Why the NOAH scandal matters

Activist and NOLA blogger Karen Gadbois has a post up today related to a growing scandal in New Orleans. Now you may be thinking, ohanother Katrina scandal, but I ask you …Please Go read what Karen has to say andLook at the photos of Miss Dolores and you will see why this matters.

Now that you are back I’m going to ask a bit more. Below is a brief description of what this scandal involves but I really hope you will follow and read the links to the important work being done by these NOLA bloggers.

Last month irrregularities were first found by Gadbois in a program called theNew Orleans Affordable Homeownership or NOAH. Blogger E at We Could Be Famous blog also began to look into this with a series of posts. (Link – scroll to bottom for first) Both bloggers have had numerous important posts on this and this weekWWL took up the story. Jeffrey at Library Chronicles offersthis primer on what is involved and has occurred:

Yesterday afternoon, the Mayor escalated the controversy over the New
Orleans Affordable Homeownership Corporation (NOAH) by taking the
extraordinary step of holdinga press conference
to angrily refute the content of the previous evening’s WWLTV report
which alleged that NOAH may have misused federal community development
block grant funds.

Theagency’s mission is to gut and clean up blighted or flood damaged property belonging to senior and low-income residents. In the report, Lee Zurik takes a look
at a list of homes NOAH had been charged with remediating. Zurik’s
findings are similar to Karen Gadbois’ which reveal homes on the list
that are owned byshadowy LLCs, or byabsentee landlords, or byother city agencies, in other words, various entities other than “seniors and low income residents”. Some of the properties on NOAH’s the listwere not touched. Others appear not to exist at all.

The irregularities first came to light when Karen noticedthis house on the city’s Imminent Health Threat Demolition list.
A brand new sign advertised the fact that it had been gutted by NOAH…
just in time to be demolished with a different pool of federal funds
provided by FEMA. And so folks started asking questions. E over at We
Could Be Famousimmediately asked
1) Who are the contractors involved in doing the remediation work? and
2) Can we call them? The results were mixed…

There is much more and I hope you’ll read the rest because though this may be a city run program it is using federal funds and thus involves all of us. Nagin may not want attention brought to this fearing it will hurt the city’s recovery, which may well be one outcome, but what recovery is there in contractors apparently being paid and work not being done? What recovery was there for Miss Dolores? And how many others? If the Mayor didn’t want our attention he should have paid more attention to his program. It is as Gadbois says–No Transparency, No Recovery. Nagin needs to stop complaining and offer that transparency…Now.

4 thoughts on “Why the NOAH scandal matters

  1. Maenwhile the Mayor is taking the position that any reporting or blogging on this is due to some unholy biased alliance with his political enemies. Yesterday’s City Council hearing was attended by an audience of hecklers clearly seeking to shout down any criticism of the mayor and the city government. It’s goonish.
    The other problem is (and in NOLA there always is an “other problem”) some of the mayor’s enemies are in fact quite insufferable themselves and are looking to make a little political hay over this. And so you’ve got the journalists and citizens who just want some straight answers from the city stuck in the middle of yet another circus.

  2. Just a quick note.
    Did anyone, and I mean anyone, think that maybe naming anything in New Orleans “NOAH” might be a bad idea?

  3. It’s incredible to read the venomous retorts by “Feedupwithfoolishness” on the Gadbois blog. They are perplexing. He/she is somehow trying to make out Gadbois to be a racist crusader against those in power, namely Nagin.
    Here’s a taste of Feedupwithfoolishness: “I know it makes you feel good that you consider yourself “Saint Karen” and helping the poor elderly black people. but they are better served if you work along with the administration that’s in place instead of calling OUR mayor a crook and his staffers criminals and thugs.”
    In other words, “Put up and shut up!”
    It’s been said before on other blogs that it isn’t so much that Nagin is malicious – he very likely is not. He’s just not doing such a great job spearheading our recovery… I’ve never read a post that calls the mayor a “crook” or his staffers “criminals and thugs” on Squandered Heritage. Karen Gadbois and others do not deserve to be shouted down for being divisive when they looking to hold those in charge of ALL New Orleanians accountable. The people of New Orleans deserve answers for the disturbing irregularities with NOAH.
    The hecklers at the city council meeting and Feedupwithfoolishness who are loudly railing against those who are asking questions seem mighty satisfied with the power structures as they are. Don’t they realize that their cries carry the stench of fear? Like they have something to hide.

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