Maya Rodriguez / Eyewitness News
NEW ORLEANS-- About 400 people showed up at the Morial Convention Center on Saturday, looking for a a good deal and a winning bid.
"It's going to spur economic development, it gets rid of blight to buy the properties in the city-- and anytime you can get something at a good deal, that's a wonderful thing," said Orlando Wright, who attended the auction. "You know, the Lakeview area is good, New Orleans East is good. So, we're kind of looking around."
Up for auction: 145 former Road Home properties. The New Orleans Redevelopment Authority-- or NORA-- came up with the list based on interest indicated in their database.
"People have gone to in and selected the properties they're interested in. The ones that had two or more interests are in the auction," said NORA executive director Jeff Hebert.
The last NORA auction took place in October, with 90 percent of 130 available properties sold. It generated $6 million.
"This allows us to cut grass and those kinds of things, on the properties that still remain in the inventory," Hebert said.
Even after Saturday's auction, though, 2,800 properties will remain in NORA's database. That's down from 5,000.
"It really helps to recycle the properties into New Orleans community," said Paul Lynn, with the broker AmeriBid.
However, there are also between 1,200-1,300 properties that no one has expressed any interest in.
"So, the long-term strategy is, what do we do with those properties that there is no real estate market for?" Hebert said.
Some of the ideas of what to do with those unwanted properties include putting in community gardens or urban agriculture. Yet, they are only ideas at this point. In the meantime, NORA is planning another auction in the near future to sell the properties that do have interest.