Katrina survivors to rally in D.C.

Survivors of Hurricane Katrina and their supporters will demonstrate in Washington, D.C., Feb. 8-9, to demand “the right to return and the funds to rebuild” from lawmakers. The ACORN Katrina Survivors Association is organizing the caravan and events to the nation’s capital.

“We are going to Washington to let the world know how the U.S. government has turned its back on us,” said Dorothy Stukes, a rally spokesperson. “Every Katrina survivor: get on board and let’s fight for the help we need and deserve.”

Buses to the rally will depart from Baton Rouge, La.; New Orleans; San Antonio, Texas; Little Rock, Ark. and other cities housing displaced survivors. Anyone who wishes to participate can call the ACORN Hurricane Hotline at (800) 790-2290.

Legal victory stops property demolition

Homeowners in New Orleans’ 9th Ward won a temporary restraining order against the city to prevent the bulldozing of their property until a Jan. 6 hearing.

Lawyers from the Loyola Law Clinic filed suit Dec. 28 on behalf of homeowners after city officials announced that some 5,500 homes would be demolished.

“I have no problem with unsafe places being taken down,” said Hereast Harrison, a 40-year 9th Ward resident and supporter of the People’s Hurricane Relief Fund, one of the organizations active with the suit. But, she said, since residents are not part of the decision process, she’s “wary” that people were not properly informed and will not be appropriately compensated.

African American joblessness surges

Joblessness among African Americans surged last month to a staggering 10.6 percent, more than double that of whites.

Black congressional leaders and others placed the blame on the impact of Hurricane Katrina. Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said the aftermath of Katrina could push unemployment rates for Black Americans even higher.

The Bush administration, however, is touting an overall positive outlook for the economy.

Bush has “turned a blind eye” to the high unemployment rate facing African Americans, countered Amaya Smith, a Democratic National Committee spokesperson.

Gulf Coast update is compiled by Terrie Albano (talbano@pww.org). Reports from The Louisiana Weekly contributed to this week’s update.