Options Few for People Displaced by Huge Louisiana Sinkhole

November 7, 2012

After three months living in a hotel while a sinkhole near his home grows and grows, Carl Dugas has realized he won’t be moving back. When he left Aug. 3, he was willing return, though his wife was dubious about the prospect.

Dugas he feels that his two houses in the Bayou Corne area have been taken from him with no way to recoup his losses.

“You know what? I feel like somebody’s robbed me. … and I can’t do nothing about it,” he said.

Scientists believe a Texas Brine Co. salt cavern broke and is being filled with crude oil, natural gas and millions of cubic yards of sediment.

Dugas said he has resisted joining lawsuits already filed. Now, says Dugas, he feels he doesn’t have any other choice.

“I want them punished for it, you know. That’s how I feel,” he said.

Dugas said he does not believe the salt cavern can be repaired or brought to a point that will make him and his wife feel safe in the place he built with his father and where he planned to retire.

They are living with friends in Vacherie, but know they’ll need a new home.

They’d like to be bought out.

Shane Guillot, associate broker with Guillot Realty in Donaldsonville, said, “As of today, right now, that land is absolutely worthless back there.”

Even if someone was willing to buy, he said, at least two mortgage companies won’t lend money for it.

Guillot added it is hard to say how the value might recover if officials get the situation under control.

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