Scotlandville residents hope new councilwoman can make a change

Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 2:00am

"I've had the worst probably 13 years that I've had in my entire life," says Deboria Halford.

Halford's health has deteriorated to the point where this once active mom is now shackled to an oxygen tank just to stay alive. She believes the reason for her failing health is the North Baton Rouge Wastewater Treatment Plant just blocks from her home.

"It first started off with a minor breathing problem and through the years it's gotten worser and worser," says Halford.

And it's not just Halford, dozens of neighbors in the Scotlandville neighborhood surrounding the plant have complained of similar respiratory issues. After twenty years of fighting the city-parish to have something done about it, a resolution may be close The area's new councilwoman, Chauna Banks-Daniel, is trying to work out a deal so the neighbors could be bought out of their homes for around $6 million and moved to a more environmentally friendly area.

"I hope that on January 9th we will be able to turn a page on this issue, get those residents moved to housing that they absolutely love and I hope to attend a lot of house warming parties," states Banks-Daniel.

The decision on the deal is expected at the next Metro Council meeting on Wednesday, but those who live around the plant say they've heard this type of rhetoric before and they're not sure they believe it this time around.

"Now the city says trust us and we've been deceived so many times before with the administration and this city government till it's really frustrating that this community has to go through another what seems like a political trap again," states Mitchell.

And they say even if a deal is struck, it's probably not going to be enough. They want to be compensated for the medical bills that have mounted over the years. As of now, that's not included and it leaves neighbors wondering if anything has truly changed.

"I get so happy when we get the news from Mr. Mitchell that we finally think that we're finally going to get some fresh air and every time we get let down," states Halford. 

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