CHALMETTE, La. -- St. Bernard Parish is cracking down on abandoned and storm- damaged properties. The parish's solution? Put those properties on a proposed demolition list.
Dozens of people showed up to the St. Bernard Parisch Council Chambers Monday night to figure out if many of their storm damaged structures will be torn down by the parish or saved.
"Their biggest problem is with the outside, the cosmetic appearance,” said Daniel Robertson.
Robertson's mom and step-dad own a Chalmette home. It’s been in his family since before Hurricane Betsy and was destroyed once again by Hurricane Katrina.
"This half is done all the way back. There's a bathroom. We even put a kitchen in it and laundry room. There's technically three bedrooms there, a hallway, all carpeted. I painted the walls myself,” he said.
Robertson said the house could be torn down despite various improvements.
“My mother has fought with this parish for at least the last four months," Robertson said while speaking to the council. Robertson joined many others inside the St. Bernard Parish Council Chambers to fight pending demolition of their properties.
This Chalmette home is one of 55 structures on a list here in St. Bernard Parish that could be demolished.
Council members are ultimately deciding on a case-by-case basis to demolish, not demolish or extend the time for property owners to renovate.
“In 2009 you signed saying you could put this structure back together, and here we are four years later,” said St. Bernard Parish resident Cecilia Galladora.
Homeowners like Galladora are getting a third chance. She said financial setbacks and theft have made fixing up her storm-damaged home slow-going.
"As far as I know it looks like they're giving me an extension,” Galladora said. “So I'm happy for that. I understand completely where they're coming from, really. It's been quite a while."
Time that continues to leave dozens of properties across the parish abandoned or neglected.
St. Bernard Parish officials say something has to give, but Robertson disagrees.
"My grandmother's house is actually on the corner," Robertson said. "Our options were to finish this one or finish hers."
As for Robertson's family, their hearing has been pushed back to October.
St. Bernard Parish Councilman Guy McInnis said so far only one property was set for demolition Monday night.