Bathroom ceiling starts falling, wall crumbles in housing unit

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 11, 1999

ERIK SANZENBACH / L’Observateur / August 11, 1999

EDGARD- The St. John Parish Housing Authority suffered another black eyethis week when another bathroom ceiling began to collapse and a wall in the same unit started to crumble.

The irony is this is an apartment that was videotaped by the St. JohnAdvocacy Group , and that tape was sent to the Department of Housing and Urban Development on May 21 as proof that the St. John Housing Authorityis not maintaining public housing. The HUD inspectors looked at this unitduring their July inspection.

Regina Augustus, resident of 121B Edgard Oaks, said she has had problems with leaking water in her bathroom walls for a long time.

The sheetrock of the bathroom walls and over the bathtub are soft and rubbery from leaking water pipes. Plus, the smell of sewage is strong inthe bathroom.

“I’ve been complaining to the housing people since last Saturday a week ago,” complained Augustus.

She said she even talked to Patrena Ester, executive director of the St.

John Parish Housing Authority.

“They finally sent out a maintenance man, and he said he needed a part,” Augustus continued, “but he never came back.”As a result, on Sunday night, a hole appeared in the ceiling over the bathtub, splattering wet sheetrock over the floor, and the wall between the tub and the toilet crumbled, exposing pipes and electrical wiring.

Kalantha Jackson, a member of the St. John Advocacy Group and critic ofthe housing authority, said after they videotaped the same damage in May, and the media took pictures, the housing authority came in and did a quick fix of the problem. According to Jackson, the housing authority patched upthe hole just so it would look good for the HUD inspection in July.

“All they did was put a patch of new sheetrock over the problem,” Jackson said, “But the pipes are still leaking.”Because of the smell, Augustus and Jackson think it is not just the water pipes but the sewer pipes that are leaking. Augustus and her threedaughters have been living in that unit for the past five years, and 14- year-old Deshonta Augustus said they have had problems with the bathroom the entire time.

“It’s always smelled that bad,” said Deshonta.

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