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Announcement :: Human Rights
Activists Chained to Bulldozers in New Orleans
19 Dec 2007
Affordable housing and homeless advocate Jamie "Bork" Loughner has chained herself to a bulldozer this morning at the B.W. Cooper housing complex in New Orleans.
Affordable housing and homeless advocate Jamie "Bork" Loughner has chained herself to a bulldozer this morning at the B.W. Cooper housing complex in New Orleans. The government this week started demolishing buildings at the B.W. Cooper complex, which has 1000 buildings and is located across the highway from the Superdome. The city this week delayed demolition at three other complexes, but started demolishing B.W. Cooper over the objections of residents.

Loughner is a member of Mayday NOLA, an advocacy group for housing and the homeless, and she was a co-founder of the Common Ground Clinics.

In today's issue of the New York Times, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/19/arts/design/19hous.html";>critic Nicolai Ouroussoff argues against the demolition</a>: "If the government gets its way, a rich architectural legacy will be supplanted by private, mixed-income developments with pitched roofs and wood-frame construction, an ersatz vision of small-town America. That this could happen in a city that still largely lies in ruins is both sad and grotesque." Ouroussoff concludes by arguing that the demolitions are a great travesty: "Blow after blow, in the name of progress. Cast as the city’s saviors, architects are being used to compound one of the greatest crimes in American urban planning."

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Dec. 19, 2007, 9am EST
Contact: Jay Arena, (504) 520-9521

ACTIVISTS CHAINED TO BULLDOZERS IN NEW ORLEANS: CIVIL RESISTANCE TO PUBLIC HOUSING DESTRUCTION BEGINS

NEW ORLEANS – A small group of local housing activists chained themselves to bulldozers early this morning that were slated to resume demolition of the B.W. Cooper housing complex. The Cooper houses are one of four public housing complexes that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development plans to raze, eliminating more than 4,500 apartment units in a hurricane-damaged city desperately short of housing.

The community activists chained themselves to the bulldozers on the morning of a day when the New Orleans City Council is scheduled to make a final vote on whether to approve the demolitions. “We are refusing to leave unless the City Council stops this illegal, unjust, and immoral plan to destroy vital housing,” said Jamie “Bork Loughner of MayDay NOLA, an advocate for the human right to housing. Along with MayDay NOLA, C3 Hands Off Iberville and Friends and Residents of B.W. Cooper make up a coalition calling for civil resistance to HUD's plans.

“People here are prepared to resist what amounts to an assault on their communities,” said Loughner.

The planned destruction of New Orleans public housing, part of a wider plan to dissolve poorer communities and gentrify the city in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, has sparked unprecedented resistance in New Orleans as well as protests across the country. In today's New York Times, architecture critics Nicolas Ouroussoff calls the demolitions “one of the greatest crimes in American urban planning.”

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See also:
http://www.infoshop.org/inews/

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