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Reply #23: Jagerbb .... you could not be more wrong about acorn [View All]

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althecat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-11-08 12:53 AM
Response to Reply #22
23. Jagerbb .... you could not be more wrong about acorn
NOLA Lost: 72 hours in Americas other Ground Zero
Monday, 16 October 2006, 5:49 pm
Article: Charles Shaw


Mojo is populated by young bohemian aspirant whites who are part of a gentrification vanguard that has crept into this historically sketchy neighborhood on the banks of the river. This section of the Lower Garden District is more than 18 blocks from the Quarter, and Im on the Internet trying to find my way to the offices of ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) so that I can hook up with a couple community organizers and get a personal tour of the Lower 9th.

Normally, Sarah shouts over the hiss of the steamer, Id tell you to take the Magazine St. bus. But it doesnt really run that much anymore. None of the buses or street cars do, not since.

I decide to cab it. In the cab, the driver tells me Im his first fare of the day. When I ask him how business is, he says his family is starving, his wife lost her job because of Katrina, and that theres barely enough business to offset his gas costs. At an intersection another cab pulls up alongside, and the two men exchange a few words in their native language. Then the other drives off.

Hes going home, the driver laughs. He says Im hogging all the business.



ACORNs headquarters on Elysian Fields Road.
There are a lot of rolled eyes in New Orleans these days over the word ACORN. Equally, though, there is heartfelt praise, because they are a unique presence in post-Katrina New Orleans. Ever since the hurricane blew the roof off their offices on Elysian Fields road, the New Orleans chapter of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now have stood side by side with the residents of New Orleans poorest neighborhoods, including the Lower 9th, and helped them recover by gutting their houses, helping them file their taxes and relief paperwork, train for jobs, find public aid, and fight the ceaseless onslaught by the big money interests who would rather they just not stay. They have even authored a set of planning principles called Rebuilding After Hurricane Katrina.

They are also the only thing that stands between the former residents of the Lower 9th and the 2005 Supreme Court decision in Kelo v. New London which extended Eminent Domain to commercial development. In simpler terms, the dirty little secret about New Orleans is that Ray Nagin and the powers that be in the Big Easy are involved in a land grab of historical proportions.

A business in the Lower 9th that is slated for demolition despite protests from the owner.

Its actually not that big a secret in New Orleans. ACORNs red and white No Land Grab and No Bulldozing signs are on virtually every house in the Lower Ninth, and their public campaign to save property rights is the leading cause of the aforementioned eye-rolling. Most of the signs went up in protest to an ordinance passed on August 29th that authorized the city to take any house or plot of land not already under redevelopment. This meant all homes and lots had to be cleared of all debris, and structures boarded, plans made, and permits filed. Forgetting that most of the residents were poor and completely wiped out, those who did try will tell you they faced every obstacle imaginable.

We had to fight just for the right to come back, ACORNs Marie Hurt says as we circle block after block in the 9th. One of our Directors had to go to Washington to testify that the National Guard had closed off the Lower 9th and homeowners were not being let back in. The Lower 9th wasnt the only neighborhood that flooded, but it was the only one closed off by armed troops.

Hurts pissed. Everyone is gone, she says. There is no one left to fight for what is right, and the powers that be know this.

Two weeks ago when everybody was talking about Katrina , where did all the media go to interview people? Not here. They went to Houston to interview people about New Orleans.

ACORN volunteer Gwendolyn Adams standing on the former site of her home, which was bulldozed by the city without her permission.

In the passenger seat is Gwendolyn Adams, an ACORN volunteer. Were headed to the former site of her home that sits in sight of the spot where the levee broke. The levee wall was replaced by a mile long concrete monolith that eerily resembles the apartheid wall in Israel. It may convey a renewed sense of strength and security, but it is, of course, far too little too late.

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