the law firm of Jenner and Block, and New Orleans’ attorneys Bill Quigley and Tracie Washington.
Advancement Project Co-Director Judith Browne-Davis shared her frustration with the press:
“It’s a mind-blowing, emotional experience to watch a city, famed for its food, fun and fabulous cultural significance, get more or less wiped off the face of the Earth. But then, to make matters worse, we witness a government that openly suggests that New Orleans – in particular its African-American citizenry – just weren’t and aren’t worth saving.”
To exacerbate the problem, the flood has caused a major housing shortage in New Orleans, which in turn has caused rent payments to skyrocket. If ever there was a need for public housing in New Orleans, it is now.
And although many of the public housing projects suffered minimal damage, local and federal authorities have made plans to tear them down and put up “mixed-income” developments. Exactly what the city hopes to accomplish by this we do not know, but you can bet a major real estate development company is greasing some pockets in New Orleans and Washington.
So our question is – Why wait until November to hear the case? Are the courts that busy prosecuting people for smoking marijuana? Are they overwhelmed with traffic violations?
Read more about this lawsuit here (PDF File) at the Advancement Project’s website.