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 and he’s 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. Published in 2020, it was an instant New York Times bestseller. In 2018, Jeff co-wrote the #1 bestseller Tiger Woods. Jeff 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 that will air on Netflix. Jeff has written over 100 stories and has been a special-features writer for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Times, and the Hartford Courant, and his essays have appeared in the New York Times. His work has been the basis of segments on 60 Minutes, CBS Sunday Morning, HBO Real Sports, Discovery Channel, Good Morning America, 20/20, 48 Hours, NFL Network, CNN, and NPR.

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