Citizens gather to discuss issues

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 30, 2002


LAPLACE – Stray dogs, trash in the streets and junk cars are serious problems in St. John the Baptist Parish, Cambridge/Colony Homeowners and Concerned Citizens Association members said during an August organizational meeting.

The Rev. John Brown, of Faith of Hope Baptist Church in Kenner, has lived in Cambridge subdivision in LaPlace for more than 18 years. Brown is a part of a growing number of residents concerned about the deterioration of residential areas in LaPlace.

“I bought a home here and it is a great investment,” Brown said. “I want to keep it that way.”

The Cambridge/Colony community is one of the largest residential areas in LaPlace but Brown and other residents believe it is also “one of the forgotten.”

“We have got our share of problems, but we don’t have any major problems yet,” Brown said. “We want homeowners to keep up their homes. We just need to get the Sheriff’s Department, the Parish Council and the legal offices concerned.”

Residents complained about the local government’s interest in the upkeep of the communities, citing unreturned phone calls and unenforced parish codes as factors in the decline of the neighborhood.

“Most of these numbers do not work,” one resident said holding up a list of phone numbers for parish officials. “I have been calling for eight years.”

At a recent Parish Council meeting, two items were on the agenda dealing with housing, public and private. Some council members fear complaints about housing could be indicative of a growing problem with living conditions in the parish. Councilwoman Melissa Faucheux encouraged community leaders to attend the next Cambridge/Colony Homeowners and Concerned Citizens Association meeting in September to answer the concerns of constituents. Faucheux also asked representatives of the Planning and Zoning Department to attend the meeting.

The residents elected officers and discussed incorporation of the group as a nonprofit organization. Other neighborhoods facing similar problems without representation were encouraged to do the same.

“There is no where else I want to live,” Rev. Brown said. “When I check out, I want to check out right here.”