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2004-12-12
New Orleans, LA. Five National Groups Support Lawsuit Against Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart may be open for business in the lower garden district of New Orleans, Louisiana, but the Battle for New Orleans is far from over. This week five national groups announced they are challenging the $325 million dollar, 64 acre project in Federal Court. Beyond the Wal-Mart, the project includes mixed-income housing. The American Planning Association, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Sierra Club, and the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, filed "friend of the court" briefs in support of a lawsuit filed by Smart Growth for Louisiana and four other New Orleans non-profit groups. The lawsuit charges that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) failed to produce an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the massive redevelopment, as required by Federal law. In addition to concerns about how a suburban-design supercenter will harm a key historic district in the city, the group of plaintiffs charge that HUD's deception in the case irrevocably harmed low income minorities, whom the Hope VI housing program was designed to serve. The lawsuit notes that the developer, Historic Restoration, Inc. (HRI) tore down 1,500 units of public housing to put up a Wal-Mart supercenter and upscale housing. The groups claim that 800 low-income minority families were uprooted, and less than 10% of those families will end up living in the new redevelopment. So the enterprise ended up being a major displacement project -- and even resulted in social turmoil and violence in the low-income neighborhood. In a recent newspaper article, the head of HRI stated that "the relocation of the St. Thomas residents was botched...(they) received too little information, and many were relocated to other housing complexes, which resulted in turf wars, and some murders."

What you can do: For earlier stories on this case, search Newsflash by "New Orleans". To contact local activists in New Orleans, email Attorney Bill Borah at wborah@aol.com










 
 
"Norman has become the guru of the anti-Wal-Mart movement" ~ 60 Minutes

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