Dozens of homeless people are no longer allowed to sleep beneath the Pontchartrain Expressway bridge near Calliope and Baronne streets.
The city blocked it off Thursday with an orange mesh fence and say they successfully moved the more than 100 homeless men and women living there into temporary homes and shelters. A handful of people were also given vouchers or put on buses and sent to other cities to live with relatives.
A few people in the homeless community, and participants with the group ‘Occupy NOLA’, protested the city's actions outside the New Orleans mission Friday morning.
“I was living under the bridge. I left, then came back, and it was all blocked off. I have no place to live,” said Willie Money, a homeless man who lived under the bridge for eight months.
“You’re giving people bus tickets to go to other cities. Well, they don’t have any money! You’re just moving the problem somewhere else,” said Willie Anderson.
“I believe the authorities don’t want folks visiting the city to see that we have this very serious problem of homelessness,” said mike Howells with Occupy NOLA.
A few hours after Friday morning's protest, city workers came by and threw away dozens of clothes, shoes, medicine bags, bicycles and other belongings that homeless men and women left sitting on the sidewalk beside the Expressway bridge.
The city says they'll start regularly cleaning underneath and around the bridge. However the fence itself is temporary. The NOPD’s Homeless Assistance Unit is also patrolling the area daily, helping the homeless by handing out informative packets and transporting people to get ID’s, food and other items.