Disabled woman struggles at Beauregard Courthouse - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Disabled woman struggles at Beauregard Courthouse

By Theresa Schmidt - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA. (KPLC) -It can be hard enough to find your way through government buildings such as a courthouse complex. It can be even worse if you have a severe disability.

Charlotte Chambers is only in her fifties, yet each step is a struggle because she has severe emphysema. In no time, she's out of breath. She recently had business here at the Beauregard Parish Courthouse--a beautiful and historic building. Yet for Charlotte, stairs are formidable. She's horrified how hard it is to get around. "When I have to come to the courthouse, I have to make sure I have enough time. I go up and take a few steps and then I have to sit like I'm sitting now, catch my breath, get some oxygen moving and then go up some more."

After complaining, she finds out there are a few handicapped parking spaces and signs. She just didn't see them. And since she's complained they've put up more signs. Signs that also direct her to a chair lift she didn't now about. It's not so easy to use... A buzz for assistance goes unanswered-- until a citizen goes inside and finds help. Charlotte forgot her cell phone today. It's a simple solution. Explains the maintenance man, "Door's not closed! Shut the door! Make sure that door's closed."

 So the problem was, Charlotte didn't close the door hard enough.  Still, she says, "What they call provisions for the handicapped are absolutely unacceptable."

Charlotte remains frustrated and dissatisfied. "I have to have access to public buildings like everyone else. Something's got to be done. This courthouse has to be accessible to handicapped people."

Turns out parish officials and the judges know all too well how bad it is and would welcome corrective measures. Says Beauregard Parish Administrator Betty Cunningham, "For any handicapped person, we're totally and 100% sympathetic."

The building is the Police Jury's responsibility and administrator Betty Cunningham says they need taxpayers' support to renovate and expand. "We've even had architectural renderings but never have we concluded and come to an agreement what we're going to build and how we're going to ask for the tax money or revenue to fund it. So, it's time. It's way past time."

But for now, those with disabilities may want to plan ahead for difficulties they're likely to run into if they have to go to court.

At 2 p.m. Tuesday members of a Beauregard Police Jury Committee will meet to discuss the courthouse needs.

Copyright 2011 KPLC. All rights reserved.

  • More Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • Hometown Hero - Edward Wilcox

    Sunday, July 23 2017 11:42 AM EDT2017-07-23 15:42:03 GMT
    Ed WilcoxEd Wilcox

    A DeQuincy businessman has the distinction of being one of the first National Guard members to represent his town. It had been five years since World War II and Ed Wilcox found himself serving his country in the National Guard. Wilcox was too young to serve in the war, but felt the guard could keep him trained.

    More >>

    A DeQuincy businessman has the distinction of being one of the first National Guard members to represent his town. It had been five years since World War II and Ed Wilcox found himself serving his country in the National Guard. Wilcox was too young to serve in the war, but felt the guard could keep him trained.

    More >>
  • UPDATE: Suspects in Broad Street homicide arrested

    UPDATE: Suspects in Broad Street homicide arrested

    Sunday, July 23 2017 10:54 AM EDT2017-07-23 14:54:38 GMT
    Johnnie Paul Hardman Jr. (Source: Lake Charles Police Department)Johnnie Paul Hardman Jr. (Source: Lake Charles Police Department)

    Three suspects in a homicide at an RV park on Broad Street Saturday morning have been arrested, according to the Lake Charles Police Department. LCPD responded to a 911 call in reference to an armed robbery and shooting at the Twelve Palms RV Park around 6 a.m. Saturday, July 22. 

    More >>

    Three suspects in a homicide at an RV park on Broad Street Saturday morning have been arrested, according to the Lake Charles Police Department. LCPD responded to a 911 call in reference to an armed robbery and shooting at the Twelve Palms RV Park around 6 a.m. Saturday, July 22. 

    More >>
  • LCPD holds recruitment day to hire 17 more officers

    LCPD holds recruitment day to hire 17 more officers

    Saturday, July 22 2017 9:48 PM EDT2017-07-23 01:48:50 GMT

    Dozens of law enforcement applicants poured into the Lake Charles Civic Center Saturday morning to see if they have what it takes to become a Lake Charles Police Officer. Applicants who turned out Saturday endured a number of health and psychological screenings. 

    More >>

    Dozens of law enforcement applicants poured into the Lake Charles Civic Center Saturday morning to see if they have what it takes to become a Lake Charles Police Officer. Applicants who turned out Saturday endured a number of health and psychological screenings. 

    More >>
Powered by Frankly