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Flooded and abandoned houses in Denham Springs left behind during pandemic

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DENHAM SPRINGS - COVID-19 is interfering with a problem left behind years ago by the 2016 flood.

Almost 200 houses were abandoned after being damaged in the high water. Less than 50 are sitting empty.

"The city needs to do something," Michael Avant said.

Avant lives on a street off River Road in Denham Springs that has only nine houses. Five of the houses were abandoned after being heavily damaged in the flood.

"They are blighted they attract vermin. So far we haven't had anybody try to live in them," Avant said.

City officials are aware of the problem, but dealing with blighted property is complicated process.

"Before the flood, it was difficult to deal with these houses. Coming out of the flood, it seems it's even been harder," said Rick Foster, a supervisor with the Building Department. 

The city has to go before a housing board before they can take any action on abandoned properties, but the board couldn't meet for months because of COVID-19.

"We didn't want to have those meeting via zoom. We need to have them face to face,
We finally have resumed those meetings, Foster said.

The homeowners and the city would like FEMA to buy out the houses, tear them down and turn the lots into green space or a park.


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