Sunday, December 11, 2005

Follow the money in New Orleans

"Thousands are being evicted by private landlords keen to cash in on doubled monthly rentals after the loss of 200,000 homes to the storm." The Observer reports from New Orleans (thanks to Edesio for forwarding the link).

The article is full of horrific stories:

--Sonia Fabiola, 54, a house cleaner from Guatemala returned to her rental apartment but was then threatened, had her rent check refused, her electricity cut off, had garbage dumped outside her door, and saw her neighbors' possessions cleaned out and thrown away. She was evicted this past Wednesday.

--the Iberville Project on the edge of the French Quarter, in an area now bustling with out-of-state contractors spending their money in the restaurants and bars off Bourbon Street, suffered little damage from the hurricane. But, like the majority of the city's housing projects, its residents remain barred from returning. Indeed, activists in the city say that 3,750, or about half of the public housing units, are either ready for occupation now or can easily be made so. Yet only a few dozen have been reopened.

I have spent a lot of effort blogging about the Gobindapur Railway Colony in Kolkata, which is being evicted. But there, the Mayor at least came through with new land and promised to provide public services, too, like electricity and water. Where's that kind of leadership in New Orleans?

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