Passing the blame — Officials look to get to the bottom of senior living facilities investigation

Hurricane Ida

We continue our coverage of the investigation into the deaths — and evacuations — at senior living centers in New Orleans after the storm.

Six of the facilities under investigation by the health department are owned by the archdiocese.

One of them is the Christopher Inn in the Marigny, where the health department found one resident dead and evacuated the rest. The archdiocese says the deaths at its facilities are the result of city neglect.

The city says it’s just the opposite and that the archdiocese should be held responsible.

“We’re going to call it what it was. It was negligence, and it was not on the backs of the City of New Orleans,” said New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell in a press conference on Monday.

Mayor Cantrell and other city leaders are pushing back against the archdiocese’s claims that the city didn’t do enough when the power went out to help the elderly residents of archdiocese facilities — like the now-closed Annunciation Inn in the 7th Ward.  

This is where the health department found one of the victims.

Mayor Cantrell says the archdiocese had a moral and financial responsibility to save its residents..

“I think accountability needs to be where it is — on these institutions, the diocese, whoever,” Cantrell added. “This isn’t free. They’re getting public resources to provide resources.”

Like the Annunciation Inn, the Christopher Inn in the Marigny is also owned by the archdiocese and is where the health department found another victim.

Both facilities are in City Councilwoman Kristen Palmer’s district.
 

She says the managers of some of the facilities under investigation have said the residents were responsible for themselves.

“They’re like, ‘Whoa, whoa whoa! It’s not our responsibility. It’s independent living.’ But it’s not independent living if you’re in a wheelchair on the 4th floor,” said Palmer.

One thing all the city leaders stressed on Monday is that what happened at those facilities will not happen again.

The mayor is pushing for legislation that will require privately-run senior facilities to have some kind of government oversight.

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