Resident makes case to the city
A man who's been fighting City Hall for more than a decade is not giving up.
Charles Duke has lived at the corner of Jewella and Amelia in West Shreveport for about 46 years. For most of that time he's been fighting the water.
"The more they developed, the worse the flooding problem got," Duke said.
Every two or three years during heavy rains his home, which includes commercial space along Jewella, takes on water. He says it's because the city won't correct the drainage problem in the area.
About 16 years ago the city actually made him an offer to buy his flood-prone home.
"And he estimated $160,000," said Duke. "I said okay, I'll take it. So he sent the letter over to engineering, who came back and said they didn't have the money."
City officials then promised Duke that they would include money in the next bond issue to purchase his home. But he says the city forgot about him.
Then last year the city made him another offer for his home. But he wasn't happy with the price.
"So they waited until the property went down hill and made me an offer. Not because they were mean, but because they made a mistake, misplaced my papers and forgot about me."
So on July 10, 2012, Duke went back to the city council and asked the city to agree to an irrevocable trust that means the city would buy his property after he dies and give the money to his heirs.
District E councilman Ron Webb says the city is interested in helping Mr. Duke, but that the city is not comfortable with the trust agreement. He hopes Duke and the city can agree to the sale of the home to the city soon.
But Charles Duke, who's in his 80's, says he's too old to move all his belongings. He also does not want his children to inherit a house they cannot sell.
"I love this place, except for the flooding. It was a fine place to live before they flooded me out."
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