Four dead, more than 800 evacuated after deplorable conditions at makeshift nursing home

Hurricane Ida

INDEPENDENCE, La. (WGNO) — Four nursing home residents are dead after being transported with more than 800 other nursing home residents to a warehouse in the town of Independence in Tagipahoa Parish.

Parish President Robby Miller is distraught by the scandal in his parish and said, “Tangipahoa Parish, myself, and my family want to extend our deepest sympathies to the ones who lost loved ones in the incident at the nursing home facility, the backup nursing home facility and the terrible situation that happened there in Independence.”

More than 800 people were taken from seven other nursing to an inadequate facility.

Families WGNO News talked to did not expect their loved ones to be shipped to a warehouse for Hurricane Ida. Many are still trying to connect with their loved ones that are scattered throughout Alexandria, Baton Rouge and Bossier City.

On Tuesday, the Louisiana Department of Health received a tip of deplorable conditions and they were denied entry into the makeshift facility.

Medics from across the country helped with evacuations.

The old warehouse, Waterbury Companies became home to more than 840 of the State’s most vulnerable during Hurricane Ida.

“I just want to know that she’s okay,” said Renetta Derosia.

Her mom is wheelchair bound and initially evacuated from South LaFourche Nursing Home. Derosia did not know how poor the conditions would be at the shelter in Independence.

“They didn’t have any electricity or air condition for them. No generator. I thought they were coming to a nursing home and they would have nursing beds and they would be taken care like they were in a nursing facility,” Derosia said.

Unless under a mandatory evacuation, nursing homes decide where to evacuate to. LDH said they must always provide safe conditions.

“Elderly people should not be treated like this. Nobody should be treated like this,” said Sabrina Cox.

Her aunt recently had four stints and a hip and knee replacement.

“She’s very elderly,” Cox said. “She just went into the nursing home. She’s taken care of herself all of these years.”

Late Thursday afternoon, investigators continued to walk the property to photograph evidence. The families WGNO talked with hope all involved are criminally charged.

“We will be in line. They don’t even know. We will be in line,” Derosia said.

In all, 14 people at that makeshift nursing home are hospitalized.

WGNO reached out to employees on scene and all said, “No comment.”

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