Time Winds Down In Bay St. Louis To Repair Hurricane Ravaged Homes

Dozens of homeowners in one of the coast's most devastated communities may soon lose what's left of their homes.

Bay St. Louis wants property owners to either repair damaged homes or have them torn down. The city gave 90 homeowners until Tuesday to let the city know their plans or face having their property condemned. But some property owners say there are simply no easy answers.

Eugene Cresson is fighting to save his 91-year-old sister's home.

"Being up in age like that, she doesn't need all of these problems. And that's why I came with the lawyer to try and help her make up her mind," says Cresson.

Cresson's sister Camille Fritcher now lives in a nursing home in Slidell. That's after Hurricane Katrina ripped apart her Bay St. Louis home. When her brother learned that the city had plans to demolish his sister's home, he called her and she called the Mississippi Center for Justice.

Kim Duffy with the Mississippi Center for Justice says time is a factor is saving Ms. Fritcher's home.

"We were a little concerned just because of the short notice for us to help her," says Fritcher.

Buzz Olsen, city clerk of Bay St. Louis, told WLOX News, "Homeowners were expected to show up up at a hearing at three o'clock Tuesday afternoon to let the the city know their plans. After that, the city has the right, by law, to go ahead and condemn the property."

"Her main obstacle has been though the homeowner grant, because she applied for the grant and is still waiting for that. So once she receives that, then she was going to make a decision about the home," says Duffy.

Duffy also says that she did speak with city engineers and they told her that they are treating each case different. She says that Ms. Fritchard will get a grace period to make a decision about her home. But how long that grace period is, has not been determined.