Listen to Residents of Gordon Plaza Fight Environmental Racism for Fully Funded Relocation from toxic waste in New Orleans

the Takeaway: Produced by Katrina Barton and Ethan Oberman | Hosted by Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry

What’s the difference between the Gordon Plaza fight for a FULLY funded relocation ($35M) and the Agriculture Street Landfill Class action lawsuit ($75M)? Watch Video

The Residents of Gordon Plaza, who are in a fight for a FULLY funded relocation, are now advancing their fight again on Monday, January 31, 2022.

Today, they held a press conference to provide key information regarding 10 things they want everyone to know. Now that a $35M line item has been added to the capital improvement plan budget on January 6th, the funds must now be allocated and distributed so that Residents can safely move into healthy homes of their choice. No more delays (no matter how they are framed as progress) are acceptable! The time is NOW! #GordonPlaza

Residents of Gordon Plaza held a rally in front of the Dr. Martin Luther King monument on Monday, January 17 to honor his life and legacy, as they fight for a FULLY funded relocation.

MLK said, “Justice too long delayed is justice denied.”  40 years is too long to suffer on a toxic landfill, as it should not have ever happened in the first place. It’s time for immediate allocation and distribution of funds, so residents fighting for a FULLY funded relocation can safely move into healthy homes of their choice. The City of New Orleans has confirmed that funds are available, and due to relentless organizing a $35M line item is now in the capital budget. So the time is NOW!

As a result of Residents of Gordon Plaza’s relentless fight for their lives, a motion was approved on Thursday, January 6, 2022, during the New Orleans City Council meeting, to place a $35M line item in the New Orleans City Capital Improvement Plan Budget, toward a long overdue FULLY funded relocation.

This is a significant step forward in ensuring that we can move into healthy homes of our choice. 
However, it is critical that we make it known that now that this vote has happened, and the funding is set aside for the purpose of FULLY funding the relocation, that we continue this fight to HAVE an immediate timeline for immediate distribution of funds. 
Our goal is to ensure that as Residents of Gordon Plaza, members of our community can extend and improve our quality of life. 
Therefore, again, as long as we live on top of a toxic cancer causing landfill, we have no choice but to fight for this demand FULLY, until we can move safely into healthy homes of our choice. There remains work to be done, as we fight for Black lives while we yet live!
Ancestor Malcolm X said: “If you stick a knife in my back nine inches and pull it out six inches, there’s no progress. If you pull it all the way out that’s not progress. Progress is healing the wound that the blow made. And they haven’t even pulled the knife out, much less heal the wound.”

1. The Demand is a FULLY funded relocation, which includes:

  • A buyout for each property owner demanding a fully funded relocation at the replacement cost, had our homes not been built on toxic soil by the City of New Orleans (not a devalued amount).
  • This buyout must include moving expenses, to honor our right to live in healthy homes of our choice, without having to incur any debt as a result. Each day that goes by, the cost and our associated moving expenses increase.
  • This buyout must occur BEFORE / PRIOR to any future project or construction begins to ensure our safety, health & dignity as human beings (particularly during this time of a global health pandemic of COVID-19, while many of us are already immune compromised).

Should a solar energy farm or other project be built in or near this area, it only makes sense that such construction occurs after we have been safely and FULLY compensated PRIOR to the relocation. This is why we have such a persistent demand that this happen with the urgency that all climate and environmental justice leaders are saying now is needed.

We have already suffered innumerable health effects, including cancers, and lost loved ones. This location is in a census tract with the second highest cancer rate in the state of Louisiana. This is a part of Cancer Alley, and our time for a FULLY funded relocation is NOW!

During this month’s New Orleans City budget hearing meetings, we have raised our voices loud and clear to state that we demand to be included in this budget. We experienced a breakthrough moment on Thursday, November 4, when the New Orleans Chief Administrative Officer Gilbert Montano stated in regards to Gordon Plaza: “There is a line item in the budget.”, referring to the $300 million funds that came as a result of the New Orleans City bonds sale.

Then, this past Saturday, November 13, the Mayor refers to Gordon Plaza in her second term acceptance speech. She said, “This is our time. We can turn around the injustices like environmental injustices like our Gordon Plaza community. I’ve heard you over the 3 and half past years.”  

We appreciate the words, but what we need more than ever is an URGENT, and we mean URGENT commitment to follow through in action toward resolve. The actions we need will result is us having the ability to:

1.     SEE the line item (that was stated by Mr. Montano) in the budget for $35 million. We have seen all of the other mayor’s priorities in a budget proposal to be approved by city council. It only makes sense that if there is a line item for our FULLY funded relocation, that we be able to see that as well, and that is read for the amount that will secure our community at $35 million, which includes our moving expenses.

2.     HAVE an immediate timeline for distribution of funds for the FULLY funded relocation, followed by CONFIRMATION that funds have cleared.

Stay tuned for more updates!

The Residents of Gordon Plaza in the Upper Ninth Ward of New Orleans have been fighting for a fully funded relocation for almost 30 years, off the toxic soil on which their homes were built.

I SUPPORT A FULLY FUNDED RELOCATION FOR GORDON PLAZA BECAUSE…

Show your support for Gordon Plaza on social media using these hashtags:

#FullyFundedRelocationForGordonplaza #GordonPlaza