Racial slur scrawled on Provident apt. wallMay 13th, 2011 | By William Dilella | Category: News
A supervisor on “The Woodlands” complex—Provident Realty’s site currently under construction in the 7900 block of Patricia St—found several words spray-painted along one of the buildings on the property. The words included a racial slur targeted at African-Americans.
Kenneth Jones, the supervisor who found the graffiti, reported it to St. Bernard Sheriffs Office for further investigation on April 29. After receiving word of the report, Sgt. D.J. Johnson of the Detective Bureau went out to the site that evening and observed the slur, along with several other words, sprayed across Woodlands Building No. 1.
This incident occurs with St. Bernard Parish coming under investigation for eight separate complaints of discrimination under the Fair Housing Act, and comments made by U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Shaun Donovan to a crowd at the Southern University of New Orleans (SUNO) commencement ceremony, where Donovan outlined what he called a disturbing pattern of resistance on the part of the parish. Donovan cited the recent ordinances the parish repealed that rezoned the district, but after the threat of many thousands of dollars in fines.
“The Woodlands” complex on Patricia Street is one of four Provident sites in the parish. The complexes have been heavily contested by residents because of the heavily-saturated rental market that already exists in the parish. However, the argument has been made, in public and in court, that stopping the apartments has a racial motivation.
The St. Bernard Parish Council and the administration declared the Provident apartment permits invalid under the new zoning ordinances passed in December 2009. Those ordinances were later revoked by the Council, after U.S. District Court Judge Helen G. Berrigan ruled in favor of the permits, via potential fines for the parish if the ordinances remained in effect.