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Regarding the closing of the nine crossings in St. John Parish

By Rev. Donald R. August Sr. / L’Observateur / September 9, 1998

DEAR EDITOR: In response to your report in Saturday’s paper regarding the closing of the nine crossings in St. John Parish, I wish to clarify a couple of points.The article stated that the Rev. Donald August was opposed to the CardinalStreet crossing closing. Let it be understood that I and the vast majorityof the Woodland Quarters residential area are totally opposed to the closing of the Cardinal Street crossing. We stand united in our oppositionto the closing of this crossing for a number of reasons.

First of all, Woodland Quarters is the most historic area of LaPlace in regards to the black community. At one time, Cardinal was “the” mainstreet of LaPlace. Cardinal Street was and still is the only directconnection from the River Road to the Airline Highway. (Think aboutemergency evacuations.)Secondly, it was written that Mr. Madere stated that no reference wasmade to the accidents which occurred at that location. This is definitelyfalse, because we did discuss those accidents in the meeting held at the church between the council members, Mr. Madere, the other officialspresent and the residents of our community.

If anyone is familiar with the Cardinal Street crossings, you would be aware of the steepness of the grade of both of these crossings. The gradeis so steep that 18-wheelers have gotten stuck trying to cross at these locatiions. The grade of these crossings are so steep, whereby, if a vehiclecrossed these locations at too great a speed, they would either go airborne or damage the undercarraige of their vehicles, or both.

Therefore, if these grades are this steep, it means that vehicles have to slow to almost a stop just to cross. The point is the people who havegotten hit by trains at these crossings have been hit because of their own negligence.

The parish or railroad or whoever should be in a position to sue these people because of the destruction they cause to the railroad or to parish property. (I say that in jest.) Thirdly, we in the Cardinal Street area arealready experiencing serious flooding problems due to inadequate drainage.

We did not have as serious of a flooding problem in the past as we do now.

Due to the development along Old Highway 51, many of the major drainage canals for our area are now either partially closed or clogged with debris.

And, as usual, the response we have received in our area to helping solve this problem has been slow. We get high water from a bad thunderstorm.We do not want the Cardinal Street area and what is now referred to as “Old LaPlace” to be left out of the progress and development of our community. Our residents have been in LaPlace longer than most of theresidents in this area and we will not sit back and allow our area to just be neglected. So with all due respect, I ask the people in charge to takeinto consideration all aspects of this situation before you make whatever decisions need to be made. And remember our voices should be heard aswell as the railroad companies and big business.

Rev. Donald R. August Sr.Rising Star Baptist Church

Copyright © 1998, Wick Communications, Inc.

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