Monday, January 17, 2011

Displacement Caused by the LSU/VA Hospitals Project

The number of people who have been or who are about to be displaced by the project in Lower Mid-City is staggering.

From the Programmatic Environmental Assessment for Site Selection, published in November 2008:

A total of approximately 618 persons are estimated to reside currently on these two sites in a total of 265 housing units. These totals include approximately 331 residents and 140 housing units on the VAMC site and 287 residents and 125 housing units on the LSU AMC site (ESRI 2008). As a direct result of the proposed projects, these residents of the proposed VAMC and LSU AMC sites would be displaced and required to relocate to housing outside of the project areas.

The VAMC site, once home to 331 residents, is now home to a mere handful of people.

The PEA goes on to make this statement, a real gem:

Considering the relatively small number of persons that would be displaced, the population of the City would not be significantly affected, though there could be minor changes in the populations of Planning District 4 and other local planning districts if the displaced residents decided to remain in the City.

Relatively small?  Relative to what?  Forcing over 600 people out of their homes seems somewhere closer to "big" on the scale I'm using.  There's also this from a subsequent environmental assessment for the VA Footprint:

The actual number of residents on the site is not available. This SEA incorporates the conclusion of the PEA that given the small number of residents on the VAMC Site-Specific Environmental Assessment site in comparison with the total population of the City of New Orleans, the potential impacts to population would be minor.

Minimizing the mass displacement of hundreds of people by making it a percentage is laughable.  It muddies the issue intentionally.

Functioning businesses, too, were/are being displaced en masse.  The VA Footprint alone sported 24 businesses as of 2008.  Today, there are none.

Mickey Weiser of Weiser Security had this to say months ago:

His company moved out this month:

As Roberta Gratz noted in her recent book, The Battle for Gotham, the damage to individuals, businesses, and families involved in the "downward spiral" triggered by mass relocations is both deep and broad.

No comments: