St. Bernard Parish holds first property auction since Katrina - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

St. Bernard Parish holds first property auction since Katrina

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ARABI, LA (WVUE) -- Nearly nine years after the storm, the most devastated parish in the Greater New Orleans area during Katrina had its first property auction.

Raymond Doran with the St. Bernard Parish Government wants families to move back into homes like the gutted one he showed Fox 8 News on Perrin Drive in Arabi.

"I personally live back in Carolyn Park, and it's pretty desolate where we have so much open space and we'd like to get our neighbors back home," said Doran.

Along with more than 100 cleared lots, the Perrin Dr. house was one of eight structurally sound homes up for sale in the Parish's first property auction since Katrina.

"It's way past time. This will be something hopefully to jump start our recovery again," said Doran.

Auction organizers expected 200 people to raise their yellow cards in hopes of buying a property. Instead, they were surprised when more than 500 people packed the Arabi Elementary school gym.

"This shows you how excited people are about returning to St. Bernard. This is unbelievable for us," said Parish President David Peralta. "Our goal was to see lots sell anywhere from $2,000 maybe $3,000. We just had a lot go for $20,000. It shows people's interest in coming back to St. Bernard."

Lifelong St. Bernard resident Bill Rosha said he was looking to investing in the future of his home parish.

"I came here to try to buy another lot in the parish so hopefully my grand kids or someone will be able to use it in the future," said Rosha.

With a little bit of luck, and a $1,000 check in hand for a down-payment, Rosha won one of the first properties up for auction: a lot on Artillery Street in Chalmette. The house is near the neighborhood where Rosha grew up.

"$3,800. I think it was a reasonable price, and it's a big lot so I think it was well worth the money," Rosha said. "Trying to bring the parish back, they say we're going to be gaining more and more people so that'll be great."

Great for Rosha's family, his neighbors, and the entire community, Peralta said, as St. Bernard rebuilds its population.

"This is great for us. It's exciting, it really is," said Peralta.

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