La. lawmakers considering New Orleans blight reduction bill

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wwltv.com

Posted on April 2, 2014 at 10:20 PM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 2 at 10:20 PM

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

NEW ORLEANS -- It's a proposed Louisiana bill aimed at helping New Orleans more aggressively tackle blight. Next week state lawmakers will likely vote on House Bill 339.

"I don't see nobody trying to do anything to it. Everyday it's getting worse and worse," said Webster Feliciana.

Two years ago, the Treme-Lafitte resident moved into his home in the 2100 block of Dumaine Street. As the months pass, he said blighted neighboring properties attracting squatters and wild life appear to get worse.

"I haven't seen the owners since I moved here. It's rat infested, termites, and I can't open my doors up because bugs are flying in," added Feliciana.

A few blocks away in the 1100 block of North Rocheblave, Lola Perkins looks out the window to an eyesore.

"It's rotten, so it can fall anytime," Perkins said. "This is a dangerous house."

She moved to the neighborhood five years ago. Perkins said back then the house next door was wrapped, waiting for a new owner and renovations. Now it's a haven for vandals, looters and teens.

"The for-sale sign went away. I kept calling the city, they tells me its stages before they'd be able to tear anything down," said Perkins.

Two tales of blight among thousands. Now state lawmakers are considering a bill that will give the city more enforcement power on nuisance, overgrown lots, and blight.

The proposed bill would also allow the city of New Orleans to pass along the clean-up tab to the owner of the blighted property.

State Rep. Walter Leger, D-New Orleans, who introduced the bill, said it mostly targets high grass and weeds on private property. But, Leger says city laws can be passed to determine what other code violations are tackled.

"It gives them the go-ahead to clear off the lots and unties the City Council's hands and it allows for reinvestment into our neighborhoods," said state Rep. Jared Brosette, D- New Orleans, who also sponsored the bill.

For those forced to deal with blight day after day, Perkins keeps her fingers crossed that the city can do more before its too late.

"The storm season is coming and hope they do something before then because I don't think its going to last this season," said Perkins.

The Landrieu administration says it has reduced the number of blighted properties to around 33,000. The city says that number is down by 10,000 units in the last four years.

Leger said the full House could vote on the blight reduction bill early next week.

 

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