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

NEW ORLEANS -- A Gentilly neighborhood is proving that perseverance pays off. Neighbors say for years they've dealt with a run-down corner store that brought problems to the neighborhood.

'When this guy took over, it was like a terror in the neighborhood,' said neighbor Kerry White.

Two days ago, Terry White and neighbors watched this corner store on Gentilly Boulevard come tumbling down.

'It was a historic building corner, a classic New Orleans corner store. So we're sorry to see the loss of that, but the game changer that it's been for the neighborhood has been dramatic,' said Morgan Clevenger, president of the Fair Grounds Triangle Neighborhood Association.

Before the bulldozers showed up to the neighborhood, residents complained to the city about the blighted property's condition.

Neighbors say litter, loitering, crime and heavy alcohol drinking inside a playground across the street were constant problems. Then neighbors say damage from Hurricane Isaac shut down the store.

The city of New Orleans confirms the property was in violation of city code.

'The building actually started to lean against another property...it appeared like he was moving forward with some sort of construction, rehabbing, or fixing the the building. He failed to bring in any information despite requests,' said Pura Baschos, city of New Orleans Director of Code Enforcement.

'Since he's been gone, since Isaac, the litter, the crime, the guys hanging out. We don't have that problem around here anymore,' said White.

Eyewitness News looked into that claim: according to NOPD's crime map, five crimes were reported within 500 feet of the store in the first eight months of this year. Since Isaac, only two crimes were reported.

'I hope this store does not come back,' said neighbor James Green. 'It's a nuisance. I grew up in this neighborhood and it was very safe to play over there.'

As one Gentilly community celebrates the defeat of their blighted neighbor, residents stress no more of the same.

'We do not want alcohol at this location again,' said Clevenger.

The city of New Orleans says you can report blighted property by calling 311 or visiting a new set up by the city to check on code enforcement records for any blighted property. Click here for details.

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