Residents say shelter closing forced them to sleep in their damaged homes
DENHAM SPRINGS – Sunday afternoon, Marcus Saplut cooked up some burgers and drumsticks on the grill outside his home. His kitchen, along with the rest of his mobile home, was heavily damaged in the flooding. But he is living here anyway.
“It’s like hell over here. We ain’t got nothing,” Saplut said. “We ain’t got no walls, no ceilings, no floors. We’re just making it sleeping in the yard.”
Saplut, his three children and several neighbors are back in their damaged homes in the Magnolia Estates area after they had to leave a Red Cross shelter that closed.
One of Saplut’s neighbors, Russell Guidry said he is sleeping outside on a cot next to his flooded trailer home. Guidry says he’s just thankful that he has water to wash his clothes.
“I don’t mind camping, but this has been a long trip,” Guidry said.
Mary Fischer, who was also living at the same Red Cross shelter, says she is also living in her flood damaged mobile home.
“I had to sleep in there with the stink in the floor,” Fischer said. “You know the Red Cross don’t care where you sleep, where you go and what you do.”
The residents were staying at the shelter located inside the Lockhart Community Center. That shelter closed on Friday.
Residents tell WBRZ that more than 80 people were staying at that location when the Red Cross closed the doors. But the Red Cross disputes that number.
According to the Red Cross, there were only a few people left staying at the shelter, and those residents were given case workers to help them find another place to stay.
“In this particular case, it was the parish that wanted the facility closed,” Vicki Eichstaedt with the American Red Cross said. “The Red Cross supported Livingston Parish in that by helping people find the next place to go.”
For Saplut and his neighbors, the next place to go is right back where they evacuated from: their flood damaged homes.