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The proposed "renewal" of downtown New Orleans would come with a steep price: less affordable housing for the working poor traded for low paying service industry jobs in big box retailers.

One thing history can teach us: historical patterns can stay the same, but wear shiny new clothing that makes it seem different. Sort of like the emperor got a set of new clothes, that is really no clothes at all. The latest plan for the redevelopment of Iberville and the downtown area surrounding, detailed in the Times Picayune on Sunday, October 31st, reflects an historical pattern that appears attractive. The pattern is this: co-opt the land that the poor, and working poor are living on and redevelop it for the profit needs of the capitalists.

In this instance, in the midst of the worse economic downturn since the Great Depression, we are treated to what could almost be called an obscene proposal: bring in big box retailers in the area around Iberville Housing Development, more shopping options for the disappearing middle class, staffed by the working poor, with truly affordable public housing sacrificed at the altar of “urban renewal”.


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