Louisiana Coalition Demands Voice in Rebuilding


On Tuesday, October 4, Louisiana ACORN joined with other members of a newly-formed coalition of Louisiana-based labor and civil rights organizations NOAH (New Opportunity And Hope) at a press conference at the Baton Rouge governor’s mansion to discuss problems facing working families that have arisen during Hurricane Katrina reconstruction efforts within the state.

The coalition was formed to ensure that the hundreds of thousands of Louisiana’s displaced working families have a voice in the efforts to rebuild the gulf coast states devastated by Hurricane Katrina. The coalition includes the Louisiana state chapters of the AFL-CIO, NAACP, ACORN, SEIU Local 21LA and SEIU Local 100.

In all, the coalition represents more than 151,000 people fighting for “priority job placement and training” for Louisiana residents, good wages, and immediate and long-term affordable housing.

State Representatives Juan A. LaFonta and Austin J. Badon Jr., both Democrats from New Orleans, have publicly supported NOAH.

Many unions and other organizations have joined NOAH because of unfair treatment during the reconstruction process.

Robert “Tiger” Hammond, business manger for Local No. 130 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, said 75 electricians from New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lake Charles were hired a few weeks ago at the Naval Air Station in Belle Chasse to wire the “tent city” there. But these workers were recently let go in favor of workers from Texas.

“After the job was about 60 percent complete, BE&K of Birmingham, Ala., told us the company no longer needed our services,” Hammond said. The company replaced the Louisiana workers with workers with less pay and no benefits, he said.

NOAH will hold a rally to raise awareness of these and similar problems on October 29 in Baton Rouge.