Neighbors say New Orleans blight reduction sluggish despite complaints

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wwltv.com

Posted on June 27, 2014 at 10:32 PM

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

NEW ORLEANS - The City of New Orleans says it is working to tackle blight, but recent media reports show properties listed as cleaned up still sitting untouched.

Three months ago, Eyewitness News profiled blighted properties in the Treme-Lafitte neighborhood. We checked back in with neighbors to see if any progress has been made.
   
"Every day its deteriorating more and I'm really afraid that the storm season is approaching again," said Lola Perkins pointing to the neglected building that still sits untouched in the 1100 block of North Rocheblave.

"I need somebody to get up there and take those boards from up there because my daughter has a car and I worry the wind is going to blow those boards and break those windows," said Perkins.

Since April when we met Perkins, the homeowner says absolutely nothing has been done to board up, clean or demolish the building. The city's blight status website shows the the property has 34 violations and was last inspected in March. The website also says a case was opened last February but Perkins claims she's been making calls to the city for three years now.

"The city hasn't reached out to me but I've called the city," added Perkins.

In April we also introduced you to Webster Feliciana and two blighted properties next door. The Treme-Lafitte resident says not a thing has changed with the rundown structures in the 2100 block of Dumaine Street.

"They haven't done anything here. The only thing around here that's different is the vines up there is getting longer and the termites is worse," said Feliciana.

According to the city's blight status website this property has had a total of 22 violations on record since October of 2013.
 
"The most rapid period of blight reduction was several years ago. It started off slow, went off rapidly, still progressing but not like that initial burst," said Dr. Peter Yaukey with UNO's Geography Department.

The City of New Orleans says it has reduced the number of blighted properties to around 33,000; claiming a 10,000 drop since Mayor Mitch Landrieu took over.

Yaukey says blight reduction is happening but clearly not every neighborhood is benefiting.

"The Lower 9th Ward of course still has a lot of blighted lots and empty properties. Lakeview stands out as a place where blight is being recovered pretty rapidly," said Yaukey.

A city spokesperson gave us code enforcement updates this week on those properties:

The city says code enforcement started a new case on the Rocheblave property and that the next step is a "research period" followed by a hearing.

According to the city, the properties on Dumaine were denied demolition on June 12 by the Historic District Landmarks Commission. The city is now considering its next steps.

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