Archive for January, 2008

Visiting New Orleans

January 2, 2008

New Orleans is in heavy recovery mode from Hurricane Katrina.  A tremendous amount of damage can still be seen in and around the city.   Additionally there are deep political and spiritual struggles for the future of the city.  There is money to be made and many are interested in “cleaning up” the city.  Others are more concerned with justice and making things right.


While I was in New Orleans there was a controversial city council vote on the destruction of some public housing.   It seemed that the majority of New Olreanians supported tearing down the public housing.  However, from my perspective as an outsider, the proposed plan to provide affordable housing is out of touch with reality.  Housing in New Orleans, at the moment, is unaffordable. 


Consequently, there is a serious homeless problem in New Orleans.   Everyone I spoke with seemed to be unaware of this problem.  In fact, I was constantly told that there was low income housing, vouchers, and public assistance available.  Never the less, I saw with my own eyes, large homeless camps under overpasses and near city hall.   These people were well dressed, clean, and some were families with children.  So while the political spin seems to be that there is “affordable housing available”, the reality is the opposite.   There is not enough affordable housing, or perhaps the barriers to getting affordable housing are too high, or confusing, or demeaning.  No matter the cause, there are people, good people, living on the streets – homeless.


Peace, Paul