Man fights to save family home from demolition - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Man fights to save family home from demolition

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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

It happens fairly often. A house or building gets run-down and the next thing you know, the city or parish has it demolished.

Right now, a young man is fighting for the family home he said is nearly all he has in the world. And time is quickly running out.

As 32-year-old Desmond Walker sees it, this house is rich in family history. He said his mother, grandmother and great grandmother all lived here, along with his uncle Donnie Stevens, who was killed in Vietnam. 

"American dream is to have a house, to build. To have something to stand on and now I'm going to lose it," said Stevens.

But the house, located on Gieffers Street in Lake Charles, is badly in need of repairs and soon to be demolished. And while Desmond desperately wants to save it, his efforts may be too little and too late.

Assistant Lake Charles planning director Doug Burguieres said as it turns out, Desmond doesn't actually own the house. It's in his mom's name. According to our records at this time, he is not the owner of the home.

Also, a year ago it was purchased in a tax sale and will revert to a new owner in two years, unless back taxes are paid. Burguieres said the house was open and posing an electrical hazard. A structure that is not secured invites children playing in the neighborhood and you don't want them to go into a structure that is not safe, that has exposed wires.

Walker is hoping he will find a way to get an extension and make repairs before June 17 when the city will seek bids for demolition.

"I'm just trying to save my house. There's not too much I can say because, I mean, once you take that from me, it's like starting life all over again, and I have to start from the bottom to reach the American dream again," said Walker.

If there's a lesson here Burguieres said it's to keep up with the responsibilities of being a property owner before the problems and issues become overwhelming. 

If you're a property owner and want to find out how to avoid getting into such a predicament, look for our web extra with Doug Burguieres.

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