A look at post-Katrina demolitions

New Orleans was struggling with 25,000 derelict properties before Hurricane Katrina more than doubled that number. The inescapable blight citywide led to an unprecedented willingness to knock down buildings, and free-flowing FEMA money made it easier for many.

The city has granted more than 24,000 demolition permits since Katrina, though every one hasn’t been put to use.

Some demolitions happened quickly to protect the public from imminent threats. Thousands likely took place because of irreparable storm or flood damage. Many were carried out based on judgment calls; pieces of the city’s history are gone, for better or for worse. More than a few took place without the owners’ knowledge. And still others were conducted illegally, without a city permit.

This app offers three different views of what we found when we examined the issue. Most broadly, the map at right shows all permits issued. We drilled down to 150 properties, and you can use the button above to see then-and-now photos of those properties. And at the most heart-wrenching and uplifting, we’ve told the personal stories of eight of our neighbors.

A dot on the map can represent a fresh start, a sign of a city on the mend. Or it can be the site of yet another empty and overgrown lot, its absentee owner running up a staggering bill for past due taxes or blight.

At a minimum, each dot represents the potential for change in our ever-evolving city.

About

This map is part of the evolution of a post-Katrina blog called Squandered Heritage, started in 2006 by Karen Gadbois. As a textile artist, Gadbois was concerned about the aesthetic her adopted city was losing in its rush to become the “new New Orleans.”

With a digital camera and a website, she began documenting buildings that were on demolition lists. Her work caught the attention of media outlets near and far, and eventually spawned a federal investigation into a corrupt home rehabilitation program for the poor and elderly. In 2009, Gadbois teamed up with New Orleans journalist Ariella Cohen to start The Lens, the city’s first nonprofit newsroom.

In conjunction with The Nation’s special issue on the 10-year anniversary of the storm, our newsrooms have partnered to develop this map. It is part of The Lens’ continuing effort to document the changes to the city.

Demolition permit data for this project was provided by the city of New Orleans. Not every building listed for demolition was torn down; in some cases owners reversed course or a government agency stepped in to preserve historic buildings. Meanwhile, some properties were demolished without proper city permits.

Tax and code-enforcement information is based on New Orleans city records.

Thanks to the Historic New Orleans Collection for providing photos from its collection of survey photos taken by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (acc.no. 2013.0274).

Both of our newsrooms rely on readers like you to produce ambitious investigative journalism. Support independent journalism by joining Nation Builders or becoming a member of The Lens today.

City nearly tore down renovated home

May 15, 2007 Karen Gadbois

Aug. 24, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

Power lines were cut to lovingly restored house

Chanel and Stanley Debose live in a tidy yellow house bracketed by car-detail shops. The house is across Washington Avenue from a small brick Baptist church, in a stretch that's mostly warehouses and empty lots. It's the only house on the block.

In mid-2007, the block was nearly stripped of its last house when city contractors snipped the power lines in preparation for demolition. Though the Deboses had spent an estimated $90,000 to repair their home by then, the house had made it onto the city's list of Imminent Health Threats. It was supposed to be bulldozed.

At that time, many people in their section of Central City were only beginning repairs. But the Deboses were living in their completed house because they'd gotten a big head start.

Chanel, a lawyer, was allowed to return early because she was a business owner. They had their house gutted within a month of the flood, clearing out the mess left after it took on about 2 feet of water — even though it sits 5 feet off the ground.

By the end of 2005, the couple had a FEMA trailer on the property, a pretty major achievement in itself at that point. From then on, the two of them worked tirelessly, fixing up the house that the couple had already once lovingly restored, bringing it back from blight after buying it in 2001.

“We beat and beat at that house,” Chanel said. By late 2006, the interior was finished and the couple had moved back in. They had the FEMA trailer hauled away.

“By the time we got Road Home [grant money], it was reimbursing us for everything we'd done for that house,” she said.

Because Stanley Debose is a gifted woodworker, the couple went to great lengths to retain the house's historic woodwork and charm. After they had bought the dilapidated house in 2001, Stanley stripped all the windows down to the wood and sanded and polished the floors. He designed and made the kitchen cabinets himself. After the storm, he redid all his work again.

Then a demolition watchdog told the Deboses that their house was on a list of homes to be razed. By that time, Chanel said, they'd already reupholstered their flooded furniture and hung paintings on the walls. They'd gotten brass outlet plates and historic doorknobs from a shop on Magazine Street. The palms that line their front path were green and flourishing. Their yard was neatly mowed.

Debose thought it must have been a mistake; no notice had been posted on their door. After she called the city and talked with someone, she hung up thinking she'd resolved it.

But a few weeks later when she came home from work, neighbors told her that contractors had been there, marking gas lines and disconnecting the electricity at the pole. No notice had been posted on the house. But it was clear that the bulldozers were imminent.

Chanel immediately drove to City Hall, where a clerk suggested that perhaps there was too much construction material left in their yard. If not that, there must be some other reason for the scheduled demolition, the clerk suggested, stone-faced.

Chanel couldn't believe what she was hearing. “I said, ‘How can you just demolish? It seems like when you see lights on and flowers tended in the yard, you have a duty to knock on the door and inquire.' ”

That visit wasn't enough to take the house off the list, however. The Deboses had to return to City Hall with photos of the redone house.

“I was just discouraged,” Chanel recalls now. “Baby, we were set to be demolished. And there was nothing to give anyone a reason to demolish it.”

Chanel considers herself fortunate. She knows another woman in her neighborhood whose house was razed by city contractors, despite being fixed early thanks to a brother who was a carpenter. A few weeks ago, she went to a birthday party that the family held on the empty lot where that house once stood.

Chanel got an eerie feeling, she said. Without watchful neighbors and preservationists, she said, the house that she loves so dearly could have disappeared.

“I came home and told my husband, “We need to have a party. Because we won.'”

Archdiocese replaced church with school

June 6, 2007 Karen Gadbois

Aug. 23, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

‘Cathedral by the Lake’ suffered little damage, but its demolition cleared way for a relocated Holy Cross school

In 2005, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Church, a noted modernist church in Gentilly, was inundated with 10 feet of water from the hemorrhaging London Avenue Canal. Its adjacent elementary school was also flooded.

Before two years had passed, it was demolished to make way for Holy Cross School, the Catholic all-boys institution whose home in the Lower 9th Ward had been flooded.

The Cabrini church, dubbed “Cathedral by the Lake” by a former archbishop, had been built in the early 1960s from a design by New Orleans architectural firm Curtis & Davis that kept pace with theological changes stemming from Vatican II. As architect Nathaniel Davis wrote in 1964: “The priest would no longer have his back to the congregation, there would be a sense of more participation, with the pews being placed in a semi-circle as close to the altar as possible,” he wrote.

A massive, four-pronged cement canopy arched over the marble altar. Or as Davis wrote: “The altar was placed beneath the spire that grew up out of the roof as if pointing toward God.” The resulting 135-foot tall white steeple that was topped by a steel cross towered over the neighborhood.

In 2006, administrators from the Holy Cross School, the century-old school located in the heavily damaged and then-desolate Lower 9th Ward, had expressed interest in the 17-acre Cabrini site. The offer appealed to many in the city who feared that Holy Cross might otherwise relocate to Jefferson Parish.

And at first, the area around the site in Gentilly, where only about one-third of residents had returned, also felt empty. Some Gentilly neighbors were ecstatic at the idea of Holy Cross bringing some life into the area.

Scott Darrah, president of the Gentilly Civic Improvement Association, described the Holy Cross offer in such terms to The New York Times in December 2006.

“It was one of the most joyous occasions people in this community have had since the flood, one of the most hope-filled occasions. People from all over were sending me emails saying, ‘Thank you, we're so thrilled.”

A post-Katrina inspection found no structural damage to the church, said Robin Brou Hatheway, 50, part of a group of parishioners and preservationists that opposed demolition and still see the move as an archdiocesan mistake.

Hatheway had first worshipped at Cabrini when she was a little girl, attending the baptism of a relative. She remembers being particularly struck by the carved risen Jesus that hung above the altar, suspended by nearly invisible steel cables.

Before the storm hit, Hatheway's family worshipped at the church. Her children had attended school there as part of what Hatheway describes as an ethnically and economically mixed student body.

“It was a great little place,” she said.

In mid-October 2005, when she and her children returned to a gray, largely vacant city, St. Frances Cabrini was the first place they went.

A FEMA report on the church found it to be eligible for the National Register: “It was an exceptionally important example of its building type for being among the most, probably the most, singular design for a house of worship in New Orleans erected during the post-World War II period.”

Despite the report, the church and school were demolished in June 2007.

“I don't drive by there,” said Hatheway, who chooses other routes from her nearby home. “I have never passed there since they took my church down.”

Trading up

August 2007 Google

Aug. 24, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

Project Home Again helps lower-income, pre-Katrina homeowners get re-established

Denise Matthews owned a home in the 4800 block of Dreux Avenue before the 2005 flood, but – like many others – Matthews was told by her bank to pay off her mortgage with her Road Home funds. That left her with no money to rebuild.

She couldn't renovate the house a little at a time, either. That's because the 10 feet of floodwater that rolled down her street had shifted her house off its foundation, so it needed major work up front.

Before the storm, Matthews had enjoyed the stability that comes with living in the same place for more than a dozen years. Afterward, she moved around.

Her first stop was Killeen, Texas, where one of her sons was stationed in the military. When Winn-Dixie called her back to her bakery job in January 2006, Matthews, two of her children and a grandchild moved in with her brother and others across the Mississippi River.

“There were 17 or 18 of us in a four-bedroom house,” she said. “We did that for about eight months.”

Then she and her daughter and her grandbaby moved into a FEMA trailer on the same lot as her skewed house. She remembers the day her home was demolished.

“I watched it out of my trailer window,” she said. “Obviously, I was emotional. I had been in that house for 13 years. So all of those memories were gone.”

After seven months in the trailer, they found an apartment in eastern New Orleans. Matthews didn't like renting again. She prayed that something else would come through for her.

In 2008, Matthews' sister-in-law told her about a new program starting in Gentilly called Project Home Again.

“When they told me I was eligible, I just broke down,” Matthews said. “My prayers had been answered.”

Project Home Again was launched with a $20 million gift by Barnes & Noble Chairman Len Riggio and his wife, Louise, who are regular New Orleans visitors with family ties: his grandparents immigrated from Italy to New Orleans around 1900.

The program targets pre-Katrina homeowners who are working but earn modest wages: less than 120 percent of the area median income. Unlike other post-Katrina rebuilding programs, Project Home Again is based on lot-swapping. Project Home Again participants cede their property to the organization, trading it for a new, fully furnished house.

The program's new houses were concentrated in three Gentilly neighborhoods to avoid the post-Katrina jack-o'-lantern effect seen in many areas, where empty lots are interspersed with rebuilt homes.

Matthews now lives in her own home in the 6000 block of Wickfield Drive. The original homeowners at the Wickfield property used the program to swap their unlivable house for one a few blocks away. Project Home Again demolished the damaged structure, then built a new house on the lot.

Likewise, Matthews' old property now features a new house that went to an applicant in the program's first-time homebuyer program.

Here's how the financial part of Project Home Again works: If a new house is valued at $150,000 and the participant's old lot was appraised at $40,000, then her new mortgage is $110,000.

The Riggios knew that many people had paid off their mortgages or had paid on them for 20 years. They didn't want the program's beneficiaries to end up with a 30-year mortgage again. So the mortgages are “soft” and don't require monthly payments. All the homeowners must do it live in the house, pay their property taxes and maintain full homeowner and flood insurance.

Each year, 20 percent of the mortgage is forgiven. So Matthews, who received her keys on a date she'll never forget – Nov. 1, 2010 – will, in two months, own her new house on Wickfield Drive free and clear.

Empty promise, empty lot

June 12, 2008 Karen Gadbois

Aug. 4, 2015 Weenta Girmay

Neighborhood was told a new school would replace 70-year-old building torn down in 2007

Aletha Duncan opposed the demolition of her neighborhood school after Hurricane Katrina flooded the first floor and damaged the roof. Duncan worried if the school was torn down, a new one wouldn't rise in its place.

She came around when state and city officials promised that a new school would anchor her corner of the Upper 9th Ward of New Orleans.

She was right to be concerned.

Eight years after Johnson Lockett Elementary School was torn down, the block where it stood remains empty.

“We were PROMISED that Lockett would be rebuilt,” Duncan wrote in an email recently. “People returning to New Orleans either to visit or stay would cry when they saw Lockett gone.”

The E.A. Christy-designed school was built in 1933 for African-American children. Ruby Bridges attended kindergarten there before she became one of the first black students in Louisiana to integrate a public school in 1960. That's her in Norman Rockwell's painting “The Problem We All Live With.”

Lockett never opened after Katrina. The state-run Recovery School District listed it among the “severely damaged” schools and moved to demolish it. A district employee suggested that the school, built with substandard materials, was the legacy of a racist, two-tiered education system.

At a meeting in 2007, then-Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell told an audience packed with students that a new, better school would rise where Lockett once stood.

Those overseeing a $1.8 billion school building and renovation plan across the city put Lockett at the bottom of a long list, along with other projects that weren't funded. Later it was removed entirely.

Katherine Prevost grew up in the neighborhood and, as president of the Bunny Friend Neighborhood Association, has been working on recovery issues since the storm. She, too, dropped her opposition to demolition after receiving assurances that the school would be rebuilt.

She said she feels like the school system used Lockett by putting a value on it when making a financial claim to FEMA, but then used the money elsewhere.

“We are trying to make the dollars stay” in the neighborhood, she said, though she's not particularly hopeful. “We are voicing our opinions and asking for things, but I am tired.”

Man stunned to find house gone

Jan. 21, 2006 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 13, 2015 Della Hasselle

After surviving Katrina, a perfect bureaucratic storm sweeps away 9th Ward home

Keith Williams Sr. winced when he saw the photograph of his old house in the Lower 9th Ward. It stood across the street from the Industrial Canal, and it was his pride and joy.

As a contractor, Williams had meticulously renovated the two-story, 16-room house at 2431 Jourdan Ave., where he lived with his wife and six children. That was before Hurricane Katrina, and before the city demolished it as he was fixing it up after the storm.

His first time back after evacuating, he feared the worst because the canal wall gave way to a flood that exploded through the neighborhood, knocking some homes off their foundations and into the streets and neighbors' yards. Indeed, he found the remnants of a neighborhood that had sat stagnant in 12 feet of water for weeks.

“There was grass on the ceiling,” Williams said, shaking his head. “That's how high the water was.”

Despite the extensive damage around him, Williams was surprised to find that his home was still structurally sound. An inspection confirmed that he could rebuild on the house's uncompromised brick foundation. Or so he thought.

What happened next became emblematic of a failed system after Katrina, when residents already victimized by the storm were further preyed upon by unfair practices and systemic dysfunction.

Williams' complicated tale sheds light on a perfect storm of post-Katrina struggles: a deeply flawed renovation grant system stained by discrimination, bottom-line mortgage companies and a city bureaucracy whose irreversible mistakes left people homeless.

Williams' post-storm tribulations began with the Road Home grant he applied for in October 2006, more than a year after Katrina. Meant as an incentive to bring people back after the storm, most of the program's money went to owners who wanted to restore or rebuild their houses.

But the awards were often too small to cover all costs.

Although a Road Home inspection determined that Williams' house would cost more than $345,000 to fix, its pre-storm value was only $110,000. Grantees got whichever was less.

Like others, Williams' grant was reduced because of a penalty for not having insurance, but he was awarded a secondary grant for $50,000 for being in a low-income bracket. In all, Williams was promised $150,000.

He received well over the average grant of $69,000, but he still didn't think the calculation of his home's value was fair. So he appealed. And then waited.

It wasn't uncommon for people who contested their awards to wait months or even years for their checks. But he was eager to rebuild, and he began paying out of pocket for materials in 2006, after he was promised he'd get something.

It was 2009 before he received his first installment on his grant. By then, it was too late.

“One day [in 2008], I come home to cut the grass, and there was no house,” he said. “I called my wife and said, ‘Bae, did the house move? I think I'm on the right street.'”

He laughed bitterly, recalling the day.

“They leveled the house and took it.”

Williams remembers getting a letter from the city in April of 2007 notifying him that his house would be torn down. But he said he never asked the city to demolish it. The Lens examined city demolition records for Williams' house and found a blank space where the name of the applicant should be.

He contested the demolition notification, and in May of 2007, the city told him the demolition was canceled. Apparently, someone didn't get the memo.

At first, a city official said he would try to give Williams two lesser-valued, city-owned properties in exchange for the razed house. But he said Councilman James Gray told him that wouldn't be proper protocol, and that Williams' only recourse was to sue.

Williams still is trying to negotiate a settlement with the city, so he hasn't filed a lawsuit.

The story doesn't end there. When he finally got his grant, Williams said his mortgage company took more than $80,000 to pay off the loan on a house that no longer existed. Such forced-mortgage payoffs were not uncommon because a grant check had to be signed by the homeowner and sent to the mortgage company, which also was listed as recipient.

He was left with about $70,000 by the time he got the last installment of Road Home money in 2011, but he never used it to rebuild in the Lower 9th Ward. He said he had to pay a mortgage on a house in LaPlace, where he was staying in the interim.

M.A. Sheehan, the director of an advocacy program called House the 9, said many of her clients had trouble rebuilding because the money came sporadically.

“It all came out in these little drops, so people never had enough money at once to rebuild,” Sheehan said. “Hundreds of people have stories like that.”

Recently, Road Home asked Williams to pay back his grant. Program officials said he broke the rules because he hasn't used the money to rebuild in New Orleans.

Williams has refused, claiming he wouldn't be in this pickle in the first place if Road Home had given him enough money upfront, or if the city hadn't wrongfully demolished his house.

“I just get lost on the back end of it, totally,” Williams said. “And it's all the city's fault.”

As strange and unlucky as Williams' story may seem, he is one of many in his area victimized by Road Home troubles and wrongful demolitions, Sheehan said.

Part of the reason was that the money wasn't equally disbursed. A discriminatory formula meant less was paid initially to homeowners in lower-income, African-American neighborhoods such as the Lower 9th Ward than to those living in more wealthy and mostly white areas.

The federal government has touted the $9 billion Road Home program, saying roughly 94 percent rebuilt across Louisiana. But only about 37 percent of households returned to the Lower 9th, which in 2000 had a population of about 14,000.

Williams wants to get back to New Orleans for his 16-year-old daughter, who tested into one of the city's few A-rated public schools, Lusher Charter School. But she has to live in the city to attend.

“She is just excelling, exceedingly,” Williams said. “We don't want anything to deter her from that.”

Williams is still waiting for the city to make it right.

“I've lost completely, just all the way around,” he said. “My voice is just a whisper in the wind.”

‘You never responded, so we tore it down’

May 3, 2007 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 17, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

Couple tried to play by City Hall rules, but home was torn down

The Voigts trace their problems back to Thanksgiving weekend 2005, three months after the flood, when they tried to do the right thing.

They had gutted their Gentilly house and moved out debris. Greg Voigt had bleach burns for months afterward from bleaching the plaster.

But the couple hadn't yet received a permit for repairs. It seemed almost like a technicality because all the other pieces were in place. They had received an insurance settlement and Greg, a lawyer, had clients who were contractors.

“I had people ready to go,” he said. “I had a guy sizing up the windows, getting ready to replace the wood floors that looked like a squeezed accordion.”

So, though they were displaced with their young son to South Carolina, they returned to the city, ate a holiday meal at the Palace Café on Canal Street on Thursday and reserved all of Friday to deal with City Hall.

They knew to expect a daylong wait. But their son Gabriel was then 6 years old, not an age where he could sit quietly for hours on end. So Kellye Voigt walked into City Hall alone, leaving her husband Greg outside to run around and play with Gabriel in the near-empty Central Business District.

In better days, Greg had run with Gabriel outside their Spanish-style bungalow. Their son had learned to ride a bicycle across the street, on the paths of the Milne Boys Home. As a toddler, he was fascinated by the firetrucks leaving the firehouse on the corner.

In late 2005, city planners were taking a close look at the elevation of structures before issuing any rebuilding permits. While some city streets and adjoining properties used to flood during nearly every heavy rainstorm, that wasn't the case for the Voigts' house. It had drowned because of the federal levee failure.

“We had never flooded there, even during the most torrential flooding,” Greg said.

Kellye's mission that day was to get an elevation waiver and prove that their house could be repaired. She gave them everything they needed: a “fast-track” permit application and a packet of photographs taken by an instant camera. After eight hours, she met with a man, whose name she didn't get.

She says that she still vividly recalls their exchange because it felt like such a crucial moment. The man looked at the photos, noted the minimal damage, and said, “I'm sure you're going to get your renovation permit. Just keep watching the website. Right now, it says that your permit is pending.”

“But it will change?” Kellye asked.

“Yes,” he said, confidently.

As she left, she felt a pang of worry and turned around to address him one more time. “Do you swear on a stack of Bibles that you're going to do this and that it's going to work?” she said.

“I promise you,” he said.

They headed back to South Carolina and Kellye, a school teacher, watched the city website whenever she could.

“I refreshed the screen 20 times a day,” she said. “Anytime I had a break, I'd walk to my computer and refresh the screen.”

Two weeks passed. Then two months. Their permit was still pending. She'd memorized the number to the permits office in City Hall but never got beyond the voicemail that said “Your message is very important to us.” She left message after message but no one ever responded.

In late 2006, she became pregnant with their daughter, Eleanor. She wanted to drive to City Hall herself, but physical complications made that too dangerous. So she checked the City Hall website, but only about two or three times a week.

A contractor who lived around the corner from their bungalow kept the windows boarded and the lawn mowed. He was ready to repair the roof, windows, floors, then get the electricity back on.

But in May 2007 the city's Law Department contended in court that it sent a demolition letter to Greg Voigt, spurred by a city report that showed — paradoxically and erroneously — no structural damage to the home but estimated 100 percent damage.

City attorney files entered into court records note that on May 15, 2007, a letter was issued to a Gregory Voigt, officially notifying him of its intention to demolish or haul away property located at 5537 Franklin and giving him 30 days to object. On May 17, 18, and 21, the city published a notice in The Times-Picayune of its intent to demolish the building.

The Voigts say that they never got a letter. They never saw the notices in the newspaper.

Instead, Greg got a call in late May from his contractor neighbor saying, “Greg, they are tearing down your house.”

The contractor tried to talk to the crew, to say that he was working on the house. But they shrugged their shoulders and said that they had to follow their demolition order, the contractor explained to Greg.

Greg realized that even if a lawyer friend of his ran to court and received a restraining order, the house would be gone by the time the order was delivered to the site. He came home in the middle of the day and told Kellye that the house had been torn down by city bulldozers.

She said, “No. The permit is still pending.”

He shook his head.

So she took a screenshot of the pending status, got on the phone and dialed numbers in City Hall until someone answered.

“I am so upset, I could probably lose this baby,” she said, explaining her situation.

Finally, someone transferred her to a person who said, “We served you notice. You never responded, so we tore it down. It was a hazard.”

Within an hour, the status of their permit finally changed: “Denied.”

Hope turned to despair in kickback scheme

July 31, 2007 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 19, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

Hundreds of properties should have been stabilized under city-run NOAH program

Of the tens of thousands of New Orleans households displaced by Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent flooding, some of the most vulnerable homeowners were the poor and elderly. Many didn't have property insurance and weren't able to immediately re-occupy the houses they had called home.

A beacon of hope seemed to shine for such homeowners in January 2006: a quasi-city agency called New Orleans Affordable Homeownership. Under the program, the administration of then-mayor Ray Nagin hired private contractors to stabilize houses damaged by the storm.

Using federal and city funds, workers were supposed to gut and board the houses and maintain the land around them. The idea was to take houses that had promise of remediation — those that weren't so devastated they needed to be torn down — and leave them in such a condition that their owners could eventually finish renovations.

In early 2007, Nagin touted the program as a way to clear the city's blight. But that same year, New Orleans City Council members and journalists started noticing problems with the program. It appeared that houses weren't fixed — or weren't there.

Take for example a house in the city's 7th Ward, an area that had “substantial damage” to property and an average of three to four feet of flooding after Katrina.

New Orleans Affordable Homeownership claimed that it put more than $4,000 into the double shotgun home at 2316 New Orleans St. But more than 18 months into the program, it didn't look like any work had been done at all.

A photograph taken in August 2007 shows one of the home's two front doors hanging off its hinges. Broken glass can be seen in two transom windows. Another window isn't boarded at all, and vines grow from an unruly lawn, winding up the railing of a staircase on the front porch.

What's more baffling is that the house appeared on two lists — one earmarked for federal money for remediation, and another for demolition because it was deemed too damaged for repair.

"The program may not be legitimate," then-blogger and future Lens founder Karen Gadbois told a local television station in 2008 after investigating about 100 of the properties. "I wanted to see this program work, and I didn't see it."

The house was demolished in 2008, meaning that the city said it used federal funds to stabilize it, and then the government paid for the same house to be torn down.

Gadbois wasn't the only one to find startling inconsistencies. City Councilwoman Stacy Head found homes on the NOAH list that were owned by limited liability corporations or charities, rather than by the elderly or the poor. WWL-TV, which partnered with Gadbois, found the same thing.

One example was a Willow Street house Uptown, owned by Orleans Metropolitan Housing and Community Development, a charity connected to then-U.S. Rep. William Jefferson.

In other cases, the houses didn't exist at all. Such seemed to be the case with a property in the 8900 block of Jeannette Street.

“That house has been torn down, over there,” neighbor Marion Montz told the news station, referring to an empty lot where the NOAH house was supposed to be. “Way before the storm.”

There were dozens of other examples. Media attention eventually prompted a federal investigation. The program was shut down, for the most part.

All in all, the $3.6 million program claimed to have remediated more than 850 houses. Contractors were paid more than $1.8 million from city funds.

After more than three years of investigation, federal prosecutors in 2012 charged four contractors and a city official with stealing some of those funds. The four contractors pleaded guilty, while a special-projects coordinator entered a pretrial diversion program after striking a plea deal.

A year later, former NOAH director Stacey Jackson also was charged. She ultimately was sentenced to five years in prison. She admitted to taking kickbacks from the contractors she paid with public money, even though she knew they didn't do the work.

The scandal, which soiled Nagin's reputation during his second term as mayor, also stained the story of the city's already troubled recovery.

"This one story was, for me, emblematic of the dysfunction of the recovery and the city's engagement in the recovery,” Gadbois said, “because this was a first step into putting resources into our housing stock."

Historic African-American theater lost to the ages

1980 Rene Brunet Collection

Aug. 23, 2015 Della Hasselle

Once a focal point for the community, site now holds beauty supply store

When Lee Blunter was a little girl, she didn't have babysitters after school. Her parents would send her down the street from her father's tire shop on Claiborne Avenue, where a man named August Gallo owned a movie theater.

“My father was friends with the man, Mr. Gallo, and he would just let me in and hand me a bag of popcorn,” Blunter said recently, recalling a tight-knit community anchored by the theater. “It was a different time then.”

The Gallo Theater opened on June 8, 1946. It served Uptown during a heyday of movie houses in New Orleans, when theaters populated nearly every neighborhood in the city.

Shortly before World War II, New Orleans had more than 50 movie theaters. Slowly, they started to disappear, and when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, only a fraction of the historic buildings that once housed these theaters remained. The old Gallo Theater was one of them.

Now it, too, is gone, a victim of widespread demolition throughout New Orleans as politicians and business owners tried to reimagine a city devastated by floodwaters and other Katrina-related damage.

The Gallo and six other theaters “stand as symbols of a time before television, when entertainment for the American public meant going to a vaudeville show or Hollywood movie,” the Louisiana Landmarks Society wrote in 2007.

Threatened by neglect and “architectural disintegration,” worsened by Katrina-related damage, the Louisiana Landmarks Society suggested they could be saved by state legislation known as Broadway South. The program gave tax credits to performing arts industry and theater owners for renovation.

But by the time the society had published its recommendation, it was already too late for the Gallo. The historic building had been razed.

The building suffered a fire after Hurricane Katrina. But according to New Orleans historian and movie theater expert Jack Stewart, the damage was relatively minimal, and the building should have been preserved.

“It was very upsetting,” Stewart said. “It really just needed a new roof and some work inside.”

Stewart described a building with a long, thin marquee. A scroll detail above once featured a flowing neon green pattern that lit the area at night.

Stewart had researched the Gallo for “There's One in Your Neighborhood: The Lost Movie Theaters of New Orleans.” Co-written by movie theater operator Rene Brunet Jr., the book chronicles the history of more than 100 neighborhood theaters.

When it opened, the Gallo was a “strictly colored” theater, during a time when most public places were still segregated, they wrote. At its zenith in the late 1940s and early 1950s, it was the premier Uptown New Orleans theater for African-American residents.

It hosted live bands and other attractions, according to Stewart. Trumpeter, composer and producer Dave Bartholomew used to perform there, as did New Orleans musician Fats Domino.

The theater, designed by well-known architects Frank M. Stone and Sam P. Stone, changed hands several times. In its last incarnation as a movie theater, it was owned by Brunet, who bought the building in 1975.

In the 1980s, the movie theater business declined in New Orleans, and Brunet leased the building. The last day of operation as a movie theater was Dec. 25, 1985. It reopened as a Cash America pawnshop in 1990, which was still there when Katrina hit in 2005.

In the immediate years following the storm, Stewart talked to people about how to bring back the splendor to an area that had fallen into disrepair.

Residents wanted to bring back the theater and make it a centerpiece of Claiborne Avenue as a way to remake Central City. Stewart said the building could have helped beautify the neighborhood as part of a revitalization that included more historic preservation and less strip malls or corporate development.

But it had been a long time since the building was a theater, and those in charge of doling out demolitions apparently didn't know that it had been declared a landmark.

Nor did the owners who filed for demolition alert the city's regulatory agency for such matters, the Historic District Landmarks Commission.

In April 2007, the building was sold for $170,000 to Brothers Property I, Inc. By June, a demolition permit had been filed. The company cited hurricane damage to the “vacant commercial building.”

In violation of historic landmark status, the demolition was approved by Department of Safety and Permits, and the old theater was torn down by July.

It has been replaced by a strip mall, anchored by Queens Beauty Supply. According to city records, the land and building are owned by Uptown Plaza, LLC, and the total property is worth more than $700,000.

Stewart described the building's changes as “especially tragic.”

“It had a lot of things going for it,” he said about the old theater. “It was designed by a family of famous architects. It had a history of music. It was a good building.”

1001 Octavia St.

Jan. 20, 2008 Karen Gadbois

This was the former caretaker cottage on the grounds of the Benjamin Franklin Elementary School.

Aug. 18, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

1215 Feliciana St.

March 3, 2008 The Historic New Orleans Collection, gift of FEMA

Aug. 14, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

1231-33 Piety St.

July 30, 2007 T. Hahn/FEMA

These former residential properties are now being used as a parking lot for the Greater Liberty Baptist Church.

Aug. 14, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

1322 Louisa St.

July 30, 2007 Karen Gadbois

Since this cemetery caretaker cottage was demolished, the vacant lot has been used as a staging area for the cemetery.

Aug. 14, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

1405 Frenchmen St.

May 26, 2008 Karen Gadbois

Aug. 14, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

1435 Elysian Fields Ave.

Jan. 11, 2007 The Historic New Orleans Collection, gift of FEMA

Aug. 14, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

1521 Franklin Ave.

Dec. 12, 2007 Karen Gadbois

What used to be a home is now a part of a service station.

Aug. 14, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

1526-28 St. Ann St.

Nov. 13, 2008 The Historic New Orleans Collection, gift of FEMA

Aug. 15, 2015 Weenta Girmay

1602 N. Dupre St.

Aug. 16, 2007 Karen Gadbois

This property has accumulated more than $65,000 in unpaid taxes.

Aug. 15, 2015 Weenta Girmay

1619 Mazant St.

May 14, 2008 Karen Gadbois

Aug. 14, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

1700 Touro St.

April 11, 2008 The Historic New Orleans Collection, gift of FEMA

This property has over $1,600 in code and tax liens.

Aug. 14, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

1732 Marais St.

April 1, 2008 The Historic New Orleans Collection, gift of FEMA

Aug. 14, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

1732 St. Anthony St.

Feb. 23, 2009 Karen Gadbois

Aug. 14, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

1817 Arts St.

Jan. 9, 2007 The Historic New Orleans Collection, gift of FEMA

Aug. 14, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

1817 N. Robertson St.

June 12, 2008 Karen Gadbois

Aug. 14, 2015 Weenta Girmay

1819 Port St.

Sept. 28, 2008 Karen Gadbois

Aug. 14, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

1858 N. Miro St.

Feb. 23, 2009 Karen Gadbois

The owner of this property faces more than $21,000 in liens, including one for the cost of demolition.

Aug. 15, 2015 Weenta Girmay

1917 Franklin Ave.

Dec. 12, 2007 Karen Gadbois

Aug. 15, 2015 Weenta Girmay

2011 S. Dupre St.

Jan. 9, 2007 Karen Gadbois

Aug. 16, 2015 Weenta Girmay

2014 St. Andrew St.

April 30, 2008 Karen Gadbois

Aug. 9, 2015 Della Hasselle

2020 General Taylor St.

June 13, 2008 Karen Gadbois

Aug. 16, 2015 Weenta Girmay

2020 Port St.

May 29, 2008 Karen Gadbois

Aug. 14, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

2032 Independence St.

Nov. 2, 2008 Karen Gadbois

This vacant property has rung up more than $1,700 in liens.

Aug. 14, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

2109 Alvar St.

Oct. 12, 2008 Karen Gadbois

Aug. 14, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

2119 Painters St.

July 16, 2008 Karen Gadbois

This property has $1,578 in code-enforcement liens.

Aug. 14, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

2132 Pauline St.

May 13, 2008 Karen Gadbois

There are liens totaling $17,000 for tax and code enforcement problems on this property.

Aug. 14, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

221-23 N. Bernadotte St.

July 20, 2007 Karen Gadbois

Aug. 14, 2015 Weenta Girmay

2229 Josephine St.

Oct. 28, 2008 Karen Gadbois

More than $8,300 in fines and fees have been placed on this property.

Aug. 24, 2015 Della Hasselle

223-25 S. White St.

June 4, 2008 Karen Gadbois

Aug. 13, 2015 Weenta Girmay

227 S. White St.

June 4, 2008 Karen Gadbois

Aug. 13, 2015 Weenta Girmay

2301 Palmyra St.

July 29, 2007 Karen Gadbois

This property was demolished to make way for the new Veterans Administration hospital.

Aug. 15, 2015 Weenta Girmay

2306 N. Roman St.

June 12, 2008 Karen Gadbois

The city has filed $2,500 in liens on this property.

Aug. 22, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

2308 Sixth St.

June 4, 2008 Karen Gadbois

Aug. 9, 2015 Della Hasselle

2314 S. Johnson St.

June 13, 2008 Karen Gadbois

The owner of this property has $10,000 in unpaid taxes owed to the city.

Aug. 16, 2015 Weenta Girmay

2320 New Orleans St.

May 14, 2008 Karen Gadbois

Aug. 15, 2015 Weenta Girmay

2321 Thalia St.

Nov. 17, 2008 Karen Gadbois

The was the site of the Four Freedoms Building of the Union Bethel AME church.

Aug. 24, 2015 Della Hasselle

2327 Palmyra St.

July 29, 2007 Karen Gadbois

This property was demolished to make way for the Veterans Administration hospital.

Aug. 15, 2015 Weenta Girmay

2336 Josephine St.

Oct. 28, 2008 Karen Gadbois

Aug. 9, 2015 Della Hasselle

2352-54 N. Roman St.

June 5, 2007 Karen Gadbois

Aug. 22, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

2358 N. Claiborne Ave.

June 12, 2008 Karen Gadbois

Aug. 14, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

236-38 S. Solomon St.

Oct. 3, 2006 The Historic New Orleans Collection, gift of FEMA

Aug. 14, 2015 Weenta Girmay

2401 Danneel St.

Nov. 15, 2008 Karen Gadbois

Aug. 9, 2015 Della Hasselle

2420 Pauger St.

May 26, 2008 Karen Gadbois

Aug. 14, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

2420-22 Cambronne St.

July 6, 2008 Karen Gadbois

This property is owned by the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, and it's now being used as a garden.

Aug. 17, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

2421-23 Music St.

Dec. 30, 2007 Karen Gadbois

The unpaid taxes on this property go back to 2005 and total more than $11,000 to the city.

Aug. 14, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

2426 Louisiana Ave.

Aug. 22, 2007 The Historic New Orleans Collection, gift of FEMA

The owner of this property owes $2,500 in unpaid taxes.

Aug. 9, 2015 Della Hasselle

2440 Delachaise St.

Nov. 1, 2008 Karen Gadbois

Aug. 24, 2015 Della Hasselle

2501 Freret St.

June 4, 2008 Karen Gadbois

Aug. 24, 2015 Della Hasselle

2516-18 Acacia St.

Oct. 30, 2008 The Historic New Orleans Collection, gift of FEMA

This property has health and tax liens dating back to 2003 totaling over $8,200.

Aug. 19, 2015 Weenta Girmay

2523 General Ogden St.

Aug. 18, 2006 Karen Gadbois

Aug. 22, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

2550 N. Prieur St.

Nov. 2, 2008 FEMA J. Cramer/M.Wilder

Aug. 17, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

2622 Gladiolus St.

Nov. 15, 2007 Karen Gadbois

Aug. 19, 2015 Weenta Girmay

2677 New Orleans St.

Sept. 28, 2008 Karen Gadbois

This property has tax leins dating back to 1985 as well as code violations, all totaling more than $135,000.

Aug. 15, 2015 Weenta Girmay

2919 Monroe St.

Sept. 13, 2008 Karen Gadbois

Aug. 18,2015 Kevin Mercadel

2922 Dryades St.

Nov. 2, 2008 Karen Gadbois

The owner of this property owes $3,189.00 in unpaid taxes.

Aug. 9, 2015 Della Hasselle

2923 First St.

Nov. 15, 2008 Karen Gadbois

This property is owned by the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority.

Aug. 16, 2015 Weenta Girmay

2927 St. Claude Ave.

Sept. 28, 2008 Karen Gadbois

Unpaid taxes and code enforcement liens total over $20,000 on this property.

Aug. 14, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

3114 Iberville St.

Aug. 19, 2007 Karen Gadbois

This house was the last building standing in a block that had seen widespread demolition before Katrina.

Aug. 13, 2015 Weenta Girmay

3129 Palmyra St.

Nov. 23, 2006 Karen Gadbois

This former corner store is now a lot being used to stage construction equipment.

Aug. 13, 2015 Weenta Girmay

3215 Derby Place

Aug. 18, 2007 Karen Gadbois

This former home's lot is now used as a side yard.

Aug. 15, 2015 Weenta Girmay

3225 Bienville St.

May 27, 2008 Karen Gadbois

Aug. 15, 2015 Weenta Girmay

3239 Vincennes Place

Oct. 11, 2008 Karen Gadbois

Aug. 18, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

331-333 S. Cortez St.

July 27, 2007 Karen Gadbois

A demolition lien on this property as well as past-due taxes and code violations brings the amount owed to the city to more than $36,000.

Aug. 14, 2015 Weenta Girmay

3501 Broadway St.

Oct. 3, 2007 Karen Gadbois

Aug. 17, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

3601 Prytania St.

May, 30 2006 Karen Gadbois

This property was torn down on Thanksgiving Day in 2006 with an emergency permit issued by the city with no historic review.

Aug. 15, 2015 Weenta Girmay

4132 Banks St.

Nov. 6, 2006 Karen Gadbois

This former school building and four other structures were demolished to make a parking lot.

Aug. 15, 2015 Weenta Girmay

432-34 S. Scott St.

May 2008 The Historic New Orleans Collection, gift of FEMA

Aug. 14, 2015 Weenta Girmay

459 Jackson Ave.

April 9, 2008 Karen Gadbois

A new senior center has gone up on this site.

Aug. 18 2015 Weenta Girmay

5315 Painters St.

Dec. 5, 2006 Karen Gadbois

Aug. 17, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

5400 Urqurhart St.

Sept. 28, 2008 Karen Gadbois

Aug. 17, 2015 Weenta Girmay

730 Delery St.

March 17, 2008 The Historic New Orleans Collection, gift of FEMA

Aug. 17, 2015 Weenta Girmay

813-15 N. Galvez St.

March 2008 The Historic New Orleans Collection, gift of FEMA

Aug. 22, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

838-40 Belleville St.

April 10, 2008 The Historic New Orleans Collection, gift of FEMA

This former corner store is now vacant lot and has tax and code enforcement issues dating back to 1994, totaling more than $31,000.

Aug. 21, 2015 Weenta Girmay

8525 Apricot St.

Dec. 12, 2006 Karen Gadbois

Aug. 19, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

911 Moss St.

Sept. 24, 2007 Karen Gadbois

This property was demolished under an emergency permit.

Aug. 14, 2015 Weenta Girmay

2024 Seventh St.

June/July 2007 A. McCarthy/FEMA

This new construction project has apparently stalled.

Aug. 16, 2015 Weenta Girmay

1619 S. Liberty St.

Jan. 27, 2009 A. Seward/FEMA

Aug. 16, 2015 Weenta Girmay

1315 Spain St.

Sept. 23, 2008 E. Amisson and S. Jones/FEMA

It appears that the next-door neighbor has captured some of this lot, on which tax and code enforcement costs total nearly $26,000.

Aug. 15, 2015 Weenta Girmay

3430 Franklin Ave.

June 26, 2007 T. Hahn/FEMA

Aug. 17, 2015 Weenta Girmay

5442 Hawthorne Place

Sept. 22, 2008 E. Amisson and S. Jones/FEMA

This property was sold to the Road Home and then to a construction company in February of 2012.

Aug. 19, 2015 Weenta Girmay

2500 Tulane Ave.

April 2, 2008 B. Badinger/FEMA

Aug. 15, 2015 Weenta Girmay

738 Voisin St.

Jan. 11, 2007 T. Hahn/FEMA

Aug. 19, 2015 Weenta Girmay

4143 Ulloa St.

Aug. 2, 2007 T. Hahn/FEMA

Aug. 14, 2015 Weenta Girmay

2712 Verbena St.

Oct. 28, 2008 J. Cramer and M. Wilder/FEMA

This property has unpaid taxes and code enforcemnt leins totaling over $24,000.

Aug. 19, 2015 Weenta Girmay

712 S. Salcedo St.

June 27, 2007 A. McCarthy/FEMA

Aug. 14, 2015 Weenta Girmay

1422-24 Music St.

March 3, 2008 The Historic New Orleans Collection, gift of FEMA

This property has nearly $25,000 in unpaid taxes and health liens.

Aug. 14, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

6132 Hayne Blvd.

Dec. 6, 2007 City of New Orleans/FEMA

This former residential property is now a church parking lot.

Aug. 18, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

6207 Law St.

March 15, 2007 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 19, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

2540 Tricou St.

Dec. 20, 2005 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 17, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

2643 Tricou St.

Dec. 20, 2005 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 17, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

6422 Urville St.

Jan. 31, 2007 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 17, 2015 Weenta Girmay

1326 St. Maurice Ave.

May 8, 2007 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 17, 2015 Weenta Girmay

6333-35 St. Claude Ave.

Oct. 30, 2008 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 17, 2015 Weenta Girmay

3184 Sabine St.

March 21, 2007 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 22, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

501 Newton St.

Oct. 28, 2008 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 21, 2015 Weenta Girmay

1022 Vallette St.

Oct. 17, 2007 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 21, 2015 Weenta Girmay

229 Wagner St.

Dec. 4, 2007 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 21, 2015 Weenta Girmay

1613 Eliza St.

Dec. 4, 2007 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Unpaid taxes and liens reach past $5,600 on this property.

Aug. 21, 2015 Weenta Girmay

6225 Mandeville St.

June 7, 2007 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 19, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

5700 Press Dr.

June 7, 2007 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 17, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

7911 Flounder St.

June 6, 2007 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 18, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

6753 Manchester St.

June 6, 2007 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 18, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

5652 Press Dr.

July 13, 2007 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 17, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

4016 Athis Court

June 7, 2007 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 17, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

5638 Pauline Dr.

Sept. 24, 2008 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 19, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

6011 Congress Dr.

July 8, 2008 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 19, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

2442 Vienna St.

April 5, 2007 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 17, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

5905 Painters St.

Oct. 15, 2007 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 19, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

8436 Palm St.

June 6, 2006 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 19, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

3830 Joliet St.

May 2, 2007 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 19, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

5523 Woodlawn Place

June 12, 2007 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 19, 2015 Weenta Girmay

5611 West End Blvd.

Sept. 24, 2008 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 25, 2015 Weenta Girmay

5648 Catina St.

June 7, 2007 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 19, 2015 Weenta Girmay

284 W. Robert E Lee Blvd.

July 31, 2007 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 19, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

6814 Bellaire Dr.

Feb. 20, 2006 City of New Orleans/FEMA

This property is now owned by the Orleans Parish Levee Board.

Aug. 18, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

2 Swan St.

Sept. 24, 2008 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 18, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

55 Flamingo St.

July 31, 2007 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 18, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

49 Dove St.

May 2, 2007 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 18, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

2220 Forstall St.

July 20, 2007 City of New Orleans/FEMA

This property has $3,500 in liens and unpaid taxes.

Aug. 17, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

2211 Lizardi St.

March 15, 2007 City of New Orleans/FEMA

More than $3,000 is owed in taxes and liens on this property.

Aug. 17, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

1707 Tennessee St.

Feb. 1, 2006 City of New Orleans/FEMA

This became one of the many Make It Right houses in the Lower 9th Ward.

Aug. 17, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

1700 Tennessee St.

Feb. 1, 2006 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 17, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

6854 Louis XIV St.

March 22, 2007 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 18, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

502 Chapelle St.

June 12, 2007 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 22, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

6818 Louisville St.

May 1, 2007 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 18, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

7810 Masefield St.

June 6, 2007 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 18, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

1716 S. Gayoso St.

June 7, 2007 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 19, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

5127 E. Nemours St.

Nov. 30, 2007 City of New Orleans/FEMA

This property is now owned by the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority.

Aug. 18, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

7931 Mullet St.

June 6, 2007 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 18, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

6943 E. Laverne St.

Aug. 1, 2007 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 18, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

1646 Florida Ave.

July 31, 2007 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 19, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

2542 Benton St.

March 16, 2007 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 19, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

6601 Stars and Stripes Blvd.

June 8, 2007 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 18, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

3539 Hamburg St.

July 3, 2007 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 19, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

2440 Winthrop St.

Feb. 10, 2006 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 20, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

6027 Arts St.

May 3, 2007 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 19, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

2261 Pressburg St.

April 5, 2007 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 19, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

1688 Florida Ave.

July 31, 2007 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 19, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

7910 Mayo Blvd.

March 3, 2008 City of New Orleans/FEMA

Aug. 18, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

2405 Jourdan Ave.

July 30, 2006 Steve Beatty

This home was near the breach at the lake end of the Lower 9th Ward, and it faced the floodwall across the street. It's among dozens that have been flagged by the city as facing fines or other action for being overgrown.

Aug. 18, 2015 Steve Beatty

2114 Tennessee St.

July 30, 2006 Steve Beatty

Most people surveying the Lower 9th Ward devastation took a similar picture to this, just two blocks from the collapsed floodwall.

Aug. 18, 2015 Steve Beatty

2329 Deslonde St.

July 30, 2006 Steve Beatty

Aug. 18, 2015 Steve Beatty

6951 General Diaz St.

Nov. 6, 2006 Nancy Hebert

Aug. 24, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

6949 General Diaz St.

Sept. 21, 2005 Nancy Hebert

Aug. 24, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

4651 Western St.

Sept. 21, 2005 Nancy Hebert

The owners of this house bought the lot next door, and the new house straddles the old property line.

Aug. 24, 2015 Kevin Mercadel

6115-17 Burgundy St.

Jan. 10, 2007 Karen Gadbois

All but the facade was demolished here in 2007. A permit for demolition was issued only in 2009. The property has just over $1,000 in liens for unpaid property taxes.

Aug. 26, 2015 Karen Gadbois