Gonzales City Council condemns George St. house, orders demolition

Aanifa LeBlanc

The Gonzales City Council during the regular meeting Monday condemned a house located off S. Worthy Road at 926 S. George St. and ordered it demolished.

Assistant City Building Inspector Jerry Self said three people were arrested at the house on felony drug counts involving crack cocaine Aug. 21 after Gonzales police searched the premises on warrants.

Code inspectors were sent to the home following the raid to investigate electrical, plumbing and other safety issues in the house and discovered numerous violations, Self said.

After viewing interior photos of the house owned by 66-year-old Calreatha London, a former School Board employee, the council voted unanimously for condemnation.

Cheryl Nash, London’s daughter, tearfully protested the condemnation, telling the council her mother worked for the school board 25 years in order to pay for the house.

When she looked at the photos herself, Nash said the pictures were taken outside or in a part of the house where no one lived.

Mayor Johnny Berthelot, however, said the home was in deplorable condition, and the condemnation was “strictly a safety issue with the City of Gonzales.”

Councilman “Alvin” Bully Dragg introduced the condemnation motion. “I don’t think it can be salvaged,” he said.

Councilman Terance Irvin said it “would cost a fortune to save” the house.

The vote to condemn was unanimous, with only Councilman Ronald “Joe” Waguespack not in attendance.

City Attorney Ryland Percy advised the mother and daughter of their rights to file an appeal of the city’s action with the 23rd Judicial District Court.

If no appeal is filed, the city will hire a demolition contractor to tear down and remove the house if the owner does not demolish it,  Berthelot said. If the city demolishes the structure, the owner is responsible for the cost, he said.

In other unrelated business, the council:

• Issued a resolution commending BASF Geismar on the occasion of it’s 50th Anniversary.

• Approved a $36,475 change order to cover adding 475 feet off Irma Boulevard to the capitol improvements project.