Jurors hear hardship stories of homeowners

By Theresa Schmidt - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Home condemnations at tonight's Calcasieu Police Jury meeting show there are still plenty of people struggling to move past damage doled out by Hurricane Rita and more recently Ike. Condemnations are often a struggle for jurors,  who sympathize with neighbors who want dilapidated structures torn down.  Yet jurors also feel for those overwhelmed with difficulties. A house on Bennett Road was up for condemnation, but Peggy Thibodeaux, who spoke for the owner says he was wiped out by Rita, again by Ike and needs more time. "He had to start over again with tools, so really, he's been in a bind trying to get this all started."

Jurors agreed to give him 90 days, but Juror Chris Landry warned, "In 90 days if it still looks like this, it doesn't matter if he spent $50,000 it's all just going to like be gone."

A trailer on Pinestraw Drive posed a more complicated problem.  There the land owner is an elderly woman whose grandson moved a trailer on the property.  The grandson sold the trailer to someone she can't identify and now she can't find her grandson.

The dilemma is how to find the owner of the trailer and get it moved from the property.  The owner's daughter Cindy Shotwell told police jurors, "We can't find out who bought it from him and since he's been laid off and lost the house he was in, we can't find him. And legally she really can't move it."

Jurors were sympathetic but warned they expect action within the time allowed.  Police Jury President Hal McMillin told her, "We want to work with you in every way we can, but this is a neighborhood that's got some nice homes in it. We need to get the grass cut and trailer out of there."

And then there's Cheri Nelson who says she received Road Home money at the end of last year and needs to salvage items in her old home while she buys a new one. "I told the Road Home I wanted to be in there by this next Christmas."  Structures recommended for condemnation are those found to be unsafe and dangerous due to inadequate maintenance.

Also jurors approved an agreement between the Police Jury, City of Lake Charles and City Court to create a four member team to evaluate the relocation of city court facilities. The team will include the Ward Three Marshal.

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