NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Workers spent most of the day Monday draining what may be one of the most dangerous blighted pools in the city along the 4700 block of Charlene Drive in New Orleans East.
Covered and caked in algae, they dealt with debris, furniture and plant growth. Neighbors say over the years it’s been a dumping ground, and more concerning it’s been a breeding ground for mosquitoes and more.
“We’ve already killed two snakes, and there’s no telling what’s gonna come out of there once they fully drain the pool,” said a neighbor who did not want to be identified.
Neighbors have also worried a child could drown.
We first showed you the unfiltered, unfenced pool in October, but it has been in that dangerous condition for years, wide open and exposed since the house on the property burned down in 2009 - which is how long it’s been in the Code Enforcement process. By Monday afternoon, a dump truck had delivered several loads of sand to fill the pool, which workers believe is at least 9 feet deep at the deepest point.
For more than a year, we’ve covered dangerous pools in New Orleans, including one along the 5700 block of Vicksburg Street in Lakeview that’s now covered with a wooden deck. We also highlighted another blighted pool along the 4200 block of Encampment Street in Gentilly that remains blighted, along with one along Fort Macomb Road in Venetian Isles that is wide open and unfenced.
Last month, City Council members passed a new law that Councilman Joe Giarrusso pushed, deeming certain dangerous pools as emergencies, permitting the city to go ahead and fill them immediately. The pool along Charlene Drive in the East is the most egregious example of an emergency pool that we have found on the city’s list of reported un-maintained pools.
“This was a top priority, along with another pool in my district that may warrant that emergency ordinance to take place,” said New Orleans City Councilwoman Cyndi Nguyen when we showed her the pool earlier this month.
However, the city says the pool was filled as the result of an order granted at a Code Enforcement hearing.
“I’m proud that the city is coming together and making a change,” a neighbor said.
In an email, Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s Press Secretary, LaTonya Norton, said: “The City is committed to ensuring safe and vibrant communities, and we are happy that the issue at 4767 Charlene is resolved. We thank FOX 8 for bringing this issue to our attention, and the city council for their partnership in providing code enforcement new tools to address unmaintained pools.”
“They need to, you know, gather every other pool and do the same exact thing as soon as possible and not take their time with it, because if they take their time with it, there’s more time for someone to get hurt,” a neighbor told us.
The city says the costs it incurs to drain and fill blighted swimming pools will be added as a lien against the blighted property.
The FOX 8 Defenders have reached out to the owners of the pool on Charlene, Dionne S. Payton and Steven Carde Payton, but have never heard back.
If you’ve got a consumer issue you want us to address, call the FOX 8 Defenders staffed with volunteers from the National Council of Jewish Women, the NCJW, or fill out our online complaint form.