NEW ORLEANS – Downtown New Orleans is continuing to see a rise in homelessness.
A sight most would agree is not appealing. According to the New Orleans Mission, addiction is to blame.
“From a police standpoint, what happens under that bridge is absolutely unacceptable,” said Mission CEO David Bottner.
Under the Pontchartrain Expressway, tents and clutter seem to take over the area as the homeless population, grows.
According to former addict Jerome Mimitte Sr, not everyone you see, wants help.
“We have some people out there who choose to live in a tent. That choose to keep all of their money in their pocket. That choose to drink and get high. that’s just what they want to do,” said Mimitte.
Larry breaux, a former addict and current member of the mission believes, its not safe.
“You watch the news. I’m sorry. You watch the news in New Orleans. You also see things out there that the news don’t see.”
Across the street from the Pontchartrain Bridge is the New Orleans Mission. A 1 year recovery program is just one of many the mission offers to help addicts get clean and away from temptation.
“The first 10 days of the month there is more drugs under that bridge than probably in the community, in a lot of parts. You deal with that. Then, you don’t put them in jail. You put them in a program,” said Bottner.
However, wanting to change is the biggest challenge for an addict, according to Mimitte.
“Moved here, found crack cocaine. Came here to the mission, decided to go into the program. When god calls you its something. You fight it, but its not something you can fight for the rest of your life.”
New Orleans Mission is located at 1130 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.
NOM serves 3 meals a day. Overnight checkin is daily from 4-6pm.
For more information on programs click here https://neworleansmission.org/programs