Moldy tile

Photo showing mold in the motel bathroom which Doretha Houston claims may have caused headaches, sneezing and shortness of breath.

Recently there was a complaint brought to the attention of the West Side Journal regarding the conditions and treatment of at least one customer staying at the Red Roof Inn in Port Allen. Doretha Houston, 33, reached out after leaving the establishment where she reported to have experienced ill-treatment from management and poor room conditions. 

The mother and her two children ages 11 and 13 years old, were staying in the hotel awaiting home renovations to be completed over the space of several months. Houston claims she paid in advance for multiple nights during the beginning of her stay, but after an issue of a claim by management that she had not paid which resulted in an additional fee, she “decided to start paying day by day to keep confusion down.” 

Reported ill treatment by management included employees who during free breakfast would “watch over us making us feel uncomfortable.” She said employees lied about their positions and dismissed her concerns.

Houston stayed in multiple rooms but was greatly concerned with Room 104. She reported during her stay in that particular room she experienced headaches, sneezing, and shortness of breath that she did not have previously. The symptoms concerned her, and she believed they were caused by mold and mildew, which she reported to management. 

Her stay ended when an employee asked her to “make arrangements to leave tomorrow,” and Houston stated she was “ok with because being here is not healthy.”

When the Red Roof Inn in Port Allen was contacted, the general manager, Prince Patel, responded to the West Side Journal’s inquiries regarding this complaint. He says he informed his customer of this potential issue prior to the final notice was given.

“The lady who complained about that, we gave her 24-hour notice because the next check out date we had no rooms available.”

Patel did not deny that Houston had stayed for months prior but said due to the hurricane evacuees, people were booking and paying in advance and that those rooms were reserved. He also stated he fixed the bathroom issue but claimed it could not be addressed with guests in the room.

“We saw the mold in the bathroom,” Patel said then mentioned the maintenance man repaired it and someone else is already occupying that room, “the problem is fixed.”

That means the potential health issue was eradicated in the space of several hours, after Houston checked out and the next guest arrived. Patel said, “As soon as they checked out, my maintenance guy fixed the mold issue and that night the room was rented.”

“That’s not our fault if someone books the room in advance,” Patel added, “it’s not like I told her at the last moment ‘ma’am you need to check out today’. I told her 24 hours before. I told her very politely…” He claimed that was not the only notice he gave, either.

Prior to that final notice, Patel said he let his guest know she would need to pay in advance as the hotel could not guarantee future availability of a room without payment. “First come, first served. Those who pay for it, we have to give them the rooms. We committed to the people who already paid in advance.”

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