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economic justice | homelessness | katrina aftermath

Please call the Gretna, Lousiana Police Chief -stop threatening & evicting residents!

Please call the Gretna Police Chief at 504-366-4374 to express outrage
and dismay at the harassment and threats being made by members of the
Gretna police department toward tenants in Terrytown.
Over the last few days, members of the Gretna police force have harassed, intimidated and
threatened residents of the Louisburg Square apartments at the request
of the apartment complex's manager. The owner of the apartment
complex, LES Realty Trust, filed eviction orders against the tenants Wednesday,
October 26th, with a court date of Nov. 2nd. The tenants have a legal
right to remain in their homes until the court orders an eviction or
until their lease expires. LES Realty Trust has had workers from BMCI
Contracting (407-522-4444, fax 407-855-0049) working and staying at the
apartments for several weeks, although no permits have been issued by
the city for the work to be done. The apartment owners have also been
having cars towed from the complex's parking lots (also illegally) by
Quick Recovery Auto Salvage (504-392-3493). Please call these firms as
well and inform them that they are party to illegal activities by
working with LES Realty Trust on this matter.

more info:
 http://neworleans.indymedia.org/news/2005/10/6066.php

As Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco's emergency freeze on evictions
in the New Orleans area was lifted on Tuesday, landlords throughout New
Orleans have begun to serve eviction notices to thousands of tenants,
who will begin eviction hearings Nov. 2nd.

The residents of Louisburg Square Apartments in the Terrytown section
of Gretna are fighting an attempt the by the owner of the complex to
evict them from their homes. The management of Louisburg Square
Apartments has refused tenants' offers to pay rent for the months of
September and October. Now the same management has secured eviction
orders against the tenants for non-payment of rent.

Last night one of the tenants organizing against the evictions received
a late-night visit from the Gretna police department, who threatened
her with arrest for trying to organize the tenants, and for speaking out
publicly on the issue.

The Gretna police department gained international infamy after the
Hurricane when New Orleans citizens trying to escape the flooded
streets of New Orleans tried to cross the Mississippi river bridge into Gretna,
but were pushed back into the flood by Gretna police shooting live
rounds over their heads.

Residents of Louisburg Square have noted that the owner of their
complex has close ties with the Gretna Police, and with the Justice of the
Peace who will be hearing their petitions in court.

A writ filed Monday by local housing rights groups required that
eviction hearings be held in the New Orleans area instead of 2 hours
away in Gonzalez, Louisiana, but housing advocates consider this a
minor victory in the upcoming battle to save tens of thousands of peoples'
homes.

The residents of Louisburg Square, like the hundreds of thousands of
other renters in the New Orleans area, know full well that eviction in
the midst of the dire shortage of affordable housing in post-Katrina
New Orleans could well be a guarantee of homelessness. They know full well
that the owners of Louisburg Square are using "non-payment" of rent as
a pretext to open up the complex to those who can afford to pay double or
perhaps triple the current rate. The residents of Louisburg Apartments
also know full well that a respect for basic human need and justice
requires that they resist this immoral and heartless attempted
eviction.

why don't the tenants stand up for themselves? 30.Oct.2005 13:55

act locally

Uh, there are plenty of issues right here in Portland that people can be acting on. If the landlord is doing the things that this article says, then the residents have plenty of recourse. Keep going up the chain of command until you find someone who can prosecute the landlord for the illegal activity.

Gretna Police and Government (City Hall) are all crooks/dishonest! 07.Dec.2006 03:34

S.M.Barracco VampyreleFemme81568@msn.com

My family and I are law abiding citizen here in Gretna, where I UNFORTUNATELY live. Other than some traffic violations, I have NEVER had ANY problems with the police...ANYWHERE! I grew up here and have lived here all of my life, as have my mother and grandmother and great grandmother and our families.

On July 3, 2006, my husband and I were returning home with groceries for our Independence Day cookout. Our driveway was blocked by a visitor at the neighbors house. 1 of the men standing outside went to get the cars driver to move his car since it was in our way (and parked illegally). We waited approx. 10 mins and the driver of the car emerged from the home cussing and screaming at us. I tried my best to just "blow him off", but, when he threatened my 17 y/o daughter and my 11 y/o son, that was it. We had some serious words and then he spit in my face, some of which went into my mouth, and drove off. I got the license plate number and called 911. The initial report states that the neighbors gave what later turned out to be false info and the police claim that I gave them no witnesses, even though my witnesses where present when the initial report by officer Dwight Dorsey was taken on the day of the offense (which was supposed to be simple battery against the suspect) and at least 2 of my witnesses where here when Det. Brian Rico came for his follow-up.

At least 3 of the neighbors (whose daughter/sister happens to go out with this "man"/suspect and has at least 1 child with him), told me that he has "connections" here. Well, I decided not to let it go, so I mailed a list of all of my witnesses to both te City Attorney W.J. LeBlanc (who was indicted along w/ Judges Green and Bodenheimer & Bailbonds man Louis Marcotte)and to Det. Rico (who should remember me as the woman who just a year ago helped out a young boy in our area whose mom was off on a crack binge and had left him alone and uncared for....so I took him in). I sent the witness info via USPS certified mail w/ return receipt requested. I knew if I sent it through the mail as normal, they would just throw them away and claim they hadn't received them. Within 3 days, Det. Rico returned to my home (about 3 months after the July 3rd incident) to inform me that they had dropped the suspects simple battery charge and were here to issue us each a summons for Disturbing The Peace!

I went to court and pleaded not guilty. I have to go back in March for the trial. I have a good attorney. If that's not enough, here it is, early December, and things are just getting worse. The original suspect has now threatened to kill me, my husband and both of my kids, burn my house down and destroy my car.....more than once. I have called 911 and, even though the suspect was in the middle of the street yelling and cussing in front of witnesses that he was going to kill us all, etc..., even though I stayed on MY porch the ENTIRE time and only threatened him with a lawsuit (to cover the 6 years worth of AIDS testing I have to go through & the hepatitis A,B,&C and other tests I have to take since he spit in my mouth)...Guess what happened?

Officer Douglas Zemlick, who, along with the Gretna Police Dept., Cheif A. Lawson and the Departments insurance company, is being sued by the mother of another victims children (on their behalf) for shooting and killing a man (last name Manis) as he slept in his truck at an intersection. The police claim self defense, but the victim was shot 5 times in the back by officer Zemlick and the victim still had his seat belt on. Well he decided to insist that I come down from my porch, which I never left in the 1st place, yelled at me and told me that I had threatened the suspect and arrested us both for disturbing the peace!

My arraignment is set for Mid-December. I WILL PLEAD NOT GUILTY! My lawyer assures me that I will not be convicted and is looking into lawsuits against the police and against the suspect himself.

But wait....just when you thought it was over....

The City of Gretna has an ordinance (Article V, Sec. 42-135) which reads as follows: A) IT SHALL BE UNLAWFUL FOR ANY PROPRIETARY PARTY TO MAINTAIN, PERMIT, OR ALLOW THE ACCUMULATION, COLLECTION ON HIS PREISES ANY OF THE FOLLOWING: TRASH, DEBRIS, REFUSE, JUNK, ABANDONED, DISCARDED OR UNUSED OBJECTS, EQUIPMENT, MACHINERY OR PARTS THEREOF, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, FURNITURE, STOVES, REFRIGERATORS, FREEZERS, AIR CONDITIONERS, MOTOR VEHICLES, CANS, CONTAINERS, METAL, BUILDING MATERIALS OR OTHER DISCARDED, ABANDONED OR NOXIOUS MATTER, AND THE SAME IS HEREBY DECLARED TO BE A NUISANCE.
B) THE UNENCLOSED AND UNSHELTERED STORAGE OR KEEPING OF ANY OLD, STRIPPED, WRECKED, PARTIALLY DISMANTLED OR OTHERWISE NONOPERATING MOTOR VEHICLE, MACHINERY, IMPLEMENTS, EQUIPMENT, BUILDING MATERIALS OR PERSONAL PROPERTY OF ANY KIND, WHICH IS NO LONGER IN GOOD OPERATING CONDITION OR SAFELY USABLE FOR THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH IS WAS MANUFACTURED, ON ANY PREMISES BY A PROPRIETARY PARTYFOR A PERIOD OF LONGER THAN 5 DAYS IS HEREBY PROHIBITED AND DECLARED A NUISANCE.

Another section of the law allows the property owner 10 days to clean up. We live in a fairly nice quiet neighborhood, except for the neighbors next door. Since I couldn't get the police to do their job (and since the neighbors had at least 4 junk cars, an engine and tranmission on the ground, car parts thrown about the yard and under the house, pounds of roofing and other building materials, etc... that have been there for at least 2 yrs), I decided to try to get just a small piece of "payback", so I reported them to the city regulatory inspector, Trudy Scales. She assured me that they had until Friday, Dec. 1, 2006 to have it cleaned up. I spoke to her via phone the following Monday. She instructed me that she had spoken to the property owner/landlord. Apparently he asked for an extension, so she gave him 1, no questions asked. Christmas is coming and we have family from out of town coming. I doubt the yard will be cleaned by then and quite honestly I doubt if it's even done by Mardi Gras! It's quite embarrassing when you take such good care of your home and have to live next door to, what I like to refer to as Fred Sanford's Salvage Yard!

As you can see, Gretna's corruption is not just within the police dept., but rather within the whole government as an entity. We are relatively well-to-do and are currently looking to move out of this region, perhaps even out of state. To those thinking of moving to Gretna, I CAUTION YOU! Jefferson Parish is O.K., but Gretna is just way to corrupt! Stay out if you can!!!

(504) 324-3502
822 Amelia Street