The Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) announced this week that it would repair and reopen 18 buildings (representing 94 housing units) in the Lafitte public housing development, and would also open additional apartments in two other housing developments. This means that at least a portion of the Lafitte housing development which has been sealed since Katrina will be open for occupancy.
During discussions with HUD and HANO about the fate of these buildings, we had argued for the re-use of a substantial number of them as part of an overall redevelopment plan—but were told that this was not economically feasible. These are solidly-built brick structures from the early 1940’s with decorative ironwork on the porches, wooden sash windows, and red tile roofs. Lafitte is one of four housing developments HANO plans to completely demolish. At least for now, in a city with a chronic shortage of affordable and low-income housing, we will have a bit more.
Walter Gallas is director of the New Orleans Field Office.