Peavine dispute settled by council

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 18, 2005


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE — The community in the Peavine area expressed major concern at Tuesday night’s council meeting for St. John the Baptist Parish, relative to possible purchase of land lost to the sea.

Several concerned citizens attended the meeting in Edgard to speak their minds about two letters of no objection to reclaim property. The item was tabled for two weeks due to Councilman Sean Roussel and Joel McTopy’s absence.

“This land has been eroding into the lake for years, because of the east winds,” said Parish Attorney Jeff Perrilloux. “Previous property owners are trying to reclaim the property to the right of the boat launch.”

Perrilloux explained that land lost to the sea belongs to the state and that it is up to the state to decide whether or not the property can be claimed by Gary Keating or Murray Daniels.

“There are two men trying to claim the same property,” Perrilloux said. “The council is not responsible for deciding who the property belongs to. There was confusion about where the property was and many citizens were concerned about the boat launch, but regardless of what happens to the property, nothing will happen to the boat launch, because it is for the public.”

Councilman Steve Lee said this was a legal issue and he will lean on Perrilloux for a recommendation.

Perrilloux said it is not up to the council to decide whether or not who the land will go to. It is the state’s decision.

Owner and designer Murray Daniels of Acadiana Design, in Baton Rouge, is looking to keep his property and buy about 110 feet more of the land that has been lost to the sea.

“I bought two lots two years ago,” Daniels said. “I bought the lots from Gary Keating and State Rep. Bobby Faucheux. My plans were to build a lake house for my family and a new seafood restaurant. My house is already built and I have already started the process for the restaurant.”

Daniels went to the state to apply for ownership of the 110 feet of land to expand his property to help make space for restaurant parking.

“The property is to the right of the boat launch,” he said. “The launch will not be affected, but Gary Keating is now trying to say he owns all of that property back there. The council said if the state approves for Keating to reclaim that property, the council would have to re-work the boat launch out of it.”

According to Daniels, he went through all the legal steps to acquire the land and Keating did not. He also said he understands why people are concerned, but at the same time people need to understand a new restaurant would be an advantage to this community.

Peavine Bait and Snack Shack business owners, Barbara and Chip Hicks, were present at the council meeting and Chip spoke out against the matter.

“Are you going to go up there and say something?” Chip said to other supporters behind him. “We have all these names on this petition someone needs to go up and say something.”

Daniels said his original idea was to create the restaurant and let Chip run it.

“I offered to let Chip run the restaurant and he thought it was a great idea,” Daniels said. “But after I explained how it would work and the fact that his restaurant is doing so well, he changed his mind.”

Daniels said the restaurant will be called Frenier Landing with a Jean Lafitte theme and that he has no intentions of trying to hurt Peavine’s business in any way.

“I would think this would help the business even more,” he said. “It will create more traffic coming through back there for both restaurants.”

Keating, Faucheux, Barbara and Chip Hicks were unavailable for comment.