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After the ProjectsPublic Housing Redevelopment and the Governance of the Poorest Americans$
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Lawrence J. Vale

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190624330

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190624330.001.0001

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The Rise and Fall of St. Thomas

The Rise and Fall of St. Thomas

3 The Rise and Fall of St. Thomas
After the Projects

Lawrence J. Vale

Oxford University Press

Chapters 3–5 focus on New Orleans to illustrate one dominant strand of HOPE VI practice—the confluence of a weak housing authority and a Big Developer governance constellation in a city without a robust tradition of coordinated tenant empowerment. Chapter 3 traces the rise and fall of the St. Thomas development, completed in 1941 and later extended in 1952. This replaced a mixed-race “slum” area with public housing for white tenants, an act entailing a substantial neighborhood purge. The fifteen-hundred-unit development shifted to primarily black occupancy following desegregation in the 1960s and subsequently underwent disinvestment that led to a protracted decline. Meanwhile, the Louisiana legislature rescinded the state enabling legislation for urban renewal, thereby limiting its impact on both slum clearance while also curtailing the rise of community organizing. White preservationists stopped the Riverfront Expressway, but no one stopped Interstate 10 from devastating a black neighborhood.

Keywords:   New Orleans, St. Thomas, public housing, race, urban renewal, redevelopment, highway, governance, community organizing

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