Officials discuss litter problem

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 21, 2000

DANIEL TYLER GOODEN / L’Observateur / October 21, 2000

LUTCHER – A mess of discarded furniture tires, trash and the occasional dead cat, dog or pig is what has people stirred up and ready to act. Andrightly so, King Avenue, between Louisiana Highway 3125 and Lutcher Junior High School in Lutcher is atrociously lined with refuse, clogging the canal and disgracing the side of the road.

Though King Avenue has been the center of attention before, this latest gathering, which included top officials in St. James Parish, Lutcher andGramercy, was brought together by Larry Roussel, employee counselor at Motiva Enterprises in Convent.

Roussel’s son mentioned to him one day that it seemed a little funny that so much trash was piled up around a sign the declared a $500 dollar fine for dumping. Roussel saw that it was time to do something, “to protect theenvironment and Blind River (where the canal leads), to build pride in Lutcher Junior High and to show we mean St. James Proud.”In conjunction with the junior high school and acting principal Pam Bourgeois, Roussel has planned a clean up day on October 28 at 8 a.m. It’s Make aDifference day at the junior high that day and Bourgeois is excited about the activities. “We’ve been working on our school pride, cleaning up graffiti as soas it goes up,” said Bourgeois. The walls are clean and the paint fresh. Themore pride they build by keeping everything clean, the more kids get out there and continue to keep it clean, she added.

Dumping along the King Avenue has long been a problem. “Every month weclean it up and two to three days after it looks the same as before,” said Lutcher Mayor Troas Poche.

The majority of the meeting then was spent brain storming ideas on how to keep the avenue clean after it has been dredged of its trash.

A multitude of ideas and projects were discussed to from hindering dumpers from placing their trash on the site, to stricter ways of identifying and fining dumpers.

One generally accepted idea was that a dumpster should be placed at Brooks Apartments so that those who have missed the normal trash collection would have a place to put it without depositing it down the road. A good deal of thetrash bag come from Brooks Apartments, said Gramercy Chief of Police Kenny Poche. Brian Duplantis, with Waste Management, said that he could geta figure of what it would cost to maintain a dumpster at Brooks Apartments.

Other ideas included a gate across the canal to provide a central collection point for the trash to be picked out of the water. The construction ofculverts was discussed as well as the high cost it would require. An eight-foot fence built down the avenue to keep trash from being pitched in the canal was offered as a less expensive solution.

Roussel though surveillance cameras might be the key, but the sheriff’s department does not own any, said Capt. Craig Poche. Gary Miller, managerof external affairs for Motiva, offered to supply some cameras for the project.

A simpler project suggested, was to have the cane farmers fill the sections where the larger caches of trash was collecting, with more rows of cane.

Currently a dirt patch is cleared along side of the road where most of the tires, furniture and other large objects tend to end up.

Part-time observers were suggested, as well as off duty officers or deputies. St. James Parish Councilman Timmy Roussel reminded the lawofficials there that according to parish ordinance, a resident whose name is found in a pile of trash is responsible for that dumping. The comment cameafter the fact that people who’s trash was found had claimed that it had been stolen from the side of the road.

Another suggestion was that a sign be posted reminding dumpers that bags of trash, refrigerators, couches, and even tires can be dumped at the Gramercy Transfer Facility three miles away on LA 3125, at no charge to the resident.

After an hour and a half, the group dispersed, agreeing to meet again after the clean-up day to discuss permanent options toward keeping King Avenue clean. They promised to gather cost estimates and expanded ideas topresent at the next meeting.

The clean-up day will consist of volunteers, both from citizens of the parish, parish employees and industrial employees. Motiva is supplying their snackwagon to cook lunch for the volunteers. The day will begin with everyonemeeting at Lutcher Junior High at 8 a.m. Those interested in volunteering tohelp clean up the main stretch between LA 3125 and Lutcher Junior High School are suggested to call Larry Roussel at 562-7681 ext. 3300 for moreinformation.

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