Action Report: Vagrants next door leave senior in fear

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wwltv.com

Posted on February 29, 2012 at 8:45 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 29 at 9:01 PM

Bill Capo / Action Reporter
Email: bcapo@wwltv.com | Twitter: @billcapo

NEW ORLEANS -- Lorraine Smith has lived on this street since she was 4 years old. But now she lives in fear, because next door is a two story apartment building abandoned after Hurricane Katrina.

"I'm very angry that they would leave this in a state like that. I'm very angry."

The second floor is wide open. There's trash all over, rotting furniture, and mattresses. Neighbors say this is a regular hang-out for drug dealers.

"We see people go in and out of the house," said Smith. "Yes, it is very frightening, very frightening."

She is so worried she has trouble sleeping.

"I'm under a lot of stress, and I'm fearful for my life. Sometimes I have to get up when I think I hear something next door, I have to get up."

Then there is the overgrowth in front and back, and the rats that hide in the brush. She begged the city for help.

"They say they were looking into it, but there were a lot of blighted houses on the list," she said. "That to me the city could work a little faster."

This structure was scheduled to be auctioned at a sheriff's sale earlier this month, but was pulled at the last minute. Smith says that's happened at least twice.

But what a mess. It's obvious a lot of people have been using this, so I'm contacting the city. If it's not going to be auctioned, I'm asking them to board it up, cut the grass and make it safe for her, so she doesn't have to lose any more sleep.

She also called state Rep. Austin Badon, D-New Orleans, who is now working with the city and the sheriff.

"I'm desperately trying to find some volunteers to come in and board it up so Mrs. Smith can feel comfortable in her home at night," Badon said.

"That would be great, if they would just board it up and clean it up," said Smith.

 

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