NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - For years, the city has tried and failed to fix a blighted area that used to house the Higgins Gate Apartments and even though it's gone, the area remains an eyesore.
Micah Glausier works next to the property at the Berean Church in Algiers.
“It sends a message to our community that says that we as a community don’t matter as much, because a large area of blight like this can remain,” Glausier said.
Higgins Gate has been left abandoned since 2008. Once an apartment complex, it now sits overgrown with trees and debris.
Councilwoman Kristin Palmer questioned code enforcement officials about the land during a Quality of Life Committee meeting Tuesday (June 25).
“At this point, is it about just money, or is it about the health and safety of our people?” Palmer asked.
The property currently belongs to Love Outreach Fellowship, but Palmer said it’s come to the point that something needs to be done.
“It’s been a year and nothing’s happened," Palmer said. “Twice, there were efforts to clean it up. I actually have pictures of somebody doing something on the outside of the fence, but both efforts have failed.”
Glausier said with the abandoned property comes crime.
“In the eight years since I’ve been at Berean, our air condition’s been stolen five times," he said. “The most recent one was in March. We pulled up and someone drove around and went through the gate back there behind it and then drove out Higgins Gate.”
He said fencing recently went up around Higgins Gate, but now instead of dumping inside the property, people are leaving their items on the sidewalk.
“What happens is because the debris is already there, they’ll come and they’ll dump mattresses and couches and all sorts of things out there and just make it a real eyesore, even on the street,” Glausier said.
While no clear-cut solution was ironed out, Councilman Joe Giarrusso said he hopes new attempts to rid the city of blight here and in other parts of the city get better results.
"We want to talk about how to make the blight hearings move a little bit faster. How do we make sure that title search and research is being done faster, and the tires, if there's certain gaps in the law, what can we do to fill those if the state isn't doing that? So it's a constant monitoring," Giarrusso said.
Code enforcement said it will pursue Higgins Gate for seizure due to health and safety concerns.