Tent living grows in Denham Springs neighborhood six weeks after flood

Ashley Rodrigue talks to Denham Springs residents who are still living in tents and moldy trailing after flooding.

DENHAM SPRINGS, La. --  When Eyewitness News cameras first documented the living conditions in Magnolia Estates, James McCoy was optimistic about moving into a manufactured home from the small tent on his property, following a visit from FEMA that morning.

Three weeks later, "Nothing," he said. "Only thing they've done is call me and I call them back. They tell me I'm eligible, but I don't see nothing, I live in a tent."

A few blocks away, Ray Merrow says he's stuck between trying to help others and moving himself forward with help that's ready for him now.

"I'm living in that motor home on the right," he said through tears. "These people don't want to move, they want to live in them tents because FEMA hadn't done nothing for them."

Around both of their properties, the presence of tents has grown, while many debris piles have done the same six weeks after an unpredictable and unprecedented flood.

While it seems like the majority of the neighborhood is worse than it was a month ago, there are some bright spots.  Shane Foreman's manufactured home showed up the day after we visited his encampment off of Susie Circle and Jerome Milano's arrived this week.

"I understand there's a lot of these being put in place in the area, but it's taken some time which is understandable," said Milano.

At the same time, debris trucks are in the neighborhood and on the main streets through town, giving, at least Milano, a new optimism.

"We gonna get through this," he said, "Everybody's kind of coming together, so we gonna get through it."

FEMA says it has placed hundreds of victims in various rentable dwellings and has delivered 47 manufactured homes across the area to date.  Tuesday, the agency extended temporary hotel stays for flood victims into the middle of October.

(© 2016 WWL)


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