I could write an incendiary post about ghettos and compare them to voluntary concentration camps. I could mention the superficial resemblance to Theresienstadt.
But I also wonder how many public housing residents actually want to return to the old projects? I don't think anybody knows.
HANO says they have hundreds of apartments available with few takers. I've never heard anyone dispute that. The only objection seems to be that some residents feel they have a right to pick any unit they want to, usually the same one they had before.
It seems the housing activists are agitating for a Palestinian like "Right of Return". Even in their language they speak as if Public Housing residents owned these buildings. That in itself is disturbing. C. B. Forgotston has some thoughts on that concept.
Many people in New Orleans have lost their homes, many of those homes were the homes they grew up in. On my block, for example, 4 families are moving, 2 houses have been torn down and 4 houses are under repair. It's a microcosm of the rest of the city. A block away there is an apartment complex sitting vacant and with no repair in sight. Around the corner are 3 unrepaired 4plexes, with some recent repair activity. Where did those people go? Public Housing residents aren't alone. Why should they be treated differently?
People have a right to housing, but they don't have a right to any specific house.
I wish the activists would put a little effort into helping the displaced residents move back to the housing HANO has available, or helping them qualify for housing vouchers for market rate housing, or helping them find housing, or counseling them about loss or more importantly helping them adjust to the new conditions in New Orleans. We all need that last one.
Instead some of these activists seem to be in a sort of Revolution Revival Reverie. Observing the forms of the "revolution" without much substance. They seem to resort to slogans and heated rhetoric from a sixties newsreel automatically. Lots of slogans and little justification.
As a sixties survivor, most of that "revolution", except for the Vietnam stuff, now looks to me like little more than a college prank. It was an imitation of the real revolution, the Civil Rights movement, which preceded it. We now seem to be involved in little more than street theater and some meeting room theater, reminiscent of the "Campus Occupations", which were a sort of sixties panty raid.
Everyone seems to have forgotten that these demolitions were coming long before the flood. The flood only hastened them somewhat. Nobody seems to be seriously talking about dealing with the causes and effects of poverty. Nobody seems to be talking about the very real and devastating failures of public housing policy and the hand some of these same activists or their predecessors had in that.