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Letters headed to homeowners in land-limbo in Livingston Parish

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Posted: Oct 11, 2011 10:10 PM by Ashley Rodrigue
Updated: Oct 11, 2011 10:10 PM
Source: WBRZ

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Topics: letters, homeowners, land, Livingston Parish, French Settlement, section 16, school board, district

LIVINGSTON PARISH- Letters, warning of upcoming court action, are on the way to almost 40 homeowners in the French Settlement area.

They're coming from the Livingston Parish School District, which is trying to find out if it is the owner of 145 acres of land the people live on and say they own.

A mistake, 100 years ago, could have started the confusion. The paper trail over ownership of the Section 16 property, originally set aside by the government for schools, is scattered because of a courthouse fire. The school board says it's missed out on royalties from natural resources for decades because of the mix-up.

Now the district is seeking a judge's opinion on who the land belongs to, and the homeowners are being made aware of the move through the mail.

But the homeowners have been doing defense work by researching deeds and titles. They say the paperwork shows decades of sales and purchases of the property, with no action by the district to stop it.

While the homeowners are confident in their case, they're concerned about the cost of losing for others.

"There are plenty of people in this parish that lives on section 16 property, not just in this area and that they own and so if this happens, if they get their way, all these people in the parish that's on section 16 property, they could possibly lose their land too," said Bernie Gourgues.

The attorney representing the board says in a few weeks, following the courtesy letters, he;ll be filing the request for judgement in district court.

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