Olvera Street's decades-old iconic donkey stand faces eviction; family pleads for a resolution

Anabel Munoz Image
Friday, May 10, 2024
Olvera Street's decades-old iconic donkey stand faces eviction
One of Olvera Street's oldest tenants is a donkey stand known as "El Burrito y La Carreta," which is now facing eviction.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- If Olvera Street could talk, it would tell generations of stories about the dancers, the patrons and the merchants who've made it come alive. One of its oldest tenants is a donkey stand known as "El Burrito y La Carreta" founded by Jesus "Don Chuy" and Trancito "Tancho" Hernandez in the late 1960s.

"For the last 57 years, people have come here to have their picture taken with the donkey. People have gotten engaged. People have met here and gotten married," said Richard Hernandez, the couple's son.

Hernandez took over the stand but said he's now facing eviction after his mother's passing.

"I was served with notice to vacate on May 1, basically two weeks after the passing of my mom," he said.

At issue is that Hernandez's name is not on the contract. Hernandez said that in 2019, his mother submitted paperwork to do so, but the previous manager told him he had to be on probation for a year without providing specific reasons. He added that his mother did follow up two years later.

"My mother came to him and made the request personally," he said.

Hernandez's brother said he reached out by email in October. The current manager told Eyewitness News there were several management issues in the past but did not elaborate further and said that any additional communication after 2019 is being investigated.

Hernadez said he has struggled to keep up with rent, especially since it was raised from about $150 to over $1,000.

"This year, we had four months of rain, and they all fell on the weekends. And those are my best days," he said.

Thursday, the city commission that oversees the historic property was set to hear the matter, but its president says she pushed it to a later date, out of respect for the grieving family which laid their matriarch to rest on Thursday.

"Whatever it takes, let's work it out. It means the world and my life to me, it really does," said Hernandez. An online petition has gathered over 1,700 signatures so far.

The commission postponed the matter until May 23.