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Column: THE GRAY LINE TOUR

By Leonard Gray / L’Observateur / April 8, 1998

GOOD PEOPLE HERE OFFER HOPE TO ALL

The more I spend in the River Parishes, the more I enjoy living around here. There are problems and there are bad people, to be sure. On the otherhand, there are some downright terrific people.

These are people you are proud to call friend, people who care about their community and show that pride and caring by being active, usually for little or no reward, other than a job well done.

I went out Monday and talked to two such terrific people. One was a manwho helps run a full-service gas station in Reserve. He knows almosteveryone who rolls in. He should – many of them are people he’s known allhis life. They stop by, grin, exchange warm greetings and brag on eachother. It’s a good feeling to see such pride in each other so evident, and somuch love.

I also went out that afternoon to see a 68-year-old woman who had taken it upon herself to brighten a small patch of land at the corner of Ormond and Madewood.

The site was a patch of neglect and weeds. She enjoys a flower garden ather own residence on Ellerslie, but scowled at this every day as she passed.

“I learned many years ago, the things that irritate you the most are the things you can do something about,” she said.

Therefore, she started digging and got her hands dirty in making a little piece of public ground prettier. She hauled out bagfuls of weeds, plantedand beautified during four days of solid, hard work.

She didn’t want her picture or name in the newspaper, and that’s not surprising. She wasn’t looking to be singled out and not anxious forrecognition. She just wanted to help. That’s the kind of people who makethe River Parishes what it is – a family-centered, loving area where people are proud to live and work, raise their children and call it home.

These are but two examples. There are many, many more. Like the sheriff’sdeputy who has been known to cry when an animal is suffering from being hit by a passing car. Like the St. Rose woman who campaigns to educatepeople on littering and cleaning up St. Rose Avenue. Like countlessnumbers of volunteer coaches in recreation programs across the area.

They just want to make this place a little better than how they found it and encourage others to do the same. Nobody asked them to do what theydo, but you’d have a problem keeping them from getting involved. They doit for love.

Sure, there are problems here, but as long as we have people like these, problems can be addressed and possibly overcome. They’re smart, creativeand determined.

With people like this, we have hope.

Leonard Gray is a reporter for L’Observateur.

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