Saturday, October 9, 2010

VA Footprint Acqusitions: Ms. Brenda Breaux's Update

As you can see, there are very few properties left to squeeze out.

A total of 91 properties have been acquired by expropriation (eminent domain) to date - in the VA Footprint alone.  That's not counting whatever LSU has expropriated in the LSU Footprint.  And, from the tail end of the list, one can see that more expropriations are coming. 

What is expropriation?  It's not simply a benign tool for making a project happen.

Imagine living in a house for much of your life.  Your children were born there, you rebuilt after Katrina.  Someone comes along from the state intent on buying your property.  You don't want to move.  You negotiate to get a higher price, one you believe you deserve.  There's some bargaining, but ultimately the state thinks your asking price is too high.  The state then files a notice with a court, deposits an amount it thinks appropriate, and tells you that you have so many days to leave whether you want to or not.  The City Council talks about having extensive hearings...after the deed is done.

That, in a greatly simplified nutshell, is how expropriation has proceeded in the VA Footprint.  And, while I wouldn't wish it on anyone, perhaps Ms. Breaux, too, will experience the joys of expropriation firsthand some day.

It's also interesting to see that the Dixie Brewery parcels are still hanging out there.  They have not yet been acquired.  Yesterday, I happened to encounter the owners of the properties on site.

Ms. Breaux also reported on the number of demolitions and moves in the Footprint, and they were different from my own tabulation - likely due to a few outbuildings or connected residence/business spaces that I did not include in my numbers.  Roughly speaking, though, as of this weekend, approximately 30 structures have been demolished and 30 have been moved off the VA Footprint site.

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