Poverty in Baton Rouge: Residents speak out

Wednesday, September 14, 2011 - 6:57pm

BATON ROUGE, La (FOX44) — New numbers show one in six people in the United States currently live below the poverty line. Many people living in Baton Rouge say they're directly impacted by that. For Chasity Adkinson, every day is a struggle.

"It's scary, and I don't know what's going to happen," she says. She spends her days going from business to business looking for work. "I'd have sunburn and everything else, blisters on my feet," she says. "I would get in the bathtub when I finally got home and just pouring crying, pouring tears."

Right now, jobs are tough to come by.

"They'd say 'We're not hiring right now. Fill out an application. Maybe we'll call you back.' The only place I found that was hiring didn't have any applications."

Adkinson gets her meals at St. Vincent de Paul's dining room, which is always packed for lunch. It's a sign that many, like her, are having trouble making ends meet.

"There are so many people in here," she says. "I was surprised. I didn't realize it was this bad."

One of those people sharing the dining room is Carla Carmene. She has five mouths to feed, and another one on the way. "Food stamps don't last," she says, of how she feeds her children. "They go eventually."

Carmene is jobless, and relying on the kindess of an older woman to keep a roof over her head.

"She let's us share the back room. I know it's not going to be for life. It's going to get better," she says.

Carolyn Karras is sick. She has medical bills piling up, and she can't pay for them. "Half the time, Medicaid won't pay for it," she says.

She can't get a job because she has a disability, and she worries that she can't keep living the way she's living.

"I'm bad off."

Despite the hardships, these women keep going. "I'm going to be honest with you. I never lose my faith," says Carmene.

They all hope that one day their luck will change.

"You have to keep strong or die," says Adkinson.

"You gotta keep praying that it will get better." In Baton Rouge, 24% of people are facing similar hardships. That's compared to 17% in the whole state of Louisiana.


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