Louisiana editorial roundup

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 17, 2014 at 1:45 pm •  Published: June 17, 2014

Recent editorials from Louisiana newspapers:

June 15

The New Orleans Advocate, New Orleans, Louisiana on the Housing Authority of New Orleans:

After more than a decade in federal supervision, the Housing Authority of New Orleans is back in local management — a significant advance for the city.

We hope that the city government and a more normal partnership with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will make the most of this achievement.

The local authority was taken over in 2002 after a long series of scandals. The well-connected were making money as the tenants were in miserable conditions. Many of the housing projects dated from the New Deal, and the decades since the 1940s had not been kind to them — nor to the eroding social structures that plagued the inner city during the same years.

Crime and rats ruled. The sad decline of historic properties was punctuated by headlines in the newspapers about HANO administrators stealing enough from the taxpayer to fund Florida mansions.

There is no one who will say that the arrival of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and the collapse of the levees, were a good thing. But there is no question that after major projects remained shuttered for years that the urgency of change was appreciated.

Shaun Donovan, the head of HUD, unquestionably deserves his victory lap as he returned HANO to local control.

He hired an outside contractor as the sole board member and backed the sometimes contentious process of bringing new strategies to the building and management of public housing.

"We've been able not only to help it operate more effectively, but we've been able to make affordable housing available to thousands and thousands more families," Donovan said.

It hasn't been without controversy, but New Orleans has followed the national trends, seeking to end the practice of building project blocks. In their places are a mix of multifamily buildings and townhouses designed to blend in with surrounding neighborhoods.

That means fewer units, about 1,825 compared to more than 6,000. Some complexes remain under construction and others, like St. Bernard, have been restructured to include a mix of public, affordable and market-rate housing.

We think that this is a positive trend, even when there is a serious need for more affordable housing the city.




June 15

The News-Star, Monroe, Louisiana on protecting Louisiana's coast amid oil exploration:

Louisiana residents understand the importance of protecting and restoring our fragile and rapidly receding coast. They also understand the oil and gas industry has been the lifeblood of the state's economy for generations.

But for some time, the need to protect the coast and the need to have a strong oil and gas industry have been at odds with each other, after the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East filed suit against 97 oil and gas companies over land loss they said was caused by drilling operations and digging the network of canals that crisscross the coastal parishes.

Legislation recently signed into law ended the lawsuits. Among other things, it excludes government agencies like the SLFPA-East, better known as the levee board, from suing oil and gas companies.

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