Eastern New Orleans senior citizens could use a place to lay their heads

Eastern New Orleans senior citizens could use a place to lay their heads
September 25, 2011
By Annette Sisco

Tommie Yarls has a kitchen table and chairs. That’s good, because there’s no sofa or anywhere else to sit in his one-bedroom apartment at Peace Lake Towers, a HUD-subsidized senior citizens complex at 9025 Chef Menteur Highway in eastern New Orleans. Yarls’ living room furniture consists of suitcases and boxes lined up against the wall.
hudapts003.jpgView full size Times-Picayune archivePeace Lake Towers is a HUD-subsidized, privately owned apartment complex for disabled and senior citizens at 9025 Chef Menteur Highway.

“I don’t have too many visitors,” said Yarls, who is 72. “If you don’t have it, you have to live without it.”

Lamont Jackson, 58, was homeless before he arrived last summer.

“Currently, I have an air mattress in the bedroom,” Jackson said. “I don’t have anything in the kitchen. I really wasn’t trying to accumulate a whole lot, but I could use something in the bedroom. I’m looking for work. Right now I’m just doing community service with a stipend from AARP.

“It would be nice to sit down at a dinner table,” Jackson said. “It would be nice to sleep in a bed.”

Another neighbor, who didn’t want his name used, is 6 feet tall. He still looks like the trucker he was before he retired. But he sleeps on a mattress barely larger than a twin size.

“The Lord says to help the less fortunate,” said Paul Mosley Sr., whose own small quarters are neatly furnished with a sofa, loveseat and glass coffee table topped with artificial flowers. Mosley has been on a campaign to persuade businesses to donate serviceable beds, sofas and kitchen sets to residents of the 130-unit complex who need them. He’s already an expert at finding discarded second-hand items, which he matches with a handwritten list of his neighbors and what they lack.

The residents are also looking for amenities for the building’s common areas, which are clean but nearly empty. When I visited recently, Frank Chapman, James Cannon and Jackson were making plans for a game of cards around the single plastic table in the recreation area. They could use exercise equipment, a computer, books for the little library, even pictures, plants and games.

Senior citizens are known for making do with what they have. But it would be nice if all the seniors at Peace Lake had comfortable beds and chairs, at least. If you can help, call Mosley at 504.319.7714.
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