Spillway squatters to be evicted

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Many are families who have no other place to go


Managing Editor

NORCO — Huddled under tents and tarps, some in battered travel trailers, they have sought comfort against the cold in the Bonnet Carre Spillway.

However, their camping days are done, according to the St. Charles Parish Parks and Recreation Department, who leases the boat launch area from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Assistant Director Robert Brown said permits are issued, but only for three days at a time. Once that period expires, a seven-day wait is mandated before an applicant can get another three-day permit.

However, in this case, Brown said the squatters will have to move or be moved.

&#8220There’s about 40 setups in the Spillway. They’ve been asked to leave as of this morning,” he said Monday.

On Monday night, hardly anyone had apparently left. Some were still there Tuesday morning.

Elizabeth Felton and her 18-month-old daughter are living in a tent, while her boyfriend and uncle are doing roofing work in New Orleans. She would love a bathroom and place to shower.

In another corner, Robert Goin and his companion, Elizabeth Parent, are both disabled. He had been doing temporary labor but is laid low with illness. &#8220I had come back here with the purpose to help my friends rebuild,” he said. Now, all he can do is try to keep warm and fed.

Originally from Ohio, Goin said, &#8220All I want is a job and a place to park my trailer and a place to bathe.”

Several Norco residents have responded with blankets, toilet tissue and other items. However, the issue may not be money. Roofers are making the money, but there’s no place to live.

Benny Labat had been a LaPlace resident, living in a trailer court. However, when Katrina threatened, he hitched up and drove out. When he returned, there was no more trailer space.

He gets to shower, thanks to the generosity of family, but no one can accommodate his trailer. &#8220I’ve been everywhere from Raceland to Garyville,” he said.

John and Eleanor Stewart likewise lost their LaPlace trailer spot after Katrina. Now, they and several other family members and friends are huddled together near a fallen tree.

&#8220We could’ve gone to a shelter, but they would have divided us up, and we didn’t want that,” Eleanor said.

&#8220We could really use some pots and pans, firewood and battery-operated lamps.”

However, by the time this issue goes to print, they may all be gone – somewhere.