Flood victim evicted from Hammond hotel after complaining about conditions

FEMA Evacuees Kicked Out of Hotel

HAMMOND, LA (WVUE) - A flood victim who sounded the alarm over conditions at a Hammond hotel has been evicted.

"There was a man being put out of one room because of a mice problem," said Chris Burkins.

A recent recruit of the Louisiana Cajun Navy, Burkins was trying to improve conditions at the motel, but she was limited.

"Sometimes the sheets aren't changed and they find blood on them from drug people who shouldn't be here," Burkins said.

"They done forgot about us. It's like they don't matter," said a mother of two who did not want to be identified for fear of eviction. She said she's leaving Louisiana, in part to get her children the medical care they need.

"Rats, they everywhere," said the mother.

"There was one guy who went in a room, found needles and people cooking meth down the hall, the other night ago - filled with smoke," said evacuee Gerald Burkins.

After Burkins complained to FOX and to the hotel manager, she and her family were thrown out.

"Trying to help people, that's all I was trying to do," said Burkins as she moved out under threat of arrest.

At first, the manager wouldn't talk.

"Off camera, off camera," he said, raising his hand to the lens.

But as more and more residents came to complain, he offered an explanation.

"We have to evict her. She's creating problems for everybody," said manager Kim Patel.

Patel showed us rooms that he said were recently renovated but were filled with evacuees who often brought what possessions they had left into the hotel, where they cooked, bathed and lived for weeks.

"My rooms are not like that," Patel said. "Evacuees bring all their stuff here, and that's what happened."

Victim advocates say the problems aren't unique. Many don't have a clue as to how to rebuild. Gov. John Bel Edwards is working with FEMA and Congress to try and address the needs of 130,000 flood victims, saying 80 percent have no flood insurance.

"We always want to do better, and it keeps me up at night," Edwards said.

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