NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans Public Housing residents and affordable housing advocates are being locked out of the New Orleans City Council (public meeting) proceedings and being harassed by multiple law enforcement agencies as they attempt to conduct a peaceful show of support for a halt to the immoral and untimely demolition of the four largest housing developments during an unprecedented housing crisis in this city.

Approximately 500 participants who attended an opening press conference preceding City Council’s regularly scheduled session this morning, Dec. 20, were met with a show of force from several law enforcement agencies. Since 10 a.m., people have been pepper-sprayed and locked out of the proceedings. Twenty-four have been arrested.

Organizers on the ground in New Orleans are asking for supporters in the struggle for affordable, decent housing and the right for all those displaced by Hurricane Katrina and the policies which hold blatant disregard for low-income and poor people to send out a call to:

Get on the phone. Call your representative and senators, urging them to support the passage of SB 1668, the New Orleans Housing Recovery Act, currently awaiting a vote in the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. There is a list of phone numbers here:

Send out mail and make calls. Send word to New Orleans elected officials that their way of working with recovery issues is inhumane. Tell them that, until the broad constituency they were elected to represent are treated with the respect they deserve and represented in the process of redeveloping their city, their plans will only harm the very people that make this city the unique and special place that it is.

Council members:

Arnie Fielkow (President)
City Hall, Room 2W40
1300 Perdido Street
New Orleans, LA 70112
Phone: (504) 658-1060
Fax: (504) 658-1068

Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson (Vice President)
City Hall, Room 2W50
1300 Perdido Street
New Orleans, LA 70112
Phone: (504) 658-1070
Fax: (504) 658-1077

Shelley Midura District A
City Hall, Room 2W80
1300 Perdido Street
New Orleans, LA 70112
Phone: (504) 658-1010
Fax: (504) 658-1016

Stacy S. Head District B
City Hall, Room 2W10
1300 Perdido Street
New Orleans, LA 70112
Phone: (504) 658 -1020
Fax: (504) 658-1025

James Carter District C
City Hall, Room 2W70
1300 Perdido Street
New Orleans, LA 70112
Phone: (504) 658-1030
Fax: (504) 658-1037

Cynthia Hedge-Morrell District D
City Hall, Room 2W20
1300 Perdido Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70112
Phone: (504) 658-1040
Fax: (504) 658-1048

Cynthia Willard-Lewis District E
City Hall, Room 2W60
1300 Perdido Street
New Orleans, LA 70112
Phone: (504) 658-1050
Fax: (504) 658-1058

Mayor Ray Nagin
New Orleans City Hall
1300 Perdido Street
New Orleans, LA 70112
City Hall Operator: (504) 658-4000

Spread the Word via e-mail. Get the word out to your network of family members, friends and co-workers. The attack on low-income and poor families is not limited to New Orleans. If we allow affordable housing to disappear during a critical time in this city’s recovery, there will be less chance for it’s survival throughout the U.S.

HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson has helped to procure lucrative contracts for hundreds of thousands of dollars for friends and associates who went to work at HUD-controlled housing authorities in New Orleans and the Virgin Islands. He is now holding up the threat of ending funds for all redevelopment in his sector over the head of this city, if demolitions do not go forward. There is valid reason to be suspicious of the type of contract work that will be done for millions of dollars that destroy sound structures rather than redeveloping communities with the input of its residents. Act now to support a full and just recovery for all of those so devastated in the Gulf south.

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