City says it can't afford to save or condemn Brandywine
BATON ROUGE - Residents at the derelict Brandywine Apartment complex are on day 3 without power. The Investigative Unit has learned the power may never be turned back on, and the water could be turned off soon too.
The conditions at Brandywine are almost unlivable. People living in the dark, with no air condition, no fans, no refrigerators and no way to cook food indoors.
News 2 found some people who were grilling dinner Friday night. That's a luxury few of the 20 people stranded in the unbelievable situation have. Sharon Simmons says she pays her rent and is frustrated by the situation.
"When you come to them and ask them about the power, they'll beat around the bush talking about they don't know when it's going to be back on," she told News 2's Brett Buffington.
But the power could never come back on. Entergy says it won't consider turning it back on until its paid the $60,000 debt its owed. For that to happen, the complex would have to pass an inspection. Based on the conditions we witnessed Friday, that isn't likely.
The city also says, it's not their problem.
"What it really is, is a civil matter between the parties, and we really don't interfere with those," Chief Administrative Officer William Daniel explains.
He also says the city can't afford to condemn Brandywine. Even if they paid for it, they'd also have to cut the grass.
"In an effort not to become the largest private landscaping company in the parish, we're doing everything we can in trying to get the citizens engaged in some of these issues."
This isn't the first time the complex often described as an eyesore has had issues with utilities. Water was temporarily shutoff in 2013 because the then-owner owed more than $125,000 in back payments for sewer service.
The power was also shutoff at Brandywine in 2009. Then, the company owed more than $120,000.