Gordon Plaza residents demand fully-funded relocation

Community

NEW ORLEANS – Gordon Plaza is a subdivision that was built in the early 80s. In the City’s Desire Neighborhood- marked as affordable housing – there was just one problem, the homes were built on top of a toxic landfill.

“My wife was healthy and then she- for whatever reason- died of cancer. We truly- I truly believe with my heart and mind that it was caused by coming on this landfill,” Gordon Plaza resident Samuel Egana told WGNO. 

When Gordon Plaza was originally built, it was the American dream for many Black people looking for affordable housing. But it came at a price- the homes were built on top of the agricultural street landfill where the city’s toxic waste was dumped for more than 50 years.

Residents say the lethal environment has caused buildings to be permanently shut down, minor illnesses, and terminal health issues. That’s why they’re requesting the City for a fully-funded relocation.

“20 million dollars! We are asking at least 375 to 400 thousand dollars per home,” President of the residents of Gordon Plaza, Shannon Rainey shared. “Because we are fighting for a fully-funded relocation does not mean that we have to live in a slum!”

Rainey says she and her neighbors have been fighting for this relocation for over 30 years. Last summer, Mayor Cantrell showed support to the resident’s concerns. Now, more than a year later, she says she’s still committed to finding solutions. 

“Gordon Plaza is yet another one of those challenges that my administration is owning and facing,” Cantrell stated. “I have communicated this to the Godron Plaza community.”

“She was supposed to have a meeting with us- with the board members sometime in October of ’19” Rainey replied. “We’ll soon be in October of 2020 and we have not heard from her office since then! It’s time to move us off of this toxic landfill!”

Mayor Cantrell says she plans on exploring relocation possibilities which residents say couldn’t come quick enough. 

“We were put here with the belief that we were buying an American Dream,  not an American nightmare,” Egana said. 

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