Relief group may be booted from Washington Square after neighbors complain

original link

A group of self organized volunteers that provides food and supplies to some people in need because of Katrina are being evicted from Washington Square Park.


One of 14 tents set up in Washington Square that is used to help people in need after Katrina. The organizers will soon be evicted, according to the city.

A spokesperson for New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin said the park was originally opened to provide medical aid but that now it needs to be closed because of complaints about unsanitary conditions.

Lynn Miesse, one of the organizers providing aid, said the group set up shop on October 10. She disagrees with the assessment that the park isn’t clean.

Miesse said the gates to the park are locked at night and that they limit the number of people who sleep in tents overnight.

She said that in light of the disaster, the decision to evict shows a lack of compassion.

“The need is definitely still there,” she said. “We have hundreds of people who come here everyday to use what we have to offer. Why would you need a permit to help your fellow man?”

Neighbors say the intentions of the group were noble, but that the group should move to an area where they are needed more.

“They’re attracting people to the square that we find offensive,” said neighbor Connie Walker. “They are vagrants and homeless people who were originally locked out of the park.”

Miesse said the group will likely contest the eviction in court. City officials said they expect the group to be gone by Thursday.