Friday, November 28, 2008

Jefferson Parish, Lift Your Weary Head

The number of trailers remaining in New Orleans and surrounding areas is quickly dwindling. According to FEMA, on September 20th, there were still 2650 trailers remaining, with 716 of them residing in Plaquemines Parish. FEMA has made it clear that they desire trailer-dwellers to seek permanent housing since June of 2007. Their optimistic stance, which is, essentially, "They can find their own housing and maybe get government assistance or help from non-profits" does not sit well with me. How, exactly, are they supposed to rely on government assistance when, over three years later, people are still without the necessary funds to rebuild? Funds that they were promised, I might add. In Jefferson Parish, 260 trailer-dwellers filed lawsuits, but now, after so many trailers have been hauled away, only 52 lawsuits remain active. It won't take much longer, at their current pace, to simply "get rid of the problem" all together.
Citing pressure from civic officials, Jefferson Parish has stepped up its efforts to get rid of the remaining trailers and sweep the problems under the rug. It seems that Jefferson Parish's president believes that governments run on hopes and dreams instead of legitimate urban planning. Without informing people where help can be found (as if it exists to begin with), many of these people will find themselves without any sort of housing and no way of acquiring any in the near future. I'm sure, in the eyes of civic leaders, having an increased homeless population will really add to their sense of normalcy that they so desperately desire. Perhaps it's to give peace of mind to those that weren't effected or had the means to rebuild. Perhaps a better use of their time and resources would be to try to get a handle on their incredibly high crime rate or, perhaps, to help businesses rebuild so people have employment. Any of the things I outlined in my last post would also be fine ideas as well. So kudos to you, Jefferson Parish civic officials, you've continued to show us that special interests are more important than human dignity.

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