Tuesday, November 07, 2006


BLANCO'S ROAD HOME- "Talking Time Is Over"

Lost in space?
Thousands of families waiting for applications to be processed

By Bruce Nolan

(LRA Chairman) Walter Leger told a monthly meeting of the authority in Westwego that an enormous backlog of nearly 79,000 Road Home applications has begun moving through the pipeline.

Applicants who haven't been contacted to schedule an interview within the next two weeks should call to check on their application, Leger said. "It may be lost," he said.

The authority also heard from activists Malcolm Suber and Jay Arena, who criticized the 32-member body for not providing direct subsidies to renters wiped out by the storm, and for not opposing federal plans to leave thousands of public housing apartments in the city unrepaired, with no plans for reopening them.

They also criticized the authority for holding its meetings at times when working people could not attend and for inadequately advertising their times and locations.

LRA officials appeared to be deeply moved by emotional testimony of Katrina victim Gloria Muhammad. In testimony both familiar and wrenching, Muhammad, 60, told of being evacuated to Houston, robbed there, and returning to Hammond to live with her 19-year-old daughter.

She said she and thousands more are nearing emotional exhaustion, flirting with thoughts of suicide.

"Please do something," she pleaded. "Talking time is over. We need action."

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