NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - There is no question blight and debris have been a continuing problem for New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina. But, there is good news to report for those who want to clean up their neighborhoods.
"We want to make sure that New Orleans is clean, it's safe that there is a good quality of life for all neighborhoods," said City of New Orleans Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Ava Rogers.
It is called the lot maintenance initiative. The goal is to reduce blight in the city by cutting high grass and removing debris from privately-owned properties. Last year, the city appropriated $1.5 million to expand the program to focus on neighborhoods like the Lower 9th Ward.
"So, the big update is that we wanted to let the city know how we have done since the city council appropriated almost $2 million for this effort. So, today we've cut over 2,000 lots citywide and in particular we focused on the Lower 9 where obviously the needs are the greatest," Rogers said.
And for those still dealing with overgrown lots and blight, Rogers wants people to know the city hears them.
"We understand them and we agree. We're not there yet and we won't get there unless we all work together and so this is just one step. We're going to continue working in this direction, we're going to be here through September 2016 and beyond helping people to recover, helping put properties back in commerce and encouraging people to come back home," Rogers said.
Property owners whose lots are in violation of city blight ordinances are notified and given a seven day window to clean up. If they do not, the city then moves in to cut the grass and pick up any trash or debris. The city then charges the delinquent property owner by putting the cost of that clean-up on their tax bill.