Public housing

Residents complain that public housing on St. Mary Drive still needs repairs after the hurricane

Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) – Those living in one of Lake Charles’ oldest public housing complexes are complaining about deteriorating living conditions.

Calcasieu Parish Police juror Mike Smith said he heard from residents about a wide range of complaints stemming from hurricane damage.

At the St. Mary Drive public housing complex, many homes are vacant due to hurricane damage. But families live in some of the structures, and now some are complaining of mold, mildew and rats in the walls brought on by the storms.

Smith said he heard from about seven residents.

“You know, we have homes that still have blue tarps — leaky roofs, mold, mildew, rats — all types of rodent infestations,” Smith said. “So we’re trying to fix those things.”

Smith said he was particularly concerned about the children living in the homes.

“Young kids get headaches all day long, you know, they go through a bottle of Tylenol every week to make sure their kids feel a little bit better,” Smith said.

Smith said he is writing to the HUD (US Department of Housing and Urban Development) to make sure this area gets its fair share of money.

Lake Charles Housing manager Ben Taylor said the complex was built in the 1950s on an old mill pond where they floated logs, and he wishes they could tear it down.

But Taylor said they will have to make repairs rather than new construction.

He said they were getting money from insurance and reimbursement funds from FEMA and hoped to see progress in a few months.

Additionally, Taylor said anyone who objects to living there because of the conditions can contact the Housing Authority to receive a Section 8 voucher to live elsewhere.

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