Time Running Out for Katrina Trailer Dwellers

PHOTO The victims of Hurricane Katrina, their lives uprooted and homesteads washed away, will finally get their day in court today as a landmark trial opens in New Orleans to consider whether the government made a deadly storm even worse.

Nancy Menne has been living in a trailer since Hurricane Katrina destroyed her home four years ago, but now FEMA wants it back.

"I'm a cry the day they pull it, because it's been my home," she told ABC News.

Although it has been nearly four years since Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, many Louisiana residents affected by the storm have yet to finish repairing their houses, meaning that they have nowhere to go if they cannot live in their FEMA-provided trailers.

As notices to vacate the premises by the end of the weekend were posted on trailers throughout the state, Margaret Ann Brown took ABC News on a tour of the wreckage of her former home -- still very much under construction.

She said this is where she will have to live if her FEMA trailer is taken away.

The house still has no electricity, four ravaged walls and a severely leaking roof -- and that would be the only shelter for her and her two grandsons from the threatening hurricane season, set to start Monday.

Even though it has been four years since the deadly hurricane, Brown said it is not for lack of effort that her home remains unfinished.

She is still trying to track down the contractors she paid to fix the holes in her roof. The roof was never touched, but they still made off with her $17,000, she said.

But said that even though the house is unlivable, if her trailer is taken away she will have to try to live there, "because I have nowhere else to go."

FEMA has not forgotten the criticism it received following its response to the Katrina in 2005, so the agency is very wary of appearing to be throwing families out on the street now.

FEMA told ABC News on Friday that it is "continuing to help area residents make the transition to long-term housing." And, in the meantime, "no one will face eviction."

This does not necessarily mean that residents are catching a break.

The trailers were never popular in Louisiana, with many residents calling them eyesores and breeding grounds for crime.

In Jefferson Parish, La., living in a trailer is now against the law, and residents are being prosecuted.

"We see that getting rid of the trailers is progress in Jefferson Parish; it's important to clean it up, it's important for the integrity of the neighborhoods," Assistant Parish Attorney for Jefferson Parish Matthew Friedman told ABC News.

Menne says she is working as fast as she can to fix her home and make it livable.

"As bad as they want this trailer, as bad as I want to give it back to them -- so we feel the same way," she said.

But the question remains whether she can do it in time to satisfy the federal or local government. The deadlines the governments are imposing have very real consequences for residents asking for a little more time and, a little more compassion.

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