Gardere Cottages

Tuesday, February 3, 2009 - 6:26pm

It’s a construction project aimed at changing a neighborhood and as FNBR’s Lauren Unger found out, it all started with Hurricane Katrina.

After two years in the works, developers have finally gotten the green light to build 42 homes in South Baton Rouge. Chris Rinaudo of Cypress Group says, “The idea is to create affordable housing opportunities for people in Baton Rouge.”

The Louisiana Recovery Authority commissioned the homes. They’re meant to be built quickly as a replacement for those infamous FEMA trailers used to house the displaced after Hurricane Katrina. Now the LRA hopes to fill them with people still looking for permanent housing. Jason Keller of Block Builders explains it is, “To bring back some Louisianaians here to help our local economy.”

With homes that can be finished in just a few months and some affordable housing, they’re hoping to improve the neighborhood from the inside out. “I think rather than building a typical housing development, this gives a single family residence and you take pride in ownership, your yard, and your neighbors.”

Good news for Daniel Kinchen. He’s been fixing up and reselling homes in South Baton Rouge for decades. “I think it’s great to have people come in and invest in the neighborhoods and make the value of the houses go up.” However, other neighbors are concerned. Kenneth Turner bought his house two years ago. Now he’s hoping it stays that way. He has two young daughters, so he’s wondering who his new neighbors will be. “I’m kind of concerned that the wrong type of people are going to come back here.”

It is a typical neighborhood hoping for the right type of rebuilding.

There is no word on why the project took so long to get underway. The homes are located throughout South Baton Rouge off Elvin Drive. Even though they take just a few months to build, contractors say they can withstand hurricane force winds of up to 140 miles per hour.