Saturday, December 9, 2006

New Orleans approves project demolition

Dec 9, 2006, 13:36 GMT

NEW ORLEANS, LA, United States (UPI) -- New Orleans` plan to demolish the city`s four largest public housing projects has taken a step forward.

The Housing Authority of New Orleans approved the destruction Thursday, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported. The plan would remove about 7,500 subsidized apartments -- including the St. Bernard, C.J. Peete, Lafitte and B.W. Cooper projects -- and another 600 apartments scattered around the city.

City officials say the projects -- which had never been renovated since their construction a half-century or more ago -- were already in bad shape and Hurricane Katrina rendered them uninhabitable and not worth repairing. They also argue that rehabilitation would restore economic and racial segregation.

The city has plans to build mixed-income housing to replace the projects.

Any construction must wait for the resolution of a civil rights suit filed in June. At a meeting last week, former residents of the projects opposed demolition.

'The day you tear down St. Bernard, you`re going to break a lot of hearts,' said Sharon Jasper, a former resident.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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