Iberville demolition marks end of an era | NewOrleans | The Advocate — Baton Rouge, LA

An absorbing piece by Katy Reckdahl about the demolition of the public housing.

As usual, Reckdahl has humanized a complex story and showed how community is the heartbeat of New Orleans. The story of the demolition of public housing since the Federal levee breaks is not about the need for “new” houses, but about the commercialization and gentrification of our neighborhoods in the hopes of attracting younger, white residents and excluding those people of color who live there now. Now that Iberville has now been turned over to the developers, it will severely restrict the ability of the workers of the Quarter to reach their jobs easily.  I believe that the city has had the destruction of Iberville as one of their main goals for years and have finally desensitized most residents enough about developers greed to actually get it started now.

I am in agreement with many for the need to redesign the public housing to the streetscape by reducing the number and orientation of the buildings, but I cannot agree that removing almost all of the well-built brick townhouses for wood townhouses and making most “market rent” will help anyone but those developers. Regular people who have lived near and worked in the Quarter for generations will have to move away and many will look for jobs nearer to home. This destruction of  good housing without the addition of jobs and supportive social services is emblematic of the inequality that government’s actions now often represent.

Maybe this administration that has been busy helping developers can add some public transportation choices for those workers to be able to get to their homes that will now be further away.

And beyond that, the fact that families and friends that will be broken up, never to be able to live within their community again must be remembered.

“On weekends too, he occasionally passes through the complex, to say hi to a friend’s mother or simply reconnect to home.

“If my life is a game of tag, it’s my base,” he said.”

Iberville demolition marks end of an era