Say No to wasting Katrina millions on demolition
by Bill Quigley
1. New Orleans is in the worst affordable housing crisis since the Civil War. HUD reports that the city is 100 percent rented as tens of thousands of homes remain wrecked. There was a waiting list of 18,000 people for public and Section 8 housing pre-Katrina. When HANO (Housing Authority of New Orleans) opened the list for Section 8 in 2001, 19,000 people applied.
2. Despite this, HUD has announced plans to demolish 4,534 public housing garden-style apartments: 1,546 in B.W. Cooper, 723 in C.J. Peete, 1,400 in St. Bernard, 865 in Lafitte.
3. John Fernandez, associate professor of architecture at MIT, has inspected 140 of these apartments and has concluded “no structural or nonstructural damage was found that could reasonably warrant any cost-effective building demolition …Therefore, the general conclusions are:
• “demolition of any of the buildings of these four projects is not supported by the evidence of the survey,
• “replacement of these buildings with contemporary construction would yield buildings of lower quality and shorter lifetime duration,
• “the original construction methods and materials of these projects are far superior in their resistance to hurricane conditions than typical new construction and
• “with renovation and regular maintenance, the lifetimes of the buildings in all four projects promise decades of continued service that may be extended indefinitely.”
(for the remainder of this article, go here.)