Residents voice coverage concerns

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 30, 2002


GARYVILLE – A conference of area ministers and other interested residents convened Tuesday at a local Baptist church to discuss a recently published L’Observateur article on the Little Hope Street neighborhood, and to direct a positive response to that article.

The meeting, called by Constable Albert Burl III and hosted by the Rev. Wesley Anderson of True Light Baptist Church on Little Hope Street, brought together 20 individuals. The guests included the Rev. Roland Morgan of New Hopeful Missionary Baptist Church in Garyville, the Rev. Kevin Fredrick of Israelite Baptist Church in Lutcher, the Rev. George Williams of New Rescue Mission Missionary Baptist Church in Reserve, the Rev. Julius Ellis representing Zion Travelers Baptist Church in Lions and Minister Harold Brown of Mt. Zion Baptist Church No. 2 in Garyville.

Other church members and community leaders, including St. John the Baptist Parish Councilman Cleveland Farlough also attended.

At issue was the Dec. 14 article about the troubled neighborhood, including drug trafficking, curfew violations and the challenges of raising children in the area. The origins and purpose of the article were discussed with the community representatives and also the issues raised within the article. A number of attendees agreed with the problems, but said the article did little to balance the bad with the good.

The meeting opened with a prayer and quickly moved to a discussion about quotes attributed to the Rev. Charles Caluda of St. Hubert Catholic Church in Garyville, which were interpreted by some as having racial overtones.

The Rev. Caluda was not present as he had not been invited by the meeting’s organizers.

At the prompting of Rev. Anderson, a group of ministers announced plans to meet with Rev. Caluda to address the community’s concerns and to move in a unified effort toward positive action in the town.

Burl noted of this idea, “If the Lord’s hand is on it, it should be positive.”

Also discussed was the problem of young people roaming the streets after the parish’s 10 p.m. curfew. After acknowledgement of that concern, it was agreed to arrange a meeting with St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff Wayne L. Jones to urge for more stringent enforcement of the curfew law.

Finally, Rev. Anderson led the discussion in a different direction, as he asked, “What can we do to make something positive of this?”

From there, it was agreed by the assembly to gather information on Garyville residents who have made positive contributions to their community, providing inspiration by their achievements and example. Also, plans were made to meet with children to determine their special needs, in order to provide healthy alternatives to curfew violations.

A suggestion was also briefly discussed to change the name of Little Hope Street, an idea which failed to win much support when introduced some time ago.

Following Tuesday’s meeting, Burl said, “Hopefully, this will bring us together, instead of tearing us apart.”