Residents evicted from hotel

Published 11:36 am Saturday, October 13, 2012

Remaining tenants at a run down hotel behind the Subway on U.S. Highway 11 have been given until Tuesday to vacate the building.

Boards cover some of the windows and extension cords line the front porch of each unit, where tenants took to selling their personal belongings to earn enough money to find a new place to stay.

Jessica Hebert is one of those tenants. Handicapped by the amputation of part of one leg, she said she and the rest of the tenants at the building have been told by the owner, Chris Happ, to vacate the building. Hebert also claims Happ pulled breakers from the building, causing only one or two outlets per unit to continue to work.

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Hebert has lived there since December of 2011, and during her stay she’s had to deal with a number of issues with her accommodations, including a front door that doesn’t lock, a leaking roof and sinks that don’t drain properly, she said. Several attempts by Hebert to call Happ to get the problems fixed never resulted in repairs, she said.

When asked why she just didn’t move to a new home, she said she is a on a fixed income and can’t afford anywhere else.

“Why do you think we live here, ’cause we like it?” Hebert said. “We live here because we can’t afford to live no where else.”

Sheila Cavanaugh has lived in the building for the past two months, and she has had to deal with break-ins associated with doors that don’t lock. While she didn’t notice anything missing, she did notice her belongings had been rummaged through.

The problem is not new. Larry Trotter said he had a family member living at the hotel about a year and half ago, and who Trotter said suffered electrical shock from the faulty wiring in the building. Trotter was at the hotel Friday afternoon checking on the remaining residents to see if they needed food or water.

Happ said repairs to the building have not been made because rent has not been paid in months. He said he is aware the building needs major repairs, and is considering whether to make those repairs, or just tear the whole thing down. However, before either of those actions can take place, he said he needs all of the tenants out.

There is also the concern about crime associated with the building, Happ said. An earlier story in the Picayune Item states two drug arrests took place at the building earlier this month.