FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Why are They Making New Orleans a Ghost Town?

On Halloween night, New Orleans was very, very dark. Well over half the homes on the east bank of New Orleans sit vacant because they still do not have electricity. More do not have natural gas or running water. Most stoplights still do not work. Most street lights remain out.

Fully armed National Guard troops refuse to allow over ten thousand people to even physically visit their property in the Lower Ninth Ward neighborhood. Despite the fact that people cannot come back, tens of thousands of people face eviction from their homes. A local judge told me that their court expects to process a thousand evictions a day for weeks.

Renters still in shelters or temporary homes across the country will never see the court notice taped to the door of their home. Because they will not show up for the eviction hearing that they do not know about, their possessions will be tossed out in the street. In the street their possessions will sit alongside an estimated 3 million truck loads of downed trees, piles of mud, fiberglass insulation, crushed sheetrock, abandoned cars, spoiled mattresses, wet rugs, and horrifyingly smelly refrigerators full of food from August.

There are also New Orleans renters facing evictions from landlords who want to renovate and charge higher rents to the out of town workers who populate the city. Some renters have offered to pay their rent and are still being evicted. Others question why they should have to pay rent for September when they were not allowed to return to New Orleans.

New Orleans, known for its culture and food and music, is now pushing away the very people who created the culture and food and music. Mardi Gras Indians live and paraded in neighborhoods that sit without electricity or water. The back room cooks for many of the most famous restaurants cannot yet return to New Orleans. Musicians remain in exile. Housing is scarce and rents are soaring. Over 245,000 people lost jobs in September. Public education in New Orleans has not restarted. The levees are not even up to their flawed level in August.

Dr. Arjun Sengupta, the United Nations Human Rights Commission Special Reporter on Extreme Poverty, visited New Orleans and Baton Rouge last week. He toured the devastated areas and listened to the evacuees still in shelters and those living out of town with family.

Dr. Sengupta described current conditions as “shocking” and “gross violations of human rights.” The devastation itself is shocking, he explained, but even more shocking is that two months have passed and there is little to nothing being done to reconstruct vast areas of New Orleans. “The US is the richest nation in the history of the world. Why cannot it restore electricity and water and help people rebuild their homes and neighborhoods? If the US can rebuild Afghanistan and Iraq, why not New Orleans?”

The longer the poor and working class of New Orleans stay away, the more likely it will be that they never return. That, some say, is exactly what those in power in New Orleans and Louisiana and the US must want. Otherwise, why are they making New Orleans a ghost town?

BILL QUIGLEY teaches at Loyola University New Orleans School of Law, Quigley@loyno.edu.

 

 

More articles by:

Bill Quigley teaches law at Loyola University New Orleans and can be reached at quigley77@gmail.com.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
July 22, 2019
Michael Hudson
U.S. Economic Warfare and Likely Foreign Defenses
Evaggelos Vallianatos
If Japan Continues Slaughtering Whales, Boycott the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
Mike Garrity
Emergency Alert For the Wild Rockies
Dean Baker
The U.S.-China Trade War: Will Workers Lose?
Jonah Raskin
Paul Krassner, 1932-2019: American Satirist 
David Swanson
U.S. Troops Back in Saudi Arabia: What Could Go Wrong?
Robert Fisk
American Visitors to the Gestapo Museum Draw Their Own Conclusions
John Feffer
Trump’s Send-Them-Back Doctrine
Kenn Orphan – Phil Rockstroh
Landscape of Anguish and Palliatives: Predation, Addiction and LOL Emoticons in the Age of Late Stage Capitalism
Karl Grossman
A Farmworkers Bill of Rights
Gary Leupp
Omar and Trump
Robert Koehler
Fighting Climate Change Means Ending War
Susie Day
Mexicans Invade US, Trump Forced to Go Without Toothbrush
Elliot Sperber
Hey Diddle Diddle, Like Nero We Fiddle
Weekend Edition
July 19, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
The Blob Fought the Squad, and the Squad Won
Miguel A. Cruz-Díaz
It Was Never Just About the Chat: Ruminations on a Puerto Rican Revolution.
Anthony DiMaggio
System Capture 2020: The Role of the Upper-Class in Shaping Democratic Primary Politics
Andrew Levine
South Carolina Speaks for Whom?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Big Man, Pig Man
Bruce E. Levine
The Groundbreaking Public Health Study That Should Change U.S. Society—But Won’t
Evaggelos Vallianatos
How the Trump Administration is Eviscerating the Federal Government
Pete Dolack
All Seemed Possible When the Sandinistas Took Power 40 years Ago
Ramzy Baroud
Who Killed Oscar and Valeria: The Inconvenient History of the Refugee Crisis
Ron Jacobs
Dancing with Dr. Benway
Joseph Natoli
Gaming the Climate
Marshall Auerback
The Numbers are In, and Trump’s Tax Cuts are a Bust
Louisa Willcox
Wild Thoughts About the Wild Gallatin
Kenn Orphan
Stranger Things, Stranger Times
Mike Garrity
Environmentalists and Wilderness are Not the Timber Industry’s Big Problem
Helen Yaffe
Cuban Workers Celebrate Salary Rise From New Economic Measures
Brian Cloughley
What You Don’t Want to be in Trump’s America
David Underhill
The Inequality of Equal Pay
David Macaray
Adventures in Script-Writing
David Rosen
Say Goodbye to MAD, But Remember the Fight for Free Expression
Nick Pemberton
This Is Heaven!: A Journey to the Pearly Gates with Chuck Mertz
Dan Bacher
Chevron’s Oil Spill Endangers Kern County
J.P. Linstroth
A Racist President and Racial Trauma
Binoy Kampmark
Spying on Julian Assange
Rose Ramirez – Dedrick Asante-Mohammad
A Trump Plan to Throw 50,000 Kids Out of Their Schools
David Bravo
Precinct or Neighborhood? How Barcelona Keeps Rolling Out the Red Carpet for Global Capital
Ralph Nader
Will Any Disgusted Republicans Challenge Trump in the Primaries?
Dave Lindorff
The BS about Medicare-for-All Has to Stop!
Arnold August
Why the Canadian Government is Bullying Venezuela
Tom Clifford
China and the Swine Flu Outbreak
Missy Comley Beattie
Highest Anxiety
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail