Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Homeless in New Orleans: You have to fight the entire city just to survive

The way the City has dealt with homelessness in New Orleans has generally been to try and abuse, starve, and threaten the homeless until they leave the city or end up in jail (where the City makes money off of them) for a long time. As stated in this video, they've forced compassionate people providing free food to the homeless under the Mississippi River Bridge to stop. 

They previously shut down the people feeding the homeless at "the wall" where Elysian Fields Ave. meets the river levee wall. They even arrested the Christian food providers multiple times when they refused to stop feeding the homeless. The operation was ended when NOPD started threatening to arrest the homeless people in line to eat the food, and the homeless stopped coming. There is now a fence erected around that area. 

The homeless are regularly arrested for sleeping in the many abandoned buildings in New Orleans. They are arrested for looking homeless in the French Quarter, especially if they are black, which is why many homeless black people will tell you they don't dare enter the French Quarter at night.

This is how the City of New Orleans deals with homelessness. This is how they deal with poverty. This is how they show compassion for those who have less than themselves. They do all this despite the evidence that those approaches do not work. Why do they continue with failed approaches? Because those are the only approaches that the white, racist, rich elites of New Orleans will approve of. Apartheid is alive and well in America. It is going on in the very city you live in.

One approach that has proven to be much more effective, both in terms of costs and outcomes, than the solutions of repression, harassment, and brutal indifference is called Housing First. I wonder if anyone in City Hall has ever heard of it? I wonder if any of the racists and classists who hate the homeless and demand police attack them at every turn as "criminals" have ever heard of it? Do they even care to consider it? Do they even want to consider any alternatives that do not satisfy their thirst for vengeance against those who remind them that poverty exists? Their base, disgusting desire to destroy anything that reminds them that people are suffering, that their is a world much more cruel and brutal taking place than what they see on TV sit-coms and Real Housewives of Gated Communities every day? Their bloodlust against the poor?

Probably not.


  1. Solution: abolish private property, allow the homeless to take over abandoned properties, abolish landlordism.

  2. I agree with you on that one. I was trying to point out that within their own framework of capitalist democracy they choose the more brutal and less compassionate, and less effective, path in trying to solve problems.

    But as I stated in the post about ending poverty to end crime, legalizing squatting and not letting landlords fuck people (jacking up rent after Katrina, evictions without reason, rent raises without reason, etc...) over constantly would go a long way towards ending homelessness.

  3. You are only allowed to feed folks that need it if you are part of "BigCharity" like the Ozanan Inn, NO Mission, The Salvation Army, or Rebuild that allow the directors a nice salary out of donation pots as well as can pay off the powers that be. Some of these places actually get money based on the number of heads they feed. If everyone is under the bridge and not eating at the established places, they lose cash (and salary).

    Actual giving just because it is cool to do is not American. Or didn't we know that already?