Giving Back: Participation by the hundreds sought

Published 7:27 am Wednesday, March 25, 2015

LAPLACE — St. John the Baptist Parish has the opportunity to come together as a community to remove litter in an effort to promote Keep St. John Beautiful Month in April.

Individuals are challenged to take a greater responsibility in improving their community’s environment.

The ninth annual Spring Clean Sweep takes place from 8:30 a.m. to noon April 11 across the parish, with Thomas F. Daley Memorial Park on Highway 51 in LaPlace serving as a staging and celebration center.

The Clean Sweep committee has assigned volunteer groups specific areas in which to clean and is encouraging more individuals, church groups and service organizations to join in the effort.

These coordinated cleans sweeps take place each spring and fall in St. John the Baptist Parish.

Sheriff Mike Tregre said deputies and the Sheriff’s Office do their part to assist each Clean Sweep effort.

Tregre said he takes different routes to work on purpose to gauge whether or not an area is in need of clean-up assistance. If an area requires special attention, Tregre said parish inmates are sent to address the issue.

“First impressions are critical,” Tregre said. “I tell my men this often. When I see them, I want to see shined shoes. First impressions are critical.”

Tregre said the Sheriff’s Office would continue, as it has in the past, to participate by providing traffic assistance at the clean up.

“The successes of our clean up efforts are attributed to our volunteers,” Parish Communication Director Paige Falgoust said. “Normally, there are around 300 volunteers that participate, but this year we are hoping to see more. It would be wonderful to have a crowd of 500 volunteers for this year’s event.”

Supplies such as trash bags, safety vests, trash pickers, gloves and more will be distributed at 8:30 a.m. at the park April 11. Unfortunately, Falgoust said, supplies will not be provided in advance.

“Participants are asked to register for this event online,” she said. “We are asking for volunteers in numbers by the hundreds.”

To get involved, call Dana Milioto at 985-652-9569 or log on at

Parish Public Information Officer Baileigh Rebowe said residents should be focused on the bigger picture, as Clean Sweep is not just one community on a mission, but collaboration with the Keeping America Beautiful Campaign.

“St. John is on the right track, focusing on Keep America and Keep Louisiana Beautiful by holding twice-a-year Clean Sweep events, Household Hazardous Materials Collection Day (April 18), Leaders Against Litter and, certainty, individual reasonability of maintaining their environment,” Rebowe said.

Following April 11’s Clean Sweep efforts, organizers plan to hold a dedication to Thomas F. Daley at noon at the park. Daley gave 30 years of public service to St. John before passing away earlier this year. He was a longtime proponent of community clean-up efforts.

Daley was the organizer of the anti-litter campaign known today as Keep St. John Beautiful and well known as an advocate for tree planting. Daley also worked with the Hike for KaTREEna organization after Hurricane Isaac, replanting the flood-ravaged community of St. John.

At the end the day to celebrate a great parish-wide cleanup effort, volunteers and groups are welcomed back to the park for food and drinks. Residents and businesses are encouraged to adopt areas to clean and continue beautification efforts throughout the year.

— By Gladys Davis Mulkey