St. Bernard Parish agrees to halt enforcement of discriminatory ordinance

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, November 13, 2006 
CONTACT: James Perry - jperry@gnofairhousing.org, 504.596.2100

Today, St. Bernard Parish agreed to suspend enforcement of a September 2006 ordinance barring single-family homeowners from renting to anyone except blood relatives without the special permission of the Parish Council.  The agreement comes on the heels of the filing of a motion for preliminary injunction last week by the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC) and Wallace Rodrigue, both plaintiffs in the case. 

The agreement is the result of a motion for a preliminary injunction filed by GNOFHAC and Wallace Rodrigue asking the court to enjoin the Parish from enforcing its Blood Relative ordinance.

The agreement and motion stem from a lawsuit filed by GNOFHAC in early October of this year. The lawsuit alleges that the ordinance discriminates against minority families seeking housing and perpetuates the Parish’s history as a segregated, predominantly white community. While the ordinance will not be in effect, the Parish still refuses to repeal it.  As a result, the parties will still prepare the case for trial.

Representing the plaintiffs are the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a national civil rights organization, and the law firm Relman & Associates. 

James Perry, GNOFHAC Executive Director comments, “This agreement is a crucial step in ensuring equal housing opportunity in St. Bernard Parish.  Citizens in St. Bernard Parish will now be able to obtain housing free from the council’s discriminatory restrictions.  We now call on the Parish to permanently repeal the ordinance.”