San Francisco, August 15-Today New Orleans native Sakura Kone’ spoke on KPFA and KPOO radio to report on the present state of affairs in New Orleans.
August 29 will mark the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation o the Crescent City.
Kone’ lived in the Bay Area for many years. He went back to NOLA after Katriana hit, and is still living there to help bring about “The Revolution” to resist the Ethnic Cleansing of NOLA’s African American population and the gentrification of the city.
But his family still lives in the Bay, and as he spoke over the airways today his grandson was with him.
“Today the African American population of New Orleans is reported as 59%, Kone’ said. “Before The Storm it was reported as 69”%. But since they historically underreport us, in reality it was 80%.”
“Between 120,000 and 140,000 people have yet to return, most of them African American.”
Kone’ reported that the “Lower 9th Ward was still devastated, as well as New Orleans East” and other predominantly black parts of the city.
Kone’ also reported that over the past 10 year’s New Orleans “white population increased by about 25,000, most with deep pockets.”
Kone’ said that many of the displaced black New Orleans residents had been homeowners. “After Katrina the city passed a number of ‘anti-blight’ measures, like grass in the yard couldn’t be more than 18 inches high, wood used to board up windows had to meet certain specifications,” Kone’ reported.
“After a certain time the city would issue fines to the displaced owners, sent to their former New Orleans addresses. If the fines weren’t paid by a certain time, the city would auction off the properties.”
Kone’ said the buyers were often the deep pockets white people who had moved to New Orleans after Katrina, He said they often band together to buy 50 or more of these distressed properties apiece, fix them up some, and sell them at exorbitant prices, using the “San Francisco model of gentrification.”
When Kone’ first returned to New Orleans, he worked with Common Ground Relief, founded in part by Malik Rahim, a former Black Panther who worked in San Francisco as a tenant organizer in the Army Street public housing project.
Today Sakura Kone’ works with United Saints Restoration Project, carrying on the revolutionary work of preserve New Orleans and helping bring back its still displaced population.
Sakura Kone’ can be reached at 626-216-9305.