NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— The ongoing dispute between the City of New Orleans and Gordon Plaza homeowners blew up in a meeting of the New Orleans City Council on Tuesday (Sept. 6).
The homeowners blasted the Council, and then, two council members blasted each other.
Councilman Oliver Thomas remarked at Tuesday’s Climate Change and Sustainability Committee meeting that some of the “newer” members of the Council might not realize that the Gordon Plaza fight has gone on for decades, and the city should reach a consensus.
The Gordon Plaza subdivision was built above a toxic landfill more than 40 years ago, and the EPA says the residents should be relocated.
But Councilman JP Morrell took exception to being called a newer member of the Council, and claimed that members who’ve been on the Council longer—like Thomas, who was on the Council in the years before Hurricane Katrina—hadn’t done anything to solve the problem.
“When you talk about ‘Everybody’s gotta get along,’ they’ve been getting along for 41 years, they’ve been living on a landfill,” Morrell said.
Thomas retorted, “That’s bull! What you’re talking about ain’t nothing but theater.”
And Morrell fired back, “Alright, he’s been on the Council how many times, and it hasn’t been resolved?”
WGNO reached out to both men for comment after the argument. Morrell replied by text that he “has nothing to add” to the discussion.
But Thomas said by text, “It’s over, moving forward! Praying we can work together to help our City!”
Despite the heated exchange, both councilmen agreed that Gordon Plaza residents have waited too long for a settlement. The Council has allocated $35 million to buy the homes and move the residents, but the question remains as to how much of that money each of the 67 homeowners will receive.