Relief Is On the Way for South Long Beach Residents

Very few homes south of the railroad tracks in Long Beach were able to withstand Katrina's fury. For weeks, the few residents who were able and willing to live in their homes have had to adapt without the basics of sewage and water.

The Crans live just south of the railroad tracks in Long Beach. Life is slowly returning back to normal for the family, but they had to learn how to wing it without the basic necessities of sewage and water the first few weeks after the storm.

"When we didn't have running water, I was upset because we had to take cold baths," said seventh grader Keven Cran.

The Crans now have running water and can take hot baths, but they still use a portapotty in the front yard because sewage isn't working yet.

"We did celebrate when we got the portapotty. I was like, oh my gosh, we got a bathroom outside our house that we can use. But no, it will be a good thing to say goodbye to it and return to our thrones in the house," said Kevin's dad, Rick.

Long Beach Mayor Billy Skellie says relief is on the way for the Crans, and other residents who live in this area south of the tracks.

"They should have water and sewer, unless there's some big glitch in it. And I think it's not gonna happen...we're gonna be on schedule. I believe that they should be in service by Friday," Mayor Skellie said.

Debris removal on personal property south of the railroad tracks is set to begin on October 17. In the meantime, the mayor is asking all people in this area to fill out right of entry forms so that workers will know what they can and can't do on the property.

"They've lost enough. We don't want them to lose something that doesn't need to be removed, so it would be nice if they would do that, if not we're going to be very careful," Skellie said.

As for the Crans, they plan to continue to live in their Nicholson Street home, and say they'll hold tight until all their basic necessities are restored.

Water and sewage is set to be restored to the much of the area sandwiched between the railroad tracks down to Magnolia Street. The mayor says it may be a year before sewage and water are restored to the area south of Magnolia Street.

Water and sewage were among the many topics discussed tonight at a city meeting at Long Beach Middle School Monday night. Hundreds of residents turned out to voice their concerns, and in some cases, their praise, about how the city is handling matters post-Katrina.

One resident asked for a later curfew south of the railroad tracks so that students can take part in extracurricular activities.

The mayor said he and other city officials would take that, and other matters, under consideration.