Hurricane Housing Censorship News
Housing Authority of New Orleans asks attorney helping Katrina-evacuee tenants to stop talking to media about contentous government plan to demolish public housing deemed too damaged by Katrina to fix
By Cheryl Smith,
10:40AM, Fri. Feb. 2, 2007
The Housing Authority of New Orleans recently sent a letter to nervy New Orleans attorney Bill Quigley requesting that he stop sharing with the equally nervy media his opinions about the plan of the housing authority, which is overseen by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, to demolish public-housing complexes the government has deemed too damaged by Hurricane Katrina to fix. According to the Advancement Project – a D.C.-based civil rights group whose members, led by Quigley, have taken legal action against HUD and the Housing Authority on behalf of the damaged complexes’ former residents – New Orleans lost roughly half of its rental housing due to Katrina.
“By failing to reopen housing units that were undamaged by Hurricane Katrina, failing to repair other units, and declaring that most of the existing public-housing stock in New Orleans will be destroyed, HANO and HUD are shirking their obligation to provide safe, affordable housing for low-income families and access to housing free from discrimination,” said Quigley in an Advancement Project press release from last summer, when the suit was filed. Quigley told Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman on her Jan. 31 program: “I have been involved in a lot of controversial exchanges and struggles with governmental agencies in the past, but this is really – to have the federal government and the local government say, ‘Stop talking to the press,’ insist that interviews on documentaries be taken down, and the like is just – it’s very troubling. I have told them I’m not going to do it.” Due to the ongoing litigation, HUD declined to comment. See www.democracynow.org for more on this, as well as recent conflict over efforts to stop the St. Bernard housing project from being destroyed; for more on Katrina’s aftermath, see “After the Storm,” Aug. 25, 2006.