Lower Ninth Ward residents frustrated with blight, overgrown lot - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

Lower Ninth Ward residents frustrated with blight, overgrown lots

Patricia Santiago doesn't like what she sees near her home along Lizardi Street in the Lower Ninth Ward.

Santiago says she's done all she can to maintain her own property, But with so many problems surrounding her, frustration is mounting.

"It makes me feel sad as a homeowner. It really makes me feel sad," she said. "I think the city done forgot about the Lower Ninth Ward people, that we're here. We're still down here. We're taxpayers."

Signs of a stalled recovery are all around, some neighbors said, pointing to the many blighted buildings and empty lots filled with towering weeds.

"There's like weeds this high, and it's a problem. You got a park right here. Look what you've got across the street from the park," said Reginald Dove, as he showed us one of the many overgrown properties.

Dove says the evening hours bring a feeling of unease due to a lack of functioning streetlights in some areas.

"It's pitch black. If the lights are not on in the park, it's pitch black, dark. You got nothing but bushes, trees, abandoned houses and then you got people walking up and down the street late at night. You don't know who they are, so it needs to be addressed," he said.

Santiago agreed.

"It's really dark around here. I'm concerned about our safety, our well being," she said. "I'm scared to come outside in front my door myself, because I'm afraid."

Monday night, along Santiago's block, most streetlights appeared to be functioning, but she pointed out -- once the lights at Bonart Playground go off for the evening, the area is still shrouded in darkness.

Santiago said neighbors aren't giving up on their beloved community, but she added, many problems across the Lower Ninth Ward are out of their control.

"We need help. Can you help us? Our representatives, can you help us down here in the Lower Ninth Ward," Santiago said.

City spokesperson Garnesha Crawford sent this statement Monday:

"Mayor Landrieu has made it a top priority to address quality of life issues and to create customer-friendly options for citizens to report service requests. City departments are actively servicing and responding to the needs of residents across New Orleans on a daily basis. The City encourages our residents to immediately report gaps in service to NOLA 311 and to the Quality of Life Officer within their district."

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