An eccentric political gadfly who was evicted two weeks ago from her Annapolis apartment is staying at a local hotel after friends, neighbors, legislators and even the governor stepped in to help her find shelter.
Louise Beauregard, a perennial candidate for city and county office and a regular presence at the State House, said she was evicted from her Maryland Avenue apartment after her landlord stopped accepting her Section 8 federal assistance voucher.
"The gadfly is not flitting around," Beauregard said of herself. "She has a bad right leg, but she will be seen."
Beauregard - who says she is 68 but records show she is 76 - has been an outspoken advocate for veterans and the poor. That's why after speaking her mind during a visit to the governor's office Aug. 21, she was shocked to find herself homeless, evicted from the first-floor apartment on Maryland Avenue where she has lived for more than 25 years.
"When I got to the corner I thought they must have evicted another St. John's student," she said yesterday. But "when I walked closer, I saw it was my desk, my plants - it was me on the street."
Neighbors took turns guarding her things until she got home and then helped her move them to a nearby home, where she stayed the first night.
"She has a big heart for the city," said Janet Knight, who took in Beauregard. "She's an icon."
Friends and business leaders put her up at the Governor Calvert House for a few nights and then at the Annapolis Marriott Waterfront before the Department of Social Services provided her with a voucher to pay for her stay at the Annapolis Terrace Hotel, Beauregard said.
One neighbor, who asked not to be named, said Beauregard spent at least one night sleeping on local porches and asking neighbors to take her in before consenting to public assistance and going to Annapolis Terrace.
Beauregard called on local legislators for help, including state Sen. Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., Del. Michael E. Busch and Gov. Parris N. Glendening.
"She is a real institution here in Annapolis," said Michelle Byrnie, Glendening's press secretary. "The governor is concerned for her and has directed the staff to help her in any way they can."
Beauregard has run unsuccessfully several times for mayor, county executive, city council and County Council. In 1986, she garnered more than 17,000 votes as a Republican candidate for county executive, but lost to incumbent O. James Lighthizer.
When she was evicted, she was under doctor's orders to stay home and rest after suffering from heart problems, Beauregard said. With the help of Legal Aid, she has filed suit against her former landlord, seeking restitution for wrongful eviction.
King Properties, which manages the property, could not be reached for comment.
Rusty Romo, owner of Harry Browne's restaurant on State Circle, where Beauregard is a regular, said she came into the restaurant crying soon after being evicted.
"I can't tell you how many people have called to try to help her," including several former legislators, said Romo, who has known her since he was a child. "She's a fixture in Annapolis. She's definitely an eccentric, but sometimes you need some of those in the world."