Coalition condemns demolition order for the St. Bernard projects and the criminalization of the homeless

The Coalition to Stop the Demolitions stands in condemnation of the New Orleans City Council and Mayor C. Ray Nagin for their decision on Friday, February 1st to issue demolition permits for the St. Bernard housing project. This decision was a blatant betrayal of the very provisos mandated by the December 20th City Council Resolution and December 21st Mayoral letter to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  

In an effort to justify their support for the 7-0 vote on December 20th, the Mayor and City Council issued statements promising to hold HUD accountable to producing clear, financially guaranteed redevelopment plans and greater local representation in its decision making processes before the issuance of new permits. Given that their own conditions have not been met, it is now fully apparent that their true aim was merely to provide the appearance of being democratic and locally supported despite rapidly advancing the demolitions. Further, the invocation of "public habitation" laws to criminalize the homeless demonstrates that the Mayor and the City Council have no intention to humanely address the affordable housing crisis plaguing the city.

The Coalition to Stop the Demolitions intends to resist these callous maneuvers and fight to create a participatory and equitable solution to the housing crisis afflicting our beloved city and community.

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Coalition applauds efforts of Senator Edwards to give voice to the issues in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in the Presidential Race

The Coalition to Stop the Demolitions salutes former South Carolina Senator John Edwards for making the ongoing agony of the peoples of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region a central focus of his Presidential campaign.

Senator Edwards was the first Presidential candidate to take a principled position in favor of Senate Bill 1668 and took the strongest position on the sub-prime mortgage crisis which is devastating countless families in our city and region. For this we again applaud him.

The Coalition is disappointed that the clearest and most consistent voice addressing our basic concerns in the Presidential race to date is choosing to end his campaign at this time. Given the overall failure of the debates thus far to critically address substantive issues – such as the equitable reconstruction of the Gulf Coast; the right of internally displaced persons (IDP's) to return home with dignity and justice in a manner that is in keeping with internationally agreed upon standards; the right of IDP's to vote in their home states; a critical need for affordable housing; a living wage and the right to unionize; and the end to the unjust wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; just to name a few – we are concerned that the items that desperately need to be addressed during this election cycle will be sacrificed to political symbolism and posturing that will only aggravate the suffering of working class New Orleanians and millions throughout the US.

The Coalition hopes that Senator Edwards will continue to use his voice to raise our issues and stand with us to ensure that they become central to the debates and agendas of all the Presidential aspirants.