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Man died in sweltering senior apartment after Hurricane Ida, family still searching for answers

“I still have to make sure that his life was not in vain."

NEW ORLEANS — After Hurricane Ida, five people living in senior apartments in New Orleans died in the sweltering heat.

Some didn't have enough food or water and were stuck on upper floors.
One year later, one family is still looking for answers. The Archdiocese of New Orleans runs several of the complexes through a subsidiary, called Christopher Homes.

In earlier reports Christopher Homes said it asked city officials multiple times during the week for help, but didn't get any assistance.

Now, a family says its final good-byes and is still asking why.

It was a difficult trip back to New Orleans for the family of Myron Jones.

“That was the most traumatic experience I ever had in my life," said Jones’ sister Debra Streeter. "I can say that I was mentally traumatized.”

It was one year ago in the chaos before and after Hurricane Ida, that Myron's sister Debra Streeter could not reach him. A week of frantic worry passed.

Then the phone call.

“Crushing, crushing," she remembered. "I was driving. My daughter was with me I had to pull over to the side and get composure, and the police officer was telling me I needed to come to New Orleans immediately to claim my brother."

Myron was in his mid-60s, and was found dead in his sweltering apartment in Christopher Inn, in the Marigny. The Archdiocese of New Orleans manages the complex for seniors and the disabled through its offshoot entity Christopher Homes Inc.

“Don't have any answers. Don't have any attorney that wants to take the case. I can't understand that," Streeter said. "Negligence is negligence. The seniors lived through hell on earth."

“He was let down by the people that was supposed to care for him. To be inside of a place for 12 days, no power, water, we don't do animals like that," said Jones’ brother, Winchell Bryant Jones. "It's not right. It's an abomination.”

The family came back this Ida anniversary week, to spread Myron's ashes in the Mississippi River in Crescent Park near the statue that honors Latin American workers who helped rebuild the city after Hurricane Katrina. They say Myron loved the community, the people, the jazz, the Saints.

“I felt a sense of relief. I felt some relief ,and that was because I was able to let him go,” Streeter said.

But they are not letting go of the question, “Why?”

Winchell Bryant Jones said the people who run the facility need to be held accountable. "They took my brother. You guys took him from me."

“I still have to make sure that his life was not in vain," Streeter said. "He wasn't lost in vain, and that if anything comes out of this, that something like this will never happen to another family."

The Archdiocese referred us to a law firm Thursday afternoon for an answer. We have not heard back, and its management organization, Christopher Homes, has not responded to us.

Myron's family got a letter from Deacon Adams of Christopher Homes a month after the storm with condolences, but not an explanation of why he wasn't evacuated and what happened to him.

The family says management told them some residents said they wanted to stay, but some residents have reported they were never contacted by management.

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