River Garden residents, and activists protest policies - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

River Garden residents, and activists protest policies

New Orleans, La - It is a far cry from what old public housing once looked like Uptown. " I like it, I like the sense of community the neighbors I have, the living conditions, and security," said River Gardens resident Steve Schwartz.

The old bricks are gone, and in their place, New Orleans style housing for a variety of mixed incomes. "The property is continuing to have success, we have over 700 units out here," said manager David Abbenante.

But under the surface, residents are angry. Nearly fifty residents, and non-residents marched through the streets of River Gardens, to complain about management, and it's policies.

Gilda Curtis told FOX 8, " I'm here because I was falsely accused and falsely evicted."

Housing Authority policy requires any resident with a criminal past to be evicted, but some residents say that policy has gone too far. "Any resident who's part of a low income family, they're being denied due process," said Ronald McCoy, with the group 'Safe Streets'.

But the policy denying any tenant who has a criminal past, is now being revisited.

And though protesters say management has been unfair, managers say final eviction decisions are not there's to make. Management insists the bottom line here is safety. They say judges make all eviction decisions, and they say their goal is to make sure murders, which were once commonplace, at the old St Thomas, are kept to a minimum.

Last year, there were zero murders in this 700 unit public housing complex.

Abbenante said, "About a year and a half ago, we put up 38 cameras, throughout the community. They've been a wonderful tool."

In spite of a more appealing landscape, and improvements in crime, it's clear that not everyone is enamored with River Garden policy, or those who carry it out.

Councilmember Latoya Cantrell is now involved saying, "I'm going to get an understanding of the issues, and work with the manager."

At this point, River Gardens management isn't looking to replace any managers.

However, it promises to take tenant input, as it revisits a policy strictly prohibiting anyone with a criminal background.

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