The mayor promised to remediate 10,000 blighted properties in New Orleans. In January, he announced he had met his goal. But that was based on a study of all properties that had been fixed up, regardless of whether the city got involved. The city is now cited as a model for blight reduction, but there’s no official count of properties that have been remediated.
It took six years for Kimberly James to get Road Home money to rehab her Upper 9th Ward home. This summer, she thought she was months away from inhabiting it. But in July, she learned that the city had demolished the house, concluding that not enough progress had been made in rehabbing it. She says no one told her the house had been targeted for demolition.
By Karen Gadbois, The Lens staff writer |
Cashier’s check in hand, local developer Peter Gardner showed up at Tuesday’s sheriff’s auction eager to bid on real estate – in particular a raised cottage on Governor Nicholls Street in the Seventh Ward. Dozens of rundown properties are offered to the highest bidder at bi-monthly auctions held in the lobby of Civil District Court and hailed by City Hall as a key strategy in the fight against post-Katrina blight. Ten percent of the sale price is required at the time of the auction.
By Brad Vogel, The Lens contributing opinion writer |
Over the weekend, David Simon, creator of HBO’s Treme, publicly critiqued the city’s ongoing blight fight. Addressing the sixth annual Rising Tide conference, he noted how odd it was to see politicians standing in front of demolitions crowing about progress. Referring to a spat with the Mayor Mitch Landrieu over demolitions on Derbigny Street, Simon observed, “[He] demonstrated that there wasn’t a great deal of novelty to his approach.”
I have to agree. Unfortunately, for all the talk of innovation, the City of New Orleans continues to push for yet another round of mass demolitions, seemingly hell-bent to display as little creativity as possible in its blight eradication effort.