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Homeless create tent city near downtown Baton Rouge

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Posted: Mar 20, 2012 6:27 PM by Michael Shingleton
Updated: Mar 20, 2012 6:45 PM
Source: WBRZ

  Rating: 5.0 (2 votes)

Topics: homeless, desoto, park, downtown, baton, rouge, Michael, Shingleton, WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - On the banks of the Mississippi River, on the other side of the railroad tracks, and near the Pentagon Barracks, dozens of tents sit hidden inside the brush.

They've been there for months, and the people that call it home say they can't get jobs in order to afford a roof over their heads.

Five minutes from the steps of the State Capitol, dozens of tents dot what used to be the proposed land for the Audubon Alive Project, which was part of Mayor Kip Holden's first and second failed bond proposals.

Down a narrow path, there are bikes, chairs, bags, empty cans, and loads of garbage; most of which looks like empty bottles and food wrappers. At this particular camp, no one was home, but about 100 feet north, a man we will call "Jim", was walking home.

He didn't want to go on camera because he said he was embarrassed, but for seven months, "Jim" has lived in a tent.

"I have no where else to go. I'm making it but it's not real easy."

"Jim" said he moved from Indiana to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. He was gainfully employed up until the end of last summer.

"Without an address and without transportation, it's tough to get unemployment, and even tougher to get a job."

"Jim" said there are roughly 10 people that live in his camp, which is one of many that line the Mississippi River where many wash clothes and even bathe. The camps clear out during the day as most head downtown.

"There's a lot that gives food and places to eat downtown. People are pretty generous. Especially the churches."

"Jim" said he has a cell phone which he charges at the new Town Square in North Boulevard.

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