City gearing up for Thursday's abandoned vehicle auction

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wwltv.com

Posted on May 9, 2012 at 10:17 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 9 at 10:24 PM

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

NEW ORLEANS -- Looking for a new ride? Well, the city of New Orleans is auctioning off dozens of abandoned vehicles on Thursday.

City officials say its in an effort to clean up city streets and raise a little extra cash.

"We're actually looking under the hoods and we're checking the oil," said Kawanta Singleton I, who spent part of his Wednesday carefully looking over vehicles at Almonaster Auto Pound.

"Actually perfect timing. My son graduated from high school yesterday and he's enrolling in college so he needs a pretty good vehicle," said Singleton.

His 17-year-old son is searching for a car, and the New Orleans family thought they'd try their luck at the city's abandoned car auction scheduled for Thursday in New Orleans East.

"We looked online before we came out here. Just looking for a small, gas savers pretty much. Hondas," said Kawanta Singleton II.

The city says 98 vehicles are headed to the auction block.

"The vehicles in the lot, some of them are abandoned or unclaimed. Some of them are involved in accidents, or towed there by us per the request of the NOPD, and we hold them there until they release them," said city of New Orleans Public Works Director Mark Jernigan, who said the city averages about 60 abandoned vehicle calls per month.

"Historically, looking over the past couple of years, it has been predominantly in Districts A & B. About 80 percent of our vehicles come in that area," added Jernigan.

So far this year, the city says a total of 288 vehicles have been auctioned off. Since 2010, $632,088 has been raised from abandoned vehicle auctions. That money goes to the general fund.

"I've been to a few of these and they're pretty much packed every time," said Bonnie Ellison.

The nursing student is without a car and hopes to land an affordable set of wheels to get around town.

"A decent car for the back and forth from school," said Ellison of her simple request.

The city of New Orleans says citizens are encouraged to call 3-1-1 to report abandoned vehicles in their neighborhoods.

Thursday's abandoned car auction is being held at Almonaster Auto Pound, 10200 Almonaster Avenue in New Orleans. It is scheduled run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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