I got an e-mail yesterday morning announcing a bold reversal of policy by HUD. They were planning to re-open the shuttered public housing projects and allow residents displaced by the flooding to return home! I get so much e-mail I often scan things quickly, but this caught my eye, particularly the part of the press release where HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson is quoted as saying, “We were wrong to prevent people from returning home.”
A public official admitting he was wrong? Something smelled fishy.
I forwarded it to some friends and neighbors who quickly noted that the press release linked to hano.us, but the official site of the Housing Authority of New Orleans is hano.org.
And then it dawned on me: This must be the work of the Yes Men. I knew they were in town to show their film at Zeitgeist tomorrow night. This was just the kind of prank that’s become their trademark. So I shut up, sat back, and watched events unfold on the evening news.
The press release was just the tip of the iceberg. They also impersonated a HUD official at a local event with the mayor and governor in attendance. You can read about the prank on CNN or WWL or the Times-Picayune, or check the pictures and video of the event on the fake HANO site.