NEW ORLEANS — The Louisiana Department of Health visited the warehouse connected to the deaths of six nursing home residents before the storm hit and deemed it safe for them to evacuate there.
According to the LDH, officials made two in-person visits to the warehouse and agreed that it met the "minimum necessary components to provide a safe sheltering environment for a very short period of time."
"Conditions clearly deteriorated following the storm," a statement from the LDH said.
Approximately 850 residents, most of them elderly and infirmed, were in crowded conditions that the workers said ended up with the residents yelling, in tears and in conditions that included bags of human waste stacked in the corners of the facility.
Six people have now died in connection with the facility. Ten others were hospitalized because of conditions there.
The story, which was first broken by WWL-TV investigators, has led to State Health Officer Dr. Joseph Kanter ordering the immediate closure of the following nursing homes:
- River Palms Nursing and Rehab, Orleans Parish
- South Lafourche Nursing and Rehab, Lafourche Parish
- Maison Orleans Healthcare Center, Orleans Parish
- Park Place Healthcare Nursing Home, Jefferson Parish
- West Jefferson Health Care Center, Jefferson Parish
- Maison DeVille Nursing Home, Terrebonne Parish
- Maison DeVille Nursing Home of Harvey, Jefferson Parish
According to the LDH, the nursing homes never told them how dire the situation was and even turned away LDH employees when they went to inspect the site after the storm.
The nursing home residents were rescued from the warehouse Thursday and taken to shelters and hospitals around the state.
If you have a loved one who was evacuated from one of these facilities, WWL-TV would like to talk with you about the situation and provide any resources available to help you find them. Contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or send a text message to 504-641-3471.