Demolition Begins For Iberville Housing Projects
WGNO News Reporter Darian Trotter talked to some of them who are worried about what’s next.
It’s the end of an era.
Iberville is last on the list of city housing projects to be torn down.
Tuesday was demolition day; despite resistance and wide-spread protests.
“It’s gotta come down,” tenant Henry Jyles said.
Things spiraled out of control at a 2007 New Orleans City Council meeting; when demolition talks first began, threatening the livelihoods of thousands of low-income families.
“You mean to tell me you gonna put these people outta they house, they have nowhere to go,” one protestors yelled.
“Housing is a human right, housing is a human right,” the crowd shouted.
Dozens were arrested, and several people were hospitalized.
Six years later, it was all for not.
“Well it just let’s be know it’s real out here that we got to move around,” tenant Morris Jones said. “So I don’t know where I’m going at now you know.”
More than half of Iberville tenants have already been displaced.
And that’s been the hardest part for Henry Jyles.
“My neighbors, they scattered, you know I miss all my neighbors,” Jyles said.
Heavy equipment is clearing the way for a newly constructed, mixed-income community to be located steps away from the French Quarter.
It’s prime real estate for which city leaders say long-time tenants will be given the first chance to occupy.
Morris Jones has his doubts.
“You know how many times they said that, you heard me,” Jones said. “They say that a million times.” “You can go to each and every project you know what I’m saying and the same people that was back there in the old projects, they’re not back there no more.” “You know they’re not going to let them people come around here with them tourists.”
“I’m being uprooted again, I’m being uprooted again,” tenant Brenda Hill said.
Hill moved to Iberville years ago when The Florida Projects were torn down.
She says the demolition is unsettling all over again.
“It’s like your world is crumbling in front of your eyes, everything is just taken from you,” Hill said “It’s like you helpless; to see something being taken from you and you don’t have no control over you.”
The Housing Authority of New Orleans has helped relocate some 250 families, with the 100 remaining families to be moved by January.
The first phase of demolition is expected to be completed by October, with the start of new construction to immediately follow.