NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— Seventeen years later after Hurricane Katrina dangerous blighted properties still line the streets. After years of fighting the city, Irish Channel homeowners finally got some good news for the whole neighborhood.
The neighbors who live on the 2600 block of Laurel Street in the Irish Channel are toasting to a new day—demolition day!
“This is one of the top five days of my life,” Rick Viana, Irish Channel resident said.
Viana says he’s been fighting the blight across the street from his house since Hurricane Katrina—17 years ago.
“I had to look at it everyday when I looked out my windows,” he said.
He said it wasn’t only an eyesore but dangerous.
“Druggies, junkies, thieves were like up in this place. Bees and rats were in the place and parts of the building were falling into neighbor’s yards.
One of those neighbors who had parts fall in his yard—Jeffrey Carreras says it felt like a never-ending battle to get it demolished but the fight finally paid off.
“The City Council, Lesli Harris, and the City itself. Enough people started arguing and yelling at the City to to take it down and Lesli Harris made good on her word,” Carreras said.
What took so long for the Code Enforcement demolition was the owner died in 2011 and it had to go through the succession process to find out who owned the place.
“The City started running it through the process and made the decision to take it down,” Carreras said.
This is no doubt a victory for the neighbors in the Irish Channel in their fight against blight but looking around New Orleans there are still hundreds of blighted properties that seem like time and care forgot about them.
“If you have something like this that is imminent danger, go to the source, keep at it, keep at it until something finally gets done,” Viana said.
Neighbors are thrilled the days of dealing with this blighted property are now over.
“I am over the moon. I can’t stop smiling,” Viana said.
“Good day, happy day, Glad it is done,” Carreras said.
In a statement to WGNO News from Councilmember District B Lesli Harris she said:
“This property has been a major quality of life concern for neighbors in the Irish Channel. My office had been actively communicating with residents, relaying concerns and violations to Code Enforcement, and even attended the most recent hearing for the property. I commend Code Enforcement’s decision to demolish the property and provide relief for the neighborhood. Tackling blight in every corner of District B is a priority of mine, and I will continue to push for progress.”