On September 11, 2009, the Honorable Judge Helen G. Berrigan generally granted the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center’s (GNOFHAC) and Provident Realty Advisors’ third motion for contempt against St. Bernard Parish. Judge Berrigan enjoins the Parish from “interfering or withholding approval of Provident’s re-subdivision applications,” deems Provident’s re-subdivision applications approved, sets forth several deadlines for Parish officials to meet in regards to the re-subdivision and building permit approval process, and establishes a daily sanction beginning at $5,000 the first day and increasing to $10,000 each day thereafter should the Parish “fail to meet any of the various deadlines without advance notice and good cause shown for their failure.” Further, Judge Berrigan awards damages and refers the issue of the amounts of damages, reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs to Magistrate Judge Shushan.
In her ruling, Judge Berrigan writes “this court has repeatedly found the stated justifications given by these officials to be unsound, contrived, pretextual, and racially discriminatory. In addition to depriving the parish of badly needed affordable housing across race lines, the continued opposition has also cost the taxpayers of St. Bernard Parish tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees and threatens to cost them significantly more in the near future.”
9-5-09 Read the Nola.com article “St. Bernard Parish Council housing plan drawing fire” here.
9-9-09 Read the Nola.com article “St. Bernard Parish in court again today over fair housing violations” here.
9-11-09 Read the Judge’s Order and Reasons here.
9-11-09 Read the Nola.com article “Federal judge holds St. Bernard officials in contempt of court…” here.
9-12-09 and 9-13-09 Read Times Picayune editorials here and here.
9-15-09 Read the Nola.com article “St. Bernard Parish may vote on apartment ban” here.
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