Four and a half months after a FOX 8 investigation revealed historic homes meant to be preserved had been left roofless, many are still exposed to the elements.
A city spokesperson said roofs have been placed on 43 out of 72 homes relocated from the VA hospital footprint in Mid City to other neighborhoods. Before they were moved, the roofs, camelbacks and second stories had to be removed to clear power and street car lines.
On Wednesday, FOX 8 found work crews rehabbing a Gravier St. home to get it back into commerce. Considered historic, it's one of dozens houses moved late last year. It appeared the contractor is also in the process of putting a roof on the home. In February, rain poured into the entire home because it had been left without a roof.
A handful of houses that endured neglect on new lots on Bienville now have new roofs and are better protected wrapped in weather resistant barriers until they can be rehabbed.
According to information from the city, 29 homes still need roofs.
"I still feel a certain attachment to it. I go by every once and a while to see the progress, but like I said there's no progress," said Kevin Krause who used to own one of the homes that remains exposed to the elements. He and his wife, Bobbi Rogers say it's frustrating to see the place they put their heart and soul into post Katrina, deteriorate. The home relocated in the Hoffman Triangle neighborhood is a far cry from what it used to look like when they lived in it on Palmyra St.
"We had brand new like 10,000 dollar cabinets in there, but they wouldn't let us take them out so we said alright. So now the wind, the rain the sun.. everything's just been beating on them," said Krause. "The longer it's left open to the elements, the more it deteriorates. I mean we know that from Katrina," said Rogers.
In February, the city's point man on the project, Scott Hutcheson, said the city only planned to have the fronts and exteriors of the homes salvaged.
Some say the houses have added to the blight that already exists in some neighborhoods. "They put them here. I thought they was going to renovate them, but they just dropped them off and left them here," said Anthony Thomas. A concerned citizen, he said historic houses that have been left in this kind of shape for this long should be torn down.
Krause and Rogers meantime are going to keep watching. They'd like the house they worked so hard to restore to look the way it did before it was uprooted.
Builders of Hope, the non-profit hired to oversee the project, said in February it took longer than expected to get an agreement with the city to provide another $1 million of federal money to put the roofs on houses. The non-profit said it'll provide us with a project update Thursday. According to a city spokesperson, so far no one is living in any of the homes.