News Release

Katrina: The National Guard Shows Up


The Times-Picayune of New Orleans reports that protesters held a sit-in at the offices of the Housing Authority of New Orleans today, “while public housing residents remain shut out of their former complexes two years after Hurricane Katrina.” The newspaper reported that “New Orleans police and National Guard troops have sealed off the streets surrounding” the office building.

For information about the lack of National Guard troops in New Orleans in the aftermath of the Katrina disaster, see an IPA news release from two years ago titled “New Orleans Disaster: Where’s the National Guard?”

The following activists are available for interviews:

Cruz is co-director of the New Orleans-based organization Safe Streets. She said today: “The police presence was excessive and it was disproportionate considering the presence of peaceful folks who were in the building. When I arrived I counted 14 vehicles and Humvees from the New Orleans Police Department and from Military Police. Then a SWAT team arrived and the police presence increased even more. They cordoned off the street and kept pushing the observers back. The police were taking a very aggressive stance while the residents and their allies inside were merely asking for a meeting in a peaceful and respectful manner.”
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Denise Perry is director of PowerU, an organization that concentrates on needs of low-income urban residents. She said today: “At the sit-in, we represented a national coalition of groups who work on defending the rights of public housing residents. In New Orleans, there are several public housing facilities around the city — for example, there is one in St. Bernard Parish — that have been locked and shut down even though they are suitable for habitat. The one I’m talking about is brick and mortar and does not even need to be gutted and rebuilt.”

For more information, contact the Institute for Public Accuracy at (202) 347-0020.