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St Bernard Public Housing residents take stand

For Immediate Release

New Orleans, Louisiana
March 17, 2008
St Bernard Public Housing Residents to Demonstrate Tuesday Morning, March 18, Against Demolition and Corruption

Press Conference and Rally on Tuesday, March 18 at 9 AM, 3800 St Bernard Ave.

New Orleans, La. Residents of the St. Bernard Public Housing development and supporters will gather Tuesday morning at 9 AM in front of the St Bernard development to express their outrage over the destruction of their community. Instead of demolition residents call for one-for-one replacement of all public housing apartments, as provided for in Senate Bill 1668.

Currently, the Bush administration, with the full support of the New Orleans city government, is demolishing some 1400 badly needed public housing apartments at St Bernard and thousands more at three other developments. This is happening despite United Nations human rights investigators, and the UN human rights commission, condemning demolition as racist and violations of various international human rights conventions.

In addition to flouting human rights agreements, Mayor Nagin has even broken his own promises to residents, including the reopening of 75 apartments at St Bernard. The mayor has not followed through on even this small concession. Once again, public housing residents have been lied to by authorities.

Further adding to the crime of demolition is that Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson is now under a federal grand jury investigation for awarding the 'redevelopment' contract at St. Bernard to Columbia residential, a company with which he has an ongoing business relationship. Despite this cloud of corruption, local authorities, including the ethics office of Robert Cerasoli, have made no effort to investigate these well-founded allegations of ethics violations.

The demolition of St Bernard is a crime on many levels--with regard to human rights conventions the US is a signatory to, with regard to U.S. laws regarding the awarding of government contracts, and, clearly, Christian laws that we are supposed to be remembering and commemorating this Holy Week.

Press Spokespersons Sharon Jasper can be reached at 504-324-3657 and Kowana Jasper at 994-9263