Seniors move back into apartment complex seven months after Hurricane Ida, concerned over conditions

In the video, she also showed a hallway with water on the floor and a room that appears to have black mold inside.

NEW ORLEANS — It’s been seven months since Hurricane Ida slammed into southeast Louisiana forcing some senior apartment complexes in New Orleans to shut down due to damage. Tenants from one senior living center were finally told to move back in last week, but they reached out to WWL-TV for help, claiming the conditions are still not livable.

“This is walking into my building at Peace Lake Towers,” Lucrece Phillips said in a video, showing scaffolding above her. 

In the video, she also showed a hallway with water on the floor and a room that appears to have black mold inside.

“This is where we live,” she said. 

Peace Lake Towers on Chef Menteur is an income-based complex for seniors 55 and up and those with disabilities. In September, the city shut it down after determining it was unfit to live in because of damage from Hurricane Ida. 

“During Hurricane Ida the generators were broken here so the elderly were trapped in here for about a week,” she said.

Phillips said tenants were given hotel vouchers since then as the complex was under construction until last week.

“They just told us it was time for us to come back, that they couldn’t pay for the hotel any longer,” she said.

“This is the hallway where I live; dirt, dust, debris,” she said in the video she took of her hallway.

They are concerned that construction does not appear to be complete. 

“You can see with your own eyes it’s incomplete, but they saw fit to move us back in here,” said another tenant, Wayne Gardner. “They done blocked the shoots off where you put the trash down, now the trash is just stacking up. The trash just stacking up.”

Last week, Phillips found a letter from her property manager letting her know her unit was broken into in January. She isn’t sure what was taken and what is missing due to the construction in her unit. 

“We have so many items missing. My bed, my TV is missing, they can’t find it,” she said. 

Phillips bought an air mattress and was promised by management she would get reimbursed. 

The seniors are begging City Council Member Oliver Thomas for help.

“Definitely the place isn’t ready. My assistant went out there a week ago and said definitely they shouldn’t be moving people back in,” Thomas said. 

He plans to reach out to management next week to find out why residents were allowed to move back in.

“Gross mistreatment. Misunderstanding. Definitely not humanitarian,” he said about the conditions. 

Thomas also plans to send code enforcement to the complex.

“The city needs to inspect that place to see if its up to code for people moving back in,” he said. 

“This is not livable for no human building. How would you like to live on a construction site?” Gardner said in frustration.

“My worries and concerns are the health and safety issues here and returning before it’s completely finished,” Phillips said. 

They are hopeful for answers to ensure they are living in a safe place.

“Someone needs to do something about this,” Phillips said in the video she took of the inside of the complex. 

WWL-TV reached out to Peace Lake Towers management and their upper management company, Millennia Companies out of Ohio via email, but their office is not open on Sundays, so we have not yet heard back. 

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