FOX 8 Defenders: Longtime nuisance property gets cleaned up

The FOX 8 Defenders learn a longtime nuisance property we’ve tracked for years no longer poses a problem for one New Orleans neighborhood. While it’s been cleaned up, some worry about other lingering eyesores in the St. Bernard area near Bayou St. John.
Published: Mar. 31, 2022 at 9:27 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Rita LeGrand has never been happier to see a vacant lot. “It is so good to see this property taken care of,” LeGrand said referencing a longtime blighted property at 4216 Encampment Street in New Orleans near Bayou St. John.

Janet Barbre is equally excited. “I’m glad that the pool is gone. I’m glad that the house is gone,” she said.

Barbre has lived next door to the Encampment Street property since 2014, and all these years it’s been blighted.

The Encampment St. property, an attractive piece of land that backs up to the bayou, wasn’t so attractive before the home was recently demolished... “It’s a dead end street so to see people that didn’t belong here it was kind of scary you know living here,” Barbre said.

For years the property was the subject of Code Enforcement hearings for violations. “I’m sure we went to hearings for five or six years on it, to try to get it taken care of,” LeGrand recalled. She fought blight in Lakeview, and neighbors recruited her help with this property.

In a 2019 Code Enforcement hearing, property owner Lydia Henry told the hearing officer, “I would love to have my place fixed up. I have not gotten my money back from the contractor who messed it up. It’s not that I’m just sitting there not doing anything.”

On top of violations for trash and debris, Henry’s large swimming pool posed a health and safety risk. It was one of several dangerous pools that we tracked across the city that wasn’t filtered and at times was not properly secured. While the City hit the owner with hefty fines, the pool still remained stagnant for years.

“They have a little boy who rides his bike up and down this pathway, and to have that pool you know he may go to just you know look and accidentally fall in.. it was an accident waiting to happen,” Barbre said.

In the last year, the City confirmed to FOX 8, the owner drained the pool and filled it in, and Barbre says it was just recently that crews demolished the actual house. “Then hopefully somebody will rebuild soon,” Barbre said. A longtime nuisance property the FOX 8 Defenders have tracked gets cleaned up after 16 and a half years.

While a big step forward for this neighborhood, LeGrand, and others believe there are several properties nearby impacting the area’s progress. Three apartment buildings on the next block that appear vacant are one example, and they’re steps from McDonogh 35 High School and on the same block as a triple homicide just this month.

These residential properties along Encampment and at least one commercial property on St. Bernard Avenue...if cleaned up, they believe could pave the way for investments in the neighborhood.

If you’ve got a consumer issue you’d like us to look into, call the FOX 8 Defenders staffed with volunteers from the National Council of Jewish Women or fill out our online complaint form.

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