THE BLOG

More Freedom Fries with Your New Orleans Outrage, Senator?

03/09/2008 05:47 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

2008-03-09-fries.jpgLouisiana Senator David Vitter has issued a press release expressing outrage at a report released by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The report finds racism a factor in the failure to bring 250,000 citizens back to New Orleans post-Katrina.

"Enough is enough," Vitter stated in a press release. "I intend to call for a hearing in the Foreign Relations Committee to investigate whether the U.N. is focusing on the right priorities, especially since much its funding comes from our American taxpayer dollars."

It's undetermined whether Vitter's anti-United Nations hearing, funded by American taxpayer dollars, will be serving Freedom Fries again.

The UN report recommends that displaced individuals have more input in the process of coming home. As a displaced New Orleans resident, it's true that Vitter has never called to ask me anything, but that may be because FEMA has not shared its data with many other agencies. The overall lack of studies regarding bringing a quarter million Americans home is staggering.

"I've been working in the Senate to bring about a commonsense (sic) resolution to the New Orleans public housing issue," Vitter writes.

HUD, which federalized units formerly supervised by the Housing Authority of New Orleans, issued a dueling study stating that the majority of people who lived in public housing did not enjoy it. It's as safe to say most people don't love living in public housing as is it is to say that no one expects the Spanish Inquisition, but in the push poll there was no subsequent question on whether respondents would prefer living in a tent village under the interstate instead.

With the subprime mortgage crisis bringing foreclosures to an all time high, affordable housing is about to be an issue in many more cities than New Orleans. We're just the canary in the coal mine. This weekend, Presidential hopeful John McCain visited New Orleans to campaign at a conservative think tank at the Ritz, but did not weigh in on housing options for the displaced.

Vitter is advocating his own trickle down housing theory for creating mixed income neighborhoods once 3,000 units of viable public housing are demolished, but it doesn't take the UN to figure out that white flight would be a factor. Residents commenting online to local news articles increasingly equate crime with race, with one commenter suggesting bussing all black New Orleaneans to Northern Louisiana. In a Mardi Gras example, when integration was mandated by the City Council, three Carnival krewes, one founded before the Civil War, chose never to ride again.

This was in 1988. One krewe changed its mind and came back in 2000. But Vitter still begs to differ that racism comes into play when it comes to the lack of public housing.

"It simply serves as another reminder that this organization is out of touch. Thankfully, this report has no authority," Vitter concluded. "But this report does serve one purpose: it serves as a useful glimpse of what the future holds if we allow the Law of the Sea Treaty to be ratified." Vitter fears that SEA "would grant international organizations like the U.N. the legal authority to interfere in our matters - with possibly drastic consequences."

Five years ago this week, the United Nations Security Council "interfered in our matters." It refused to authorize the Coalition of the Willing's use of force in Iraq as France threatened to veto any resolution to invade. And Freedom Fries were born. Clearly there's still no love lost with the Senator from Louisiana.