This is infuriating. From theTimes Picayune:
“There was David. You got Christopher. Then there was Jason. Oh, and
Simon,” Grandpre, 76, said this week, recalling the student volunteers
who came from Boston and Seattle to tear out her plaster walls and save
the few precious items the flood did not destroy.
“I call them my little angels,” she said.
It appears, however, that another crew has taken credit for
demolition work at Grandpre’s house. City records show that Hall &
Hall Enterprises, the highest-paid contractor in Mayor Ray Nagin’s home
remediation program, billed the city $7,830 for gutting and boarding up
the house and cutting the grass at the St. Anthony Street property.
house is one of at least seven addresses that appear on two lists
detailing post-storm remediation. One list belongs to the Episcopal
Diocese of Louisiana’s Office of Disaster Response, which organized
volunteers from across the country to come to New Orleans and provide
free home remediation services, such as gutting and boarding up homes,
to residents in need of help.
Those same addresses appear on a list produced by the nonprofit New
Orleans Affordable Homeownership Corp., which oversaw a remediation
program that contractors billed a total of $1.8 million.
The homeownership corporation, also known as NOAH, billed taxpayers more than $25,000 for work at those addresses.
Keep in mind this scandal involved federal dollars and volunteers from outside of New Orleans so this has repercussions beyond the city of New Orleans. Anyone in NOAH or any other city agencies as well as contractors who took part in this need to be held to account. It’s just despicable to take credit and payment for work done by volunteers.
This story will eventually go national and think of the many volunteers who will wonder if a contractor was paid for their hard dirty labor done freely out of care, concern and love for the city and people of New Orleans. As you know ourFirst Draft Krewe gutted a home in NOLA in March 2007. For those of you in the Krewe and the other First Drafters who contributed financially please know I checked and the home we gutted is NOT on the NOAH list. If it were I’d be damn angry. Though it is not us, damn angry is how some volunteers out there will feel. As it is I’m just angry that when this story does break out, it likely will hurt the recovery and it is not the fault of the NOLA bloggers who discovered this scandal or the press who reported on it or the people of New Orleans who will be hurt by it. No place the blame with city employees/officials and contractors, who whether through incompetence and/or corruption, made this happen and the more that is learned it is becoming harder to believe it is the former.