CommunityPam's House Blend

How's this for a bold statement?

I guess it’s a foregone conclusion in the Bush White House, all part of the master plan: HUD chief foresees a ‘whiter’ Big Easy.

A Bush Cabinet officer predicted this week that New Orleans likely will never again be a majority black city, and several black officials are outraged.

Alphonso R. Jackson
, secretary of housing and urban development, during a visit with hurricane victims in Houston, said New Orleans would not reach its pre-Katrina population of “500,000 people for a long time,” and “it’s not going to be as black as it was for a long time, if ever again.”

Rep. Danny K. Davis, Illinois Democrat and a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, quickly took issue. “Anybody who can make that kind of projection with some degree of certainty or accuracy must have a crystal ball that I can’t see or maybe they are more prophetic than any of us can imagine,” he said.

Other members of the caucus said the comments by Mr. Jackson, who is black, could be misconstrued as a goal, particularly considering his position of responsibility in the administration.

In the end, Jackson is right. Most of the NOLA poor black residents, now dispersed across the country, will plant roots elsewhere. The first people to resettle in the Big Easy will the the well-heeled residents that lived there before (many whose homes were on higher ground and didn’t flood). They will be in there with the well-funded speculators, who will rebuild the city in a way that will squeeze out any chance of affordable housing existing. We all know it. There will be lots of discussion and proposals and lip service about it, but in the end, you’ll see a shiny, new whiter New Orleans, with the “right kind” of black population sprinkled in (as in, not poor), you know, Mayor Nagin’s crowd, the black bourgeiousie.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding