[StBernard] Action Report: Woman's yard torn up on orders from St. Bernard Parish

Westley Annis Westley at da-parish.com
Tue Feb 17 22:23:04 EST 2009

I don't know who she talked to, but they need some lessons in customer
relations. It doesn't sound like they even have any compassion.


-----Original Message-----
Action Report: Woman's yard torn up on orders from St. Bernard Parish

10:32 PM CST on Monday, February 16, 2009

Chad Bower / Eyewitness News

VIOLET, La. - Joy Schilling stands among the studs of her Violet home,
thinking about returning to a neighborhood she loves, giving her 11-year old
son his bedroom back and the three-year struggle to find funds to complete

"I gutted the entire thing myself, then I had a roof put on, then I've had
a soda blast company come in, and do all the soda blasting. I've had all new
windows put in," Schilling said.

So she was stunned to find her front yard torn up and to learn it was the
first step to demolish her home, ordered by the St. Bernard Parish.

"They tore out our water line. I called them and I said exactly what did you
do, and they said we tore out your water lines and your sewer line,"
Schilling said. "They want to demolish my home."

When she called the parish to assure them she has the building permit she
was told to get, and to have the demolition stopped, she says she hit a
brick wall of opposition.

"They tore out the water and sewer and they said if I want it back in, then
I have to put it in at my expense, and they said if you don't like it, go
talk to the city attorney," Schilling said.

She was so angry she was at the end of her rope when she e-mailed the Action
Line, so angry she wasn't sure that the email would even do any good.

But I contacted officials with St. Bernard Parish government, and that
e-mail ended up on the desk of the parish president.

"We removed the house from the demolition list," said Craig Taffaro, the
parish president. "So we stopped all future demolition activity on the

Taffaro said 7,000 homes have been demolished since Hurricane Katrina, and
parish leaders are cracking down on those who are not making full efforts to
complete repairs. But they are giving this situation another look.

"We're reviewing what is going on with the notification process, and if
there was appropriate notification, then we'll deal with that," Taffaro

Taffaro said that if there was no appropriate notification, then the parish
and the contractor are responsible for repairing the damage.

"When he comes in and gets those lines put back in, the water lines and the
sewer lines out back into my house, then I'll be impressed," Schilling said.
"Right now it doesn't pay for me to put another nickel in here until water
and sewer are hooked back up to the house."

I've asked both sides to get together to work this situation out, so we'll
see what happens.

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