Homeowner Story

Collins Foots

A retired truck driver, Mr. Foots has lived in the Lower 9th Ward on Tennessee Street since 1968.  He remembers it being a nice community, where all but one house was occupied.  He knew most of his neighbors, as a truck driver. 

Just before Katrina, he evacuated to Bunkie, Louisiana, where his sister lives.  He left and only brought with him two to three changes of clothing and only some of his paperwork.  He left the Sunday before Katrina and has been staying with his sister since.  He would often visit the shelter in Bunkie that was located at the Hayes Auditorium, to get information about home, and talk to fellow evacuees.  He also got information about home from the Red Cross. He learned from the Red Cross that his home received a lot of water, 9 ft or more.  He remembers the first time he tried to come back home, when there were soldiers around Claiborne holding guns blocking off the neighborhood, not allowing him or his insurance adjustor in.  He was finally able to return home in December 2005, months after the August storm. 

At 75 years old, after Katrina, he finds himself in the difficult position of having to start again.  The current market has left his property undervalued, and he fears that he would have complexity involved in the process of rebuilding.  He has been offered $60,000 for his property that has a much higher value and in a market where even starter homes are approaching $100,000; he knows he would not be able to buy his own home again.  He is still living with his sister in Bunkie, LA and longs to return to a home of his own in the neighborhood he’s lived in for the past 40 years.

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