Homeowner Letter

Kellye Voigt // Jan 1, 2008 at 10:26 pm

My house at 5537 Franklin Avenue was demolished without proper notification to me or the mortgage company. Out of 4 notification channels, the city only followed 2 of their 4 channels.

We had been waiting for the city to issue us a renovation permit for almost 18 months. I had called and traveled to the 5th floor of City Hall. I had taken pictures and filled out all correct forms for my permit. As of the day that they knocked my house down, the permit was still “pending.”

My house was a 1945 Gentilly bungalow with double parlor, original floors, the Gentilly tile, and deco molding. It was in no danger of falling down. My contractor drove by, called, and asked why there were bulldozers on the property the morning they tore it down. Before he could reach us, the house was gone.

I was a teacher who only taught at-risk children in New Orleans Public Schools. My husband was a criminal defense attorney. We never made a lot of money in the city, but we felt that we gave to the city whatever we had.

The city gave back to us by perpetrating this horrific crime. That house was a jewel. The 1970’s house next door to my house was zoned for section 8 housing. It has no windows and little chance for renovation. Yet my house is the one that is down.

I cannot return to the city now. I feel such pure fury when I think of my house being torn down. City bulldozers trespassed on my property and tore down my lovely Gentilly bungalow. New Orleans has nothing to do with America anymore. New Orleans is dead to me, and I will not lift a finger to help or give back to it again.