City begins cleaning, clearing area under Pontchartrain Expwy. - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

City begins cleaning, clearing area under Pontchartrain Expressway

A man sleeps in a tent city that sprung up under the Pontchartrain Expressway. (FOX 8 Photo) A man sleeps in a tent city that sprung up under the Pontchartrain Expressway. (FOX 8 Photo)
This notice was posted Monday, giving 72 hours to evacuate  (FOX 8 Photo) This notice was posted Monday, giving 72 hours to evacuate (FOX 8 Photo)

The homeless who have been living under a stretch of the Pontchartrain Expressway must pack up and leave by Thursday evening.

City health officials handed out notices Monday, declaring the area a public health hazard. The notice ordered some of the city's homeless population to vacate the area under the Pontchartrain Expressway. The area stretches from South Clairborne to St. Charles Avenue.

City leaders say more than 150 people sleep under the elevated expressway among rats and growing garbage.

The notice gave the homeless 72 hours to evacuate the area with their personal property.

"I grew up in this project right over here," said Ervin Davis, a homeless encampment resident. "This is why I feel safe right here."

The notice provided information about nearby homeless shelters where people staying under the bridge can access beds and food. 

"We are trying to be empathetic to what we need to be empathetic to," said Charlotte Parent, New Orleans Health Director. "The bottom line is that when the departments can't do the work that they need to do to create a safe public health space, then we need to act."

Parent says everyone must be out by Thursday evening so crews can start pest control.

Ozanam Inn and the New Orleans Mission plan to help the homeless find shelter.

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