Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 2, 2000

Anna Monica / L’Observateur / February 2, 2000

My nephew, Todd, a LaPlace native, has been living in Garyville for a while now. It’s a natural for him, having spent so much of his childhood at hisgrandmother’s house. In a way, he has come back home.Todd’s good friend, George Lowe, also lives in Garyville. He has bought ahouse, is doing some fixing up and seems quite contented with his new location. Then, on the next street, a young couple has bought and isrenovating a fine, old home. There isn’t much I like more than the presenceof young people. And it’s great when I see a group of them gather, as theyoften do at Todd’s house, to take pleasure in each other’s company.

Not only are younger people the future of our country, but they are essential as a testament to the growth and health of any community, I believe.

Whereas I have the utmost respect for older people, a group I am fast becoming a member of, I think we need as many young people around us as we can get. Where I live, in Garyville, that is indeed quite a challenge. And,even if we could get them, where are they to go? Please indulge me briefly while I plead my cause for the community in which I have spent my entire life – Garyville, La., a town which once blossomed andalmost died but still exists, refusing to give up. Garyville has so muchbeautiful history, much of which, unfortunately, goes unappreciated and unrecognized. But in truth, there aren’t many places in Louisiana that havehistories that can parallel or surpass Garyville’s.

In two more years the town of Garyville will officially be 100 years old. It wasnamed in 1903, but before that a community still existed, composed mainly of different plantations. There was an extremely large lumber mill (cypress)here, one of the largest in the world. People came from all over to earn aliving. Even at $1 a day families could be fed and people had a future. Thetown had a library, hotel, bank, tennis courts, pharmacy, a train schedule and a social life.

Today, people are still coming to Garyville to make a living. Marathon, Nalco,and Epsilon are all here with a Garyville address. But, very few come here tolive. We don’t have a lot of room. The only houses that have sold lately arethose whose original owners have expired. Fortunately, some of these houseshave been bought by younger people and made into nice homes. We needmore families, and we definitely need more room to grow.

Everywhere I look I see more building going on, more trees coming down, more development. In Garyville where today we have one post office, one generalgrocery and a magnet school we were lucky to get, we are not allowed to grow. So I wonder, where have we gone wrong? What makes us differentfrom other areas of the parish? Why do we always have to prove something before we can be considered worthy of advancement? Why are we deprived of the privilege of seeing more families moving in and more young people on the street? Sure, there are some that don’t want to see change, opting instead to keep things as they are. Well, to that I say, give up your televisionsets, VCRs, computers, automatic transmissions, washing machines without the old rollers and so on, because these things are part of the future, not the past.

I have a right to say these things because never in my life have I had an address other than Garyville, and most of my family have lived and died here.

Apparently, Garyville has been a victim of downsizing long before it became a buzz word in the business area. Meanwhile, it grieves me to stagnate. Towhom it may concern, I identify with Moses who told pharaoh “let my people go,” when I make the appeal to “let my town grow.”

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