Thursday, February 02, 2006

Ways to bring minorities home ...

More from Karen Brooks of the Dallas Morning News:

An underlying concern is whether people will be able to live in their old neighborhoods, where some families have been for generations. The most hotly contested part of the debate has become whether New Orleans has to look like its old self on the map in order to regain its heritage and personality, said Susan Howell, director of the Survey Research Center at the University of New Orleans.

"It has become a very racially charged discussion," she said.

As the city prepares to decide which neighborhoods should be brought back, the race question is hard to ignore: If the Lower Ninth Ward is bulldozed, where will those lower-income black homeowners rebuild? If the white, upper-class Lakeview neighborhood is rebuilt, will those affluent residents drive up housing costs in other areas?

Those involved or closely watching the progress say the answer is to encourage developers to build affordable housing for the working class, who prop up the city's tourism-based economy. Workers have complained that they're unable to go back to the houses they once rented because the rents have skyrocketed since the storm increased the demand and shortened the supply.

"If you really want to rebuild this city equitably and justly, then you will do it the way you never do it and that is to invest in the weakest neighborhoods first because it's in the interest of the city to do so," said Barbara Major, a black community activist and co-chairwoman of the mayor's Bring Back New Orleans Commission. She has been living in Houston since her eastern New Orleans home flooded during Katrina.

"If the mayor doesn't put economic justice front and center, then I don't want to come back to the damn city," she said, "and I don't want anybody else to, either."

Allen Johnson, a freelance writer based in New Orleans, contributed to this report.
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do my tax dollars have to be used to rebuild an area that could easily be

wiped out again? or pay billions to make it "safe"?
If people want to live there, knowing the threats, let them and their insurance

companies pay for rebuilding it.
I've got more important bills!
The same goes for any coastal or flood-plain area.

6:06 PM  

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