BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A Baton Rouge woman who had been living in a house with no toilet or bathtub for nearly four years is living a normal life again.
Betty Caddo had to rebuild her house from scratch after a contractor allegedly took her money and ran.
"The last four years have been strictly hell," Caddo said.
Until two months ago, Caddo had been living in a gutted house without the basics. She had no electricity or water, no tub or toilet. Caddo had been saving money since 2006 to renovate her small wood-framed house.
In 2009 she hired contractor, Marlon Brown Senior, to do the work. She has documents that show she paid Brown a total of $10,200. But Caddo said he never showed to do the work. She said life became a struggle.
"I had to go to different people houses to take a bath, used buckets for a bathroom."
A city judge ordered the contractor to pay Caddo $6,447 but, she said, the payments came in small installments.
"Each time the court would send me a check like for $80 something a week, each time I got paid I saved that money."
Nearly four years later, Caddo said she finally saved enough money to hire a legitimate contractor to make her house a home.
Now, it has a noticeably bright exterior. The interior is hardly recognizable. She has walls, a tile floor, a bathroom, and a hot water heater. Something as simple as being able to take a bath brings a smile to her face.
"It is lovely. It is a blessing to be able to do that now."
Caddo can do a lot more. Once she gets her furniture out of storage and gets settled she'll be able to do the little things some people take for granted like cooking.
Right now she is focused on having accomplished something that seemed nearly impossible four years ago.
"Oh, God, it feels so good. I raise my head and I tell God thank you for this home now."
Caddo said once she is moved in, she plans to write a book about her experience. She hopes others will learn from her story.