Notes from New Orleans: Salvage Remains an Afterthought

Posted on: April 17th, 2008 by Walter Gallas

The demolition of the Lafitte housing project.Last Thursday, I was among the dispirited onlookers watching the demolition of the Lafitte housing development get underway in earnest. Bulldozers with claws were chewing up two buildings, contents and all. In contrast to what has been done at St. Bernard, none of the appliances, furniture or other belongings remaining in the apartments had been removed prior to the demolition. Everything was in the mix of rubble, with the bulldozer operator doing a rough job of separating furniture from appliances. The porch ironwork was amidst the material; no apparent effort had been made to remove it prior to demolition.

The demolition of the Lafitte housing project.In the Times-Picayune, John Angelina, the head of D. H. Griffin, the Houston-based demolition contractor, said while some metals like windows and pipes might go to a scrap metal recycler, it wasn't possible to save the iron railings because of the "time crunch" the job is under.

The demolition of the Lafitte housing project.I called Rick Denhart of Mercy Corps, who had been working with the demolition contractor on a salvage plan for Lafitte. He said that while he was awaiting written confirmation from the contractor that salvage was going to happen, he was confident that it would happen at least to some degree on some of the buildings. I told him demolition was underway already. Again--as with the very modest effort at C.J. Peete--it appears that salvage at Lafitte is clearly an after-thought.

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