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8525 Apricot Street

We asked why it was being torn down BEFORE it was permitted. The permit was dated Dec.1 and torn down on Dec 12……

This house is 2 blocks from mine.
As you can see the City Damage assesment stated it had recieved 17 percent damage. The owner requested a FEMA demolition, and this morning FEMA contractors were out there demolishing this house.

Why were Federal Funds used to pay for this demolition?

How was it able to slip by unnoticed when it is in an HCDRC Neighborhood.

Who is asleep at the wheel?

8525 Apricot Street

This house is in great condition in a highly repopulated area between Carrollton Ave. and Leonides Street

8525 Apricot Street

I was able to peek inside and see that the house had been gutted and with very little effort could be put to use as a home.

interior 8525-23 Apricot

Today Dec 12, 2006


Address: 8525 Apricot St
Owner: Sheila Wilson
Tax Bill: 716326905
Property Description: Sq 410 Lots C & D Apricot 60 X 120 8523-25 Apricot St
Planning District: Uptown and Carrollton
Flood Zone: A3
Damage Assessment
Estimated Flood Depth: 2.5
Flood Duration (days): 10
Damage Report: 17.68%

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About Karen Gadbois

Karen Gadbois co-founded The Lens. She now covers New Orleans government issues and writes about land use. With television reporter Lee Zurik she exposed widespread misuse of city recovery funds and led to guilty pleas in federal court. Her work attracted some of journalism's highest honors, including a Peabody Award, an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award and a gold medal from Investigative Reporters and Editors. She can be reached at (504) 606-6013.

  • debi

    I don’t get it..this house was in great shape and prime for a first time home owner…both the current home owner and the folks in charge of allowing the demolition should be held very accountable for this…this is the usual ambiguity that we lived with before “IT”…what happened??? This house did not need to be demolished. why didn’t the homeowner have the guts to just sell…better yet, why didn’t it get denied!!!

  • randall fox

    the house is not only in an hcdrc neighborhood but a national historic district as well. was it approved by the hcdrc or did fema take the matter into their own hands.

  • It never went before the HCDRC. Somewhere between FEMA and the City it happened.

  • Only 17.68% damaged? I don’t even know what to say. What could possibly go in its place that would cost less than restoration?

  • randall fox

    a cardboard box. lol

  • Laura

    And yet there are houses with more damage that have been on the waiting list since last year with no historical significance whatsoever. Someone could have easily lived in that house. Are there no guidelines? No common sense? Wait. What am I saying. Never mind. Answered my own question.

  • Shawn

    Truly bitter.
    The family or individual that owns the propery may have had excellent reasons for having the house torn down. Anything from unseen termite damage to a need to rid themselves of the building. I agrre that this is probably a building that could have been saved, but personal property rights are a cornerstone of Western civilization. This is like tackling smoke.

    Was there a failure of some agency to protect this building, legally?

  • Our question is why was due process not followed? This is house is in an HCDRC district and was not reviewed. FEDERAL funds were used to destroy this house, that is a waste of our Recovery money.

    The home owner told Neighbors she plans on putting in an Apartment Complex…

  • Beth

    Another case of prefering to ask forgiveness rather than ask for permission – knowing it probably would be denied.

  • Mario

    I live in the 8200 block of Apricot and called the city for years to do something about an abandoned/blighted house across the street from me. I had to wait for Katrina to blow it down. I would have been honored to look out of my front door at the house that was demo’ed. Maybe the owner would have kept it if it had aluminum windows and a plastic door. I hope she is ready for a good fight. I’m thinking more like victory garden. My heart is sick.

  • randall fox

    Shawn in Europe there are many restrictions in demolishing buildings Europe is western civilization. if you ever been to Europe like I have you would see that there is so much more culture there than this country. shawn get your butt of the property rights soapbox now. That is the whole point of the hcdrc and hdlc so that no one can tear a house down if they feel like it. The house may belong to the person but the beauty and history of the house belong to everyone, that outweighs that single property owner in my opinion.

  • Don

    Randall Fox:

    That is one reason that I have fought attempts to have my neighborhood rolled into any HD. When bunch of busybodies gets to decide that thier opinion of the best use of my house, or what modifications I can make to it or even what color I can paint it is more important than my opinion something is very wrong. It belongs to me though you are permitted to enjoy or not enjoy how it looks from a distance.

    If you think that the culture of Europe is so important then consider moving there. This isn’t Europe and I will resist efforts to turn it into Europe.

  • Perhaps you have resisted a Historic District Designation as a way to protect your rights to modify your property, but i would suggest that you glance at Zoning as an issue rather than target Historic Busy Bodies as you call them.

    In this instance I question the use of Federal Taxpayers $$ to demolish private property. The Homeowner may have the right to demolish, but I see no reason to pay for it.

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  • randall fox

    Don, I don’t know what historic district designation you are talking about. National historic district designation offers tax benefits but not any real protection over demolition or exterior changes to the house. New Orleans has over 20 national historic districts. The historic district designation you are talking about is probably local historic district status which is controlled by the HDLC. Under the HDLC there are two different types of district status. The first is partial control and the HDLC only controls demolition request and demolitions by neglect. The second type is full control where the HDLC controls things like paint colors, windows, doors, fences, siding on the Front of the house, and other things. The HDLC is not out to get you don many times they approve things that look terrible like siding or windows or paint colors. The PRC has even complained about some of the things the HDLC approves on houses. I am probably wasting your time because you obviously know all this. I was talking about demolitions and you started to on me about paint colors, windows, and other unrelated things.

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