Monday, December 05, 2005

Louisiana: We hate New Orleans people part 49039

Nation: I have never seen this much F you to one city within its own state before. This time you can't blame FEMA. The article the editorial below is based on here.

"Jefferson Parish Councilman Byron Lee says that his constituents were speaking out of fear when they decried plans to build a temporary trailer park in Marrero to house hurricane victims. No doubt he's right, but the comments some West Bank residents made at a public forum also reflect another emotion: hatred. That's a shame because hatred is far more destructive. "If they want to take in Jefferson Parish residents only, that's one thing. But outsiders, no," one woman said. Another speaker was less subtle: "How do we know these people are not from the projects of Orleans?" A FEMA spokeswoman told audience members who were fretting about a crime surge that they shouldn't assume the trailers would house bad people. The crowd responded with derisive laughter. Bigotry, whether it's based on ZIP code, income level or race seems to be alive and well after Katrina, and that's disgraceful. This region simply can't endure another force that tears us apart when we are working so hard to knit back together, and parish officials shouldn't pander to bigots. Unfortunately, that's what Mr. Lee is doing. He says he'll block people from moving into the Ames site and is pulling plans for three additional parks in his district until FEMA addresses concerns. Perhaps FEMA can address issues like density -- the one complaint Mr. Lee raised that might have some validity. But it's difficult to see how FEMA can address deep-seated prejudice and irrational fear. It seems unlikely that the angry, shouting people at the forum would be more willing to welcome New Orleanians as neighbors if they were just spaced a little more widely. Mr. Lee said that no one wants trailers in their backyard. But that's pre-Katrina talk, and the truth is, NIMBY-ism was mean-spirited and small-minded even before the storm blew in.
Previous "Keep them New Orleans people out" posts here and here with Kip Holden laying down the law.
"After the fight, Baton Rouge Mayor-President Melvin L. "Kip" Holden beefed up the police presence and blasted the state for sending "New Orleans thugs" for his city to house. "We do not want to inherit the looting and all of the other foolishness that went on in New Orleans," Holden told reporters. "We do not want to inherit that breed that seeks to prey on other people."

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