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.
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'
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