Best of Squandered Heritage Vintage


With all the different lists and acronyms and phases of demolitions we spend a lot of time visiting, and revisiting houses.

In the work we have done we sometimes come in contact with people who need help. One of those people was Miss Dolores.

2827 Conti

She was living alone in a FEMA trailer and had just gutted her house. She had a cell phone but didn’t know how to use it to call the City for debris removal so we called for her. Sarah made the call to 311 and they wouldn’t put in the request cause we didn’t live there. She then called the District Council person to make the request. It was almost comical but not really in the fierce Summer heat with flys buzzing around the fetid pile.

We spent some time with Dolores as she tried to wash and clean her dishes in a bucket outside,we went into her FEMA trailer and she had a stuffed Bear propped up on the bed watching her Daytime stories with her. She told us her husband of 50 years left her while they were evacuated.

Her house was so fragile and worn and it seemed like the City would most certainly tear it down. I wondered how they would deal with Dolores and her needs.

Today I went back by her house and this is what I saw.


The women across the Street told me she died on Christmas Eve and that they had made the shrine out front with her stuffed animals, the FEMA trailer was gone and soon so will the house.

R.I.P. Ms. Dolores


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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.

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  • bobbi

    This makes me so sad. Unfortunately, this is a much too common thing. This has happened to several people in my neighborhood. The stress of waiting for Road Home, while living in a tin can and trying to figure out to fix their house kills them. There are so many more Ms D’s out there. The loss of every Ms D is a loss to the community and the culture. Every loss fragments a struggling delicate social network. It just makes me sad.