Company addresses river noise concerns

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 17, 2010



EDGARD – Complaints of excessive noise and dust from barges conducting transfers along the Mississippi River in St. John Parish were addressed Tuesday during the Parish Council meeting in Edgard.

Edgard residents Hillary and Myrtle Bossier have complained to the parish about late-night noises and dust coming from ships docked near their west bank home. The couple said the noise had been continuing to escalate over recent months, but finally started to decline after the parish began investigating the complaints.

“It was all hours of the night and just about every night,” Hillary Bossier said. “Loud banging sounds and loud speaker announcements. It had slacked off considerably, but there was a return once back in June and again on July 4.”

David Fennelly, president of Associated Terminals, a stevedoring company that handles ships running through the Port of South Louisiana, addressed the complaints Tuesday and discussed changes made to limit the noise.

Fennelly told the council he and other representatives from the company had spent time working with community members in Edgard living near the docks to assess issues and determine solutions that favor both sides. He said the company has taken steps to disable a public address system at their Reserve facility. The company is also working to determine which vessels, if any, can be moved to other locations so that they are less of a nuisance.

“We are an open-door, open-book operation,” Fennelly said. “If any resident has any reason to complain about noise, boat movements, or any other problem, we urge them to call the company offices or stop in to talk face to face. Anyone is open to examine what is being done and what is being loaded and unloaded on any given boat docked in Reserve at any given time.”

The Bossiers, who live about 300 feet from the west bank levee, said they are still concerned about dust blowing over their house. They have also asked the parish to look at the parish noise ordinance to see if there is anything else that can be done. Public works director Clifford Bailey has been investigating the issue for the parish.