On January 31, 2012, the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against St. Bernard Parish, La., alleging that the parish violated the Fair Housing Act by engaging in a multi-year campaign to limit rental housing opportunities for African-Americans. The DOJ’s press release announcing the lawsuit stated:
The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, alleges that the parish violated the Fair Housing Act when it took repeated actions to limit the availability of multi-family and rental housing in the parish. These actions include the establishment of an onerous permit-approval process for single-family rentals, the elimination of multi-family housing in large portions of the parish and repeated attempts to block the development of multi-family affordable-housing. The complaint alleges that the parish’s actions both were intended to and had the effect of disproportionately disadvantaging African-Americans seeking to rent housing in St. Bernard Parish.
The parish has been sued previously over housing and land-use decisions since Hurricane Katrina and found in contempt of court orders repeatedly. In October 2011, a federal district court found that the parish had engaged in intentional discrimination in violation of the Fair Housing Act by “doggedly attempt[ing] to preserve the pre-Katrina demographics of St. Bernard Parish.
Read the DOJ’s press release announcing the lawsuit here.