Newsweek on 06 December 2010

A Historic Wreck in Louisiana?

by Jeff Benedict

A Historic Wreck in Louisiana?

Five years ago, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of an effort to condemn homes in the name of business development. But the decision, which cleared the way for an "urban village" in Connecticut, sparked a revolt; more than 40 states have since put curbs on eminent domain. For the owners of homes to be condemned, however, the reality of injustice lingers. According to a recent report by the Castle Coalition, a property watchdog, at least 20 neighborhoods--including the one in Connecticut--have been snapped up for projects that hit a financial dead end.

Now, in Louisiana, the state is halfway to demolishing more than 250 homes and historic buildings in New Orleans--many of which were rebuilt, with federal dollars, after Katrina. The goal is a new medical complex. But while the wrecking ball is swinging, the project is $400 million short on financing, according to Louisiana's own projections. The state is confident it will get the money--but why isn't there a law that prevents demolition before funding is secure? Without one, too many paradises will be paved, to paraphrase Joni Mitchell, for less than a parking lot.

Benedict is the author of Little Pink House.

Jeff Benedict is the bestselling author of sixteen non-fiction books, as well as a television and film producer. His latest book, The Dynasty, is the definitive inside story of the New England Patriots under Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. An instant New York Times bestseller, The Dynasty is the basis of a 10-part documentary series that is being produced by Imagine Documentaries in association with NFL Films for Apple TV+. Jeff is a writer and executive producer for the series. In 2018, Jeff co-wrote the #1 bestseller Tiger Woods and he was an executive producer on the HBO documentary “Tiger” that was based on the book and aired in 2021. The book is currently being developed into a scripted series, which Jeff is executive producing. Jeff is also the executive producer on a documentary based on his book Poisoned for Campfire Studios that will air on Netflix. In 2017, Jeff co-produced “Little Pink House,” a feature film starring Catherine Keener and Jeanne Tripplehorn that was based on his book of the same title. And in 2016, Jeff co-wrote with Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young his critically acclaimed, bestselling autobiography QB: My Life Behind the Spiral. Jeff was also a writer on the NFL Films documentary "A Football Life: Steve Young,” which was based on the book.

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