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Suburb Backs Down, Won't Put Walls Up

February 23, 1987|Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS — A predominantly white suburb backed down today on its plan to replace barriers on a street leading to a mostly black section of New Orleans.

The wood-and-steel barriers had been torn down Saturday by city workers. "We took them down because they were illegal," New Orleans Mayor Sidney Barthelemy said.

The mayor, who is black, said he believes racism was a factor in the decision to erect the barriers.

Jefferson Parish Council Chairman Bob Evans, who is white, had vowed that the parish (similar to a county) would put up new barriers today, but he later changed his mind, New Orleans City Councilwoman Peggy Wilson said today.

She was cheered by a group of about 15 residents of the neighborhood when she told them the barriers would not be going up again.

Wilson said she was told by Barthelemy that Evans' decision came after the state Highway Department said the barricades were illegal.

The Jefferson Parish Council approved the barriers at the behest of residents who claimed New Orleans residents were driving into their neighborhood after dark, burglarizing homes and assaulting people.

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