Hotel Happiness' goes down

DERON TALLEY, EDITOR @DVILLECHIEF
Councilman Reginald Francis, District 3, stands in front of the demolished property on Nolan Street.

The Donaldsonville City Council has been saying all year it was serious about cleaning up the dilapidated or blighted properties around the city. Last week it showed just how serious it was went the walls of what some call "Hotel Happiness" came tumbling down.

"This is just a start," Councilman Reginald Francis said, District 3. "All of my constituents were complaining about this property and we as a council made a commitment earlier this year that we are going to do something about the dilapidated and blighted properties in Donaldsonville. We' re serious and here is just the beginning."

The first property to come down was on Nolan Street in what is known as the "back of town" and Councilman Francis has always been upfront about being "serious" in getting the properties cleared away as his district has the most dilapidated or blighted properties.

"This is what everybody in the City of Donaldsonville has been waiting for and wanting to see; to clean up our city," Francis said.

The city has reached out to the owners of the properties for months and in some cases years for work to be done or demolition. Those property owners who were or are unresponsive to the city's request will still be afforded the bill to of demolition. The city is legally able to take the owner's to court to suit for any money spent in the process.

"We've tried before and we've let them delay fixing because we understand and feel for people," Francis said, "but we just can't continue to let these properties get worse than what they already are. They are becoming safety hazards."

Nolan Street resident Brenda Rome has known the area for much of her life and said it wasn't always bad and that property certainly wasn't always an eye-sore, but over the years it came to what it was. However, she's glad it's gone.

"We' re so super glad that's being done because there was all kind of things going on over there, things we knew about and things we don't know about," Rome said. "It's been 'hotel happiness' over there, but I'm glad 'hotel happiness' has been shut down."

Rome added: "Maybe it'll clear up some of the other things that's been going on in the community. I'm glad the mayor and council are doing this for us, we really appreciate it. It's a good thing for the community."