Squandered Heritage Vintage

In Memory

4666 St. Roch

The day I drove into the driveway to tell this homeowner her house was on the Imminent Health Threat demolition list her family was busy moving her furniture out. They had been told that the house was listed in the paper for demolition and that it had been broken into [we later found out that the Corp was kicking in the doors]

Her niece sent me this story about her Aunt Alta who owned the house and had stayed behind for the storm and subsequent flood.

Here is Alta’s Story
recorded with the I10 Witness Project

Alta Reinhardt Pierce built the house at 4666 St. Roch 76 years ago. This has been her only home until Katrina hit. Alta would not evacuate the city with us and remained through the storm. She sat on her porch and watched the water rise. At the time of the storm Alta was 95 years old. Luckily her neighbor remained during the storm and saw that she was by herself. Karen {her Neighbor} swam to Alta’s house and waved down a boat. The boat took them to the Louisa Exit where they waited on I-10 for 5 days. I should mention here that Alta suffers from congestive heart failure; it was through the grace of god that she did not perish. They walked from I-10 at Louisa to I-10 and Elysian Fields where they were finally picked up. She was evacuated to Hunstville, Houston where we picked her up and brought her to Geismer, Louisiana where we were staying with some friends. She has since moved into an Independent Living Community.

We tried to get this house off the list, and would check in with the family from time to time. Late in August Alta passed away.

Alta Reinhardt Pierce
August 02, 1910 – August 20, 2007
Alta R. Pierce, nee Alta Irene Reinhardt, died on Monday, August 20, 2007 at the age of 97.
Wife of the late Dr. Merwin T. Pierce. Preceded in death by her parents, Louis J. Reinhardt and Amy Battalora Reinhardt, and her brother Milton A. Reinhardt. She is survived by her nephew and his wife, Robert M. and Shirley M. Reinhardt; two grandnieces, Pamela S. Reinhardt, Courtney Reinhardt Rive’ (John Sanford Rive’, Jr.); and one great niece and one great nephew, Gabrielle Volaire Rive’ and John Sanford Rive’, III.
Alta was retired from the USDA Commodity Credit Corporation and was a resident of Poydras Home since Hurricane Katrina.

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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 for Squandered Heritage. For her work with television reporter Lee Zurik exposing widespread misuse of city recovery funds — which led to guilty pleas in federal court — Gadbois won some of the highest honors in journalism, 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.