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Remaking New Orleans for the wealthy

City residents denounce “Bring New Orleans Back” rebuilding plan

World Socialist Web Site

Remaking New Orleans for the wealthy

By Kate Randall
14 January 2006

New Orleans residents reacted with anger and defiance Wednesday to a proposed rebuilding plan for the city devastated by Hurricane Katrina more than four months ago. The “Bring New Orleans Back” Commission, created by Mayor Ray Nagin, unveiled the plan at a standing-room-only meeting attended by hundreds of residents. The audience was too large for the meeting room and spilled out into the corridors of the Sheraton Hotel where it was held.

Under the plan, the mostly working class and poor residents of the hardest-hit areas—comprising some two-thirds of the city and including more than half of its homeowners—would not be allowed to move back and begin rebuilding their homes for at least four months. With Nagin’s approval, the moratorium on building permits would begin on January 20. The vast area of the city targeted by the proposal includes major portions of the Gentilly, Mid-City, Lakeview and Lower 9th Ward neighborhoods.

As for the tens of thousands of working class New Orleans residents stripped of their homes and jobs and scattered across the country as a result of the government’s incompetence in the Katrina disaster, they will be left to their own devices. This is the outcome of President Bush’s televised pledge, some four months ago, to rebuild the city “higher and better.”

The role of Nagin, a former Cox Communications executive and a Democrat, underscores the agreement of the Democratic and Republican parties to tailor the rebuilding effort to the wealthy and essentially abandon the working class victims of the hurricane.

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