Posted March 19, 2008 – In the ongoing battle of the Big Easy between advocates for low-income housing and government officials attempting to demolish four large housing projects, New Orleans Police Tuesday arrested three protestors who were armed with bullhorns and placards.
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“Stop The Demolition!” the protestors yelled outside the partially demolished St. Bernard Housing Development, waving their signs and demanding that city officials halt the destruction until Congress has a chance to investigate corruption charges against Housing and Urban Development chief Alfonso Jackson.
Calling the area in front of the demolition site a “crime scene,” officers said that anyone penetrating the yellow plastic tape would be arrested. The three who challenged that decree – Kawana Jasper; her mother, Sharon; and longtime protester Jay Arena, were arrested.
“The demolition should be put on hold,” Kawana Jasper told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Before Hurricane Katrina ravaged her neighborhood in late August 2005, she lived in a building in the complex that has already been demolished, the newspaper reported.
Jasper is among the many housing advocates who contend that the city has far too few homes for low-income residents, making it increasingly more difficult for displaced New Orleanians to return home. This reality has an even greater impact on poor Black residents, since their neighborhoods were it hardest by the killer storm.
Charges could include battery against a police officer.
“We try to remind the protesters that their fight is not with the police department,” said New Orleans Sgt. Joe Narcisse.
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