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'Little Pink House' Revisits New London's Infamous Eminent Domain Case

Carolyn Kaster
Susette Kelo holds a photo of her little pink house in front of the Supreme Court building in Washington last week. The new movie "Little Pink House" is based on the story of the eminent domain Supreme Court case between Kelo and the New London.

The new film Little Pink House tells the story of a Connecticut woman’s fight against what she saw as abuse of eminent domain. The case went to the Supreme Court in 2005. Susette Kelo hopes the film keeps her story alive.

The City of New London ordered Kelo and her neighbors out of their Fort Trumbull neighborhood to make way for a development related to a Pfizer plant. The City argued Pfizer’s presence would invigorate the economy. Kelo and her neighbors fought back for years.

Kelo was the lead plaintiff, but she says the movie isn’t just her story.

“The movie to me is not a movie about me, it’s a movie about a group of people struggling to keep their homes in the Fort Trumbull neighborhood.”

The Supreme Court ruled against her in a 5-4 decision, but her case became notorious among eminent domain activists. It inspired a book, also called Little Pink House, in 2009.

“When it got turned into a book, “I said, ‘Oh, the country will never forget what happened to us.’ And now with the movie, I can again say, more people will know what happened to us. And hopefully in the future, it’ll stop eminent domain abuse in other areas.”

Kelo moved to a different part of the State, and Pfizer later left New London, too. As for Kelo’s little pink house, which inspired the title of the movie, it was purchased and moved piece-by-piece to a different part of town. It’s still up today, but she doesn’t live there anymore.

Davis Dunavin loves telling stories, whether on the radio or around the campfire. He started in Missouri and ended up in Connecticut, which, he'd like to point out, is the same geographic trajectory taken by Mark Twain.