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Nursing home resident, rescued from Tangipahoa warehouse, shares story at Alexandria Mega Shelter

Published: Sep. 3, 2021 at 6:08 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 3, 2021 at 6:25 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - On Thursday, September 3, we learned of more than 800 nursing home residents from seven different facilities who had to be rescued by the State of Louisiana after being discovered in deteriorating conditions in a warehouse in Independence, La.

The Louisiana Department of Health said four people died and more than a dozen, at last count, were in the hospital. Now, over 100 of the residents are at the Alexandria Mega Shelter.

“There was no communication. We were like prisoners,” said 69-year-old Wade H., a nursing home resident who was evacuated from the warehouse and brought to Alexandria.

Wade told KALB that the Alexandria Mega Shelter is heaven compared to the conditions in the warehouse he left just a little over a day ago.

“It smelled like death and a sewer all mixed together,” he said.

He’s talking about the warehouse in Independence in Tangipahoa Parish, where residents from seven nursing homes were brought ahead of Hurricane Ida. He survived the storm, but the conditions in the warehouse were a different battle.

“The warehouse, there was no air conditioning,” he said. “There was a big fan that I happened to be close to. It was really cold for me and it was definitely hot for people farther away.”

He said the situation was unimaginable.

“We would just lay in the cots all day and were fed maybe twice a day,” he told us. “Some days, only once.”

Wade told KALB he has lived at two of the seven nursing homes involved, most recently at one in New Orleans as a he recovered from a foot injury. He said it wasn’t until Wednesday that he found out that he was finally leaving the warehouse.

“Anything is better than this,” he said.

Wade was brought by a charter bus to the Alexandria Mega Shelter. He said he’s not sure what happened to his friends. He told us his only belongings are clothes for three days, his medical history and medication.

“This place is paradise,” he said of the Alexandria Mega Shelter.

The owner of the seven nursing homes and the warehouse is Bob Dean of Baton Rouge. On Friday, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry announced his office is launching a full investigation.

Wade has strong feelings about what should happen next.

“You are a criminal and you deserve everything I hope you get,” he said.

Wade did tell us that he had nothing but kind words to say about the nurses from the nursing home. He said he’s not sure what’s next for him. He did tell us that he has been in touch with his sister in Virginia.

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