Bill Capo / Action Reporter
Email: | Twitter: @billcapo

NEW ORLEANS -- Where a decaying town home once stood, the demolition crew mopped up the debris after tearing the structure down, as neighbor Linda Cartagena watched, praying, crying and cheering.

'Hallelujah! I might look crazy, but I'm just so happy,' said Linda as she laughed with happiness. 'I mean I cried so much, you have to excuse me, but you have to understand, this is my house, and it has been a nightmare.'

This odyssey started over two years ago, when the long abandoned townhouse was already a collapsing wreck, the roof failing with termite damage.

'It's ridiculous, I'm frustrated, I'm disgusted, and it's impossible for me to increase the value of my house when I have a piece of blight like that living right next door,' Neighbor Kim McGinnis said in February 2011.

'I been fixing my house since 2005, right after Katrina when the house was left abandoned,' Linda Cartagena said in 2011.

Linda videoptaped the demolition, as a crane knocked it down in minutes.

'This has been a nightmare, and finally my insurance is going to give me back my full coverage,' she said.

And this townhome next door, the owner hasn't been able to rent it for the last year because of the problem here.

So this is a victory, but it hasn't been an easy one, for the neighbors, or for me.

First the city decided to sell it at a tax sale, even though it looked this bad. I warned them no one would buy it, but they spent about a year anyway.

Then after they decided to demolish it in February, it took 40 emails between me, the city, and the neighbors before they finally got the job done.

And Linda says it was just in time.

'I been praying to the Lord that this building would be torn down before hurricane season.'

Read or Share this story: