Notice the Catch 22 of gutting.

Imminent Health Threat Ordinance
Fact Sheet


On February 1, the New Orleans City Council passed Ordinance number 22499 M.C.S. The Ordinance, authored by Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell, amended and reordained Chapter 26 of the Code of the City of New Orleans, to add a new Section designated as Section 26-264, Condemnation of Public Safety and Welfare.

The Ordinance allows the City to demolish or remediate property deemed an imminent health threat 30 business days after the posting of the notice.


According to City Council Ordinance No. 22499, following an inspection of the structure the determination is made on whether or not the property is a “serious and imminent threat to public health, safety and welfare…by reason of being unremediated, ungutted, open to the public, unsafe, unsanitary or conducive to ill health.”


“Any building structure damaged by Hurricanes Katrina and/or Rita or rendered uninhabitable by any Act of God which, upon inspection by the Director of Code Enforcement, or his duly appointed representative, is deemed by him” to meet the definition of Imminent Health Threat.


Following an inspection of the structure during which a determination of a serious and imminent threat to public health, safety and welfare is made, a notice will be provided to the registered owner of the property advising that the structure may be demolished or remediated by the City of New Orleans 30 business days from the date of the posted notice.

The property owner will be notified by:

* Regular mail to the last known address of the registered owner of the property as reflected in the Office of the Registrar of Conveyances for the Parish of Orleans and in the tax rolls of the City of New Orleans
* Posting a notice on the property advising that the property has been found to be in violation of this section of the City Code;
* Posting of the finding on the City’s website; and
* Posting in the Times Picayune for three (3) consecutive days


* The structure is substantially damaged and structurally unsound. Unremediated damages 20 months after the hurricane will compromise the structural integrity of a building.
* Poorly constructed buildings and homes that were built to the minimum building codes and were unable to withstand the effects of the hurricane as well as quality constructed homes.
* Houses built on slabs that are below the base flood elevation and are substantially damaged. It is infeasible to elevate a slab foundation and bring the entire structure up to current code requirements.
* If a building will be structurally compromised by removing the interior wall coverings by gutting, then the building will be considered for demolition.


Homeowners do have the ability to rectify the condemnation, and in order for this to happen they must gut and secure their properties and submit in person proof (photos) that they have gutted and secured the structure. At that time the property will be scheduled for a follow-up inspection to validate remediation claim.


If property owners have any questions about the designation of their condemnation notice or the necessary steps they must take to reverse the demolition condemnation, they may contact the city’s Bureau of Code Enforcement at 504-658-4300 or 504-658-4200.

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...