‘I wanna leave New Orleans. Period. I don’t wanna go back’: Many senior citizens wait in limbo as facility inspections continue

Published: Sep. 8, 2021 at 10:19 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Mold, mildew, electrical issues-- just a few of the items city inspectors discovered while evacuating senior residents for Hurricane Ida. Nine facilities closed, and as a result, the New Orleans Department of Health is now inspecting 23 more independent living facilities for improper building maintenance.

The Annunciation Inn is one of several senior independent living facilities in New Orleans under inspection.

“The toilet backed up or whatever and it was running down the hall,” said Shandell Hutchinson on behalf of her mother who is a resident at Annunciation Inn and who wanted to remain anonymous. “A lot of things been passed up.

She said there were issues at the apartment building before Hurricane Ida made landfall.

“One side of her wall didn’t have electricity. They had her refrigerator running off a power cord. For a year. A whole year,” she said.

Now the City of New Orleans is inspecting issues just like this at 32 independent living facilities.

“Anytime that a work is performed without permits or there’s a code violation, they are subject to administrative fines,” said Deputy CAO for New Orleans Peter Bowen.

Bowen said engineers and fire prevention officials are helping with the assessments by taking notes of any and all code issues; documenting everything.

“The first site we went to, the pump room door had been painted shut. You know, the fire prevention officer with us when he tried to pull it open, the door handle ripped off. Clearly, no one’s been in there. We’ve come across resident windows that have been painted shut. There are definitely clear signs that these are smoking facilities. There’s stuff there and it’s definitely a concern.”

A concern for the city, but perhaps an even greater concern for the residents who pay to live in these conditions.

“I just want the apartments to be safe for those people to live and people need to be placed where they need to be placed,” said Hutchinson.

Now displaced with family in Baton Rouge, her mother does not wish to return.

“I wanna go. I wanna leave New Orleans. Period. I don’t wanna go back.”

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