Clean it up!

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 20, 2011



LAPLACE – Scores of volunteers once again took to the streets of St. John the Baptist Parish Saturday in an effort to spruce up roadways and clean up litter.

The parish’s annual Clean Sweep campaign, now in its fourth year, serves as the culmination of Keep St. John Beautiful events throughout the month of April. Volunteers from all parts of the parish came out in droves Saturday to pitch in some time picking up trash.

“We had ordered enough supplies to equip about 300 people, and all of it was gone by the time the last groups left to clean in the morning,” said Clean Sweep organizer Dana Milioto. “It was definitely the best turnout yet.”

Volunteers began the day at 8:30 a.m. with a meet up at Highway 51 Park, where they were given assignments. Milioto said there were also church groups in Reserve, Garyville and the west bank that organized separate meetings to avoid having to travel into LaPlace. She said one group, led by New Wine Christian Fellowship Pastor Neil Bernard, went above and beyond just picking up litter.

“They had weed eaters and grass cutters out in some areas,” Milioto said. “They really went all out.”

St. John District Attorney Tom Daley, who is regularly involved in the Clean Sweep activities, said his group actually encountered less trash than in previous years.

“I cleaned the same areas I did last year, and there is much less litter,” Daley said. “That is actually really good news because it shows our efforts are working.”

After more than two hours of trash picking, the volunteers made their way back to the park for free food, drinks and music.

Milioto said prior to the Clean Sweep, inmate crews from the St. John Sheriff’s Office swept through the eastbound and westbound lanes of Airline Highway from the New Wine facility to Walnut Street picking up trash along the busy street so volunteers could concentrate on neighborhoods

and other areas where litter is a regular problem.

The local effort is one of many throughout the state and nation that are a part of Keep America Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup Day. Keep St. John Beautiful annually receives a grant from Keep Louisiana Beautiful Inc. to help pay for supplies and advertisements for Clean Sweep activities.