Public housing activists take anger to St. Charles
07:24 AM CDT on Sunday, June 18, 2006
A few dozen public housing residents and supporters marched on one of New Orleans’ wealthiest neighborhoods Saturday in protest over plans to knock down much of the city’s public housing developments.
Alex Brannon / Associated Press
Public housing residents and activists walk the streetcar tracks on St. Charles Avenue to protest HUD's plan to demolish most public housing in New Orleans on Saturday June 17, 2006. HUD plans to demolish four housing developments, some damaged by Hurricane Katrina, to make way for mixed income housing.
Protesters carried signs and chanted as they made their way outside the gated community of Audubon Place.
The message protesters sought to carry out was in opposition to the plan to create mixed income neighborhoods where several developments once stood crowded with low income people.
“If they want to mix the city, let’s mix the city,” said Cynthia Wiggins, a march organizer. “But let’s mix it across the city, not just in certain areas.”
Plans were unveiled this week to close and demolish four of the developments that haven’t reopened since Katrina. Only 1,000 of the city’s close to 6,000 public housing units have reopened and only another 1,000 will be available in the next year or two, according to the plan.
The plans for the St. Bernard, C.J Peete, B.W. Cooper and Lafitte developments call for them to resemble the overhaul that St. Thomas’ development received when it was turned into mixed-income housing and retail.
While many of the residents now in River Gardens said they like the new surroundings, others say that too many families were displaced during the renovations and were unable to return.