Families affected by I-49 await decision by department of transportation


August 15, 2007 at 11:28 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Six families who live in mobile homes on private property on Alexander Street in Boutte, could be forced to move if the Louisiana Department of Transportation follows through with a proposal to build a section of Interstate Highway 49 through their land.

An October meeting scheduled by DOTD will determine the final outcome, and the families will know whether or not they will have to relocate.

"The Honor Family has been living on our land for many years and we don't want to relocate," Sharon Honor, speaking on behalf of the families told the Herald-Guide.

An October meeting will be held to determine whether or not the proposed path of I-49, will be approved, with a portion being built on the Honor families property.

In a transcript from a March 25, public hearing held in Hahnville, Sen. Joel Chaisson said, "I'm of the opinion that the state and federal government should go above and beyond to address the concerns, particularly as it relates to the Honor family."

"It is a close knit family of my constituents, family members who all live on the vicinity in what is called the Honor family compound," he stated.

"I think due to the unique character of the compound, that we need to do everything in our power to try to see that, if this route does go through their property, that they are relocated as a group and not as individuals and that this extended family will be given paramount consideration," he said.

On Monday, August 6, Patrick Duet, from the Louisiana Department of Transportation hand-delivered a letter to Honor explaining the details of how they plan to relocate the entire family.

“We always try to work things out with the families when we have to relocate them,” Mark Lambert, public information officer for DOTD told the Herald-Guide.

“However, if the people living in an area where a highway is projected to be built, and the residents living in that subdivision don’t want to move, a court of law will have the final say so,” he continued.

Lambert says, generally speaking that when it is necessary to relocate a group of people, the state makes three offers.

“For example, if you lived in a four bedroom, two bathroom house, we take the number of square feet and find a comparable living arrangerment,” he said.

“A house valued at $100,000 than, might be valued at $200,000 today, we would work with the family on comparable value.”

A proposal was to relocate the entire Honor family with their homes to a vacant parcel of land purchased by St. Charles Parish.

But in this letter dated August 10, 2007, the family expressed their disappointment and their concerns about the potential relocation.

Re: Relocation Mitigation Agreement

We, the Honor family, do not agree with the relocation mitigation agreement presented to Elwood & Cora Honor, Roy & Lillian Honor, Greg & Roxanne Wilson, Sharon Honor, Morris Honor, Maggie Honor, & Olivia Henderson on August 6, 2007.

This is the same proposal given to us at the first meeting approximately two years ago in August. There was supposed to be a meeting with certain parties of the development team, council members, Clayton "Snookie" Faucheaux, Desmond Hillarie, as well as Senator Joel Chaisson, at the capital in Baton Rouge in reference to what they could do for the Honor family since we disagreed with the offer.

This meeting never took place and we, the Honor family, were never contacted until Thursday August 2, 2007 from the Department of Transportation & Development Real Estate.

“The information given thus far is very general. There were also some changes that needed to be discussed about who is to be included.

“If there is no money or no location, then how can you submit an agreement? There needs to be a round table discussion among the parties involved before any signatures are given.” said Honor in a letter to the Dept. of Transportation.

“Just because we are in a low income minority area does not give you the authority to take advantage of us.” she said.

The Honor family hopes to have some idea of what’s going to take place before the October meeting so they can make appropriate arrangements if neccessary.




View other articles written By Shonna Riggs

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