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Public Housing Residents to Hold Press Conference Prior to HANO Meeting
by Curtis Rumrill Thursday, Feb. 01, 2007 at 1:47 PM


Media contact: Stephanie Mingo / / 504.529.3171
Endesha Juakali / / 504.239.2907 or 504.284.6975
Mayday NOLA / 202.246.7665

Public Housing Residents to Hold Press Conference Prior to HANO Meeting

New Orleans, LA (February 1, 2007) Public housing residents and members of Mayday NOLA will hold a press conference tonight, Thursday, February 1 at 7:00pm at the Fischer Community Center, 1400 Semmes Street before a public HANO meeting on the demolition of the St. Bernard and the Lafitte complexes.

At the press conference residents and organizers will address both the purpose and legitimacy of the HANO meeting, as well as the SWAT team raid of the New Day Community Center early Wednesday morning that resulted in the arrest of two members of Mayday NOLA. HANO is required to hold the meeting to gather information about the historical significance of the buildings that make up the four New Orleans public housing complexes slated for demolition. However, Malcolm Suber of the People's Hurricane Relief Fund feels that HANO is not acting in good faith.

"This meeting is putting the cart before the horse since this is still in court," says Suber, referring to a lawsuit attempting to halt the demolition filed on behalf of public housing residents. "We're here to say 'hold on!' This is not a legitimate meeting because the people who are most impacted are not being consulted. They were shipped out of their homes and are now locked out of the city and excluded from this process. We are asking that they be given the right to determine their own future."

"What HANO and HUD have done to the people is unfair," says Sharon Sears Jasper, a St. Bernard resident. "They are trying to make it seems like we are the criminals when they are the criminals. If they won't clean [our homes] up, we will. They say we are trespassing when we go clean up our apartments. They charge [Mayday NOLA] with destroying property, but then they go and destroy a community center after arresting the people inside. No matter what HANO does, we're gonna stop these demolitions. If there needs to be more arrests, there will be."

On the topic of the police raid, Suber says, "The raid was a conscious act by the police department and HANO to act before the Judge's ruling. They anticipated that they were going to lose." On Wednesday, after the arrests, District Court Judge Ivan Lemelle denied a request that individuals be barred from entering the St. Bernard complex grounds without HANO's permission. "This demonstrates the contemptuous nature of HANO to act against the people's rights, will, and the rule of law."

"This is a hard long struggle to the end," says Sears Jasper. "It's about our families coming home. This is bigger than us. God is here and he's listening and he's gonna help us see this through. We will not let the city destroy our homes."


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