Bay Residents Experiencing Preservation Problem Post-Katrina

People who live in older homes in Bay St. Louis are faced with yet another problem.

What's left of those homes needs to be cleared away, but homeowners say government paid debris contractors won't do the job.

The reason, because of the home's historic value.

"I'm anxious to rebuild here in Hancock County, Bay St. Louis, I love the city and it's put a halt to everything. My builder is ready and I don't know what to do. I need someone to help me," said Carlotta Arnsdorff.

Arnsdorff lives on Thomas Street in Bay St. Louis.

Her home was flooded and destroyed by Katrina.

In November, she signed a right of entry form so the Corps of Engineers contractors could demolish the house.

On Sunday an inspector with the Corps told her the Historical Society put a block on the demolition.

The reason, all homes built prior to 1960 had been designated as historical sites by the State Division of Archives & History.

"I would like to see whoever is responsible for designating my home as a historical site to lift that to do something to put a stop to that so I can get the home demolished by the corps of engineers," said Arnsdorff.

WLOX News went to the Hancock County Historical Society in downtown Bay St. Louis.

Once inside we spoke with Executive Director Charles Grey to try and get some answers.

"FEMA, which is spending federal money,cannot destroy any house that might be listed on the registry. So it has to be cleared. Now archives and history tells me that they have cleared all those houses and that it has been turned over to the county and the delay is within the county process," said Grey.

Our next stop was the Hancock Chancery Clerk's office of Tim Kellar.

He got Sam Lamport of FEMA on the line.

"I understand. I'm trying to get these questions answered and as soon as I do, I'll give you a call back," said FEMA Representative Sam Lamport.

So far, at least 12 homeowners in Bay St. Louis are trapped in this preservation problem.

For now, Carlotta Arnsdoff is grateful for her FEMA trailer, but is eager to turn her plans for a new home into reality.

Late Saturday afternoon a FEMA spokesperson called promising to call the state archives and historic officials, as well as, Charles Grey the historian in Hancock County and county officials to find a solution.