Streetlights broken since Katrina plague Algiers subdivision

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wwltv.com

Posted on December 12, 2013 at 11:14 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 12 at 11:20 PM

Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: tdall@wwltv.com | Twitter: @taniadall

NEW ORLEANS -- Imagine living in the dark for nearly a decade. Dozens of homeowners in an Algiers subdivision are doing just that because of broken streetlights.

"When the sun goes down, we don't have no lights at all," said Algiers homeowner Lisa Bieniemy.

Christmas and porch lights are the only bulbs illuminating the streets in her neighborhood.

Bieniemy uses a flash light to walk to her mom's house down the block.

"It's a nice neighborhood subdivision, but at night time you can't take a chance out here walking by yourself. It be so dark," Bieniemy said.

She and other neighbors say it's been this way since Hurricane Katrina. The lights went out just before the storm and never came back on.

"They're like, y'all have not had streetlights since y'all moved here," JoAnn Veal said.

The Algiers resident bought her house in 2003 and says the Cazelar Plantation Subdivision was supposed to be a gated community. Veal says that never happened, but the streets are still considered private.

The city of New Orleans says the lights are developer A.J. Ward's responsibility. The city also confirms the developer didn't build the streets to "city standards for safety and maintenance," scrapping a 50-foot right of way and making it difficult to maintain both the street and the underground utilities.

"We're suffering because if we come home late at night, we have to either call the neighbors and say we're on our way home. They're either looking out for us to see and make sure we get inside," said Veal.

The broken streetlights are especially unnerving to neighbors after a recent carjacking and armed robbery. Neighbors say 84 homes have been sitting in the dark since the storm.

"My kids wanna come outside. Stand outside with me, we can't come outside no more, because when it's lights out, it's lights out," said Derrick Collins. who lives in the subdivision with his family.

Collins said eight years is too long to leave dozens of families without the security of streetlights.

"People are getting robbed. It's not safe for the kids. They should do something about it. They said they were going to do something about it but never did nothing about it," said Collins.

Eyewitness News made attempts to reach developer A.J. Ward.

However, our phone calls were not returned in time for Thursday night's 10 p.m. newscast.

 

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