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Latest News and Updates

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Need a Free Tree??

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The Garden District Civic Association received a grant from the MidCity Redevelopment Authority for a neighborhood project. Since we’ve lost some trees in recent years to wind, ice, and Father Time, we decided it was time for a tree planting throughout the neighborhood. We partnered with Baton Rouge Green and got some free consultation from resident landscape architects to choose a variety of native species. There are small, medium, and large tree options.

So, if you want a free tree, fill out this form

If you don’t want a tree but are interested in volunteering for the tree planting, you should fill out the form as well.

The form closes on October 6th.

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jcwproductionsNeed a Free Tree??
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Spotlight: Our Garden District Neighbors

The Advocate recently published an article on our famous gardener and environmentalist, Ginger Ford. She is doing her part to create habitat for pollinators and has planted 29 gardens, most of which dot the corners on Camellia Avenue. Read more about her here

If you would like to spotlight someone in the neighborhood, please let us know. We’d love to share your story with our neighbors.


                                   

We’ve had a few new additions to the neighborhood. A few GDCA board members have recently had new babies. Meet EvaKate Fields and Sadie Gremillion! 

EvaKate is 10 months old and is in the 99th percentile for height, 93rd percentile for weight, and 98th percentile for head circumference! That’s one big baby! She loves singing “Old McDonald” and playing peek-aboo, and can say mama, dada, and baba (bottle). Her parents Isabella and Clayton are “having so much fun watching her grow.” Clayton has served on the GDCA board since April of 2022.  

Sadie, 6 months old, is 16 pounds and is 26 inches tall. She recently learned to sit up on her own, and is actively trying to eat everything. She loves going to the aquarium and has already made a best friend at daycare. Her parents are Steven and Ashley Gremillion, who long for a full night’s sleep. Ashley has served on the GDCA board since April of 2022 and is currently serving in the role of vice president. 

If you would like to spotlight your child or someone in your family, please let us know. We’d love to share your story with our neighbors.





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Jacob LuneauSpotlight: Our Garden District Neighbors
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Mid City Redevelopment Alliance’s Mid City Neighborhood Challenge

“The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.”

Every year, the Mid City Redevelopment Alliance’s Mid City Neighborhood Challenge offers $1,000 to neighborhood groups for resident-led projects focused on improving their own neighborhood. This year, the GDCA was awarded $1,000 this year to undertake a native tree planting effort throughout the neighborhood!

In the past several years, the Garden District lost many canopy trees due to ice, wind, and father time. Because trees provide numerous benefits such as reduced temperatures, stormwater management, improved air quality, and improved mental health, the GDCA, in partnership with Baton Rouge Green and the Mid-City Redevelopment Alliance, is undertaking a volunteer tree-planting project to fill in existing canopy gaps in our neighborhood. 

The GDCA will soon be soliciting homeowners who want a native tree planted in front of their house. If demand exceeds funding, the GDCA will prioritize locations based on the lack of existing tree canopy and spatial distribution throughout the neighborhood. The chosen homeowners will then consult with our resident landscape architects regarding tree type and location. The planting will take place this fall through a coordinated volunteer effort. 

Stay tuned for more info!

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Jacob LuneauMid City Redevelopment Alliance’s Mid City Neighborhood Challenge
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Summer/August Crime Update

Here’s the most recent update from our police officer that monitors the neighborhood, Corporal Seth Gauthier:

In July, there were 8 major incidents. There were 3 vehicle thefts on 7/11, 7/20 and 7/23 where vehicles were taken from residences in the Garden District. Two separate events occurred during the evening of 7/27 and the morning of 7/28–there were 5 vehicle burglaries within close proximity in the neighborhood, and these are being associated with a single/group of suspects. Force was used in these vehicle burglaries to gain entry into the vehicles and valuables were taken in several of these incidents. 

Cpl. S.D. Gauthier, Baton Rouge Police Department

As always, in case of an emergency, contact 911 for immediate assistance. If it is a non-emergency, but Police are needed, you can contact the BRPD Police Dispatch Center at 225-389-2000. If you would like to pass information to Cpl. Gauthier or the other Patrol Officers, you can contact Justin Kozak at [email protected] or Ted Magee at [email protected], and they will forward that information to Cpl. Gauthier and the other officers.

Remember to cover the basics – lock your car doors, don’t leave things in plain view, and don’t leave anything of value inside your vehicle, such as purses or firearms. If you have a security camera installed, it’s amazing how much the footage collected can help officers at times. Also, report street light outages and other safety issues through the Red Stick Ready website or app. Stay safe!  



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Jacob LuneauSummer/August Crime Update
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Photos: 2023 Easter Egg Hunt

Kids from around the neighborhood gathered earlier this April on a sunny Sunday afternoon to find over 700 Easter Eggs!

We give a special thanks to Kathryn Mount for organizing the event and to all our members whose dues make these events possible.

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Jacob LuneauPhotos: 2023 Easter Egg Hunt
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2023 GDCA Annual Meeting Recap

On Sunday, February 25, The Garden District Civic Association (GDCA) held its annual meeting at Leola’s, with nearly 40 in attendance. Speakers, including GDCA President Justin Kozak, Councilwoman Carolyn Coleman, Public Service Commissioner Davante Lewis, BREC, and CSRS, primarily focused on the neighborhood’s notorious flooding, the potential rezoning of Barracuda Taco Stand, and an update on the University Lakes Project.

Helmed by board member Hance Hughes, the Stop the GD Flooding campaign has had significant momentum in its genesis, having already met with the City of Baton Rouge (City) and initiated a study of our water lines. CES trucks have started running cameras in lines at Park and Tulip and will unclog if necessary. The City plans to survey the lines on Cherokee and Tulip to identify the root cause. “While it’s disheartening that much of our community continues to experience devastation, I’m encouraged that the City has moved swifter than expected,” Hughes said. “We remain vigilant and optimistic that we can come to a sustainable solution.” Everyone is encouraged to send photos of flooding – both past and (potentially) future – to the campaign’s Instagram account.

The concern about the rezoning proposal for the St. Rose lot behind Barracuda Taco Stand is directly connected to our flooding. Currently, the residential dirt lot is being used as unofficial parking for the new outdoor restaurant, and the City recommends rezoning it commercially for a parking lot. Barracuda owner Brett Jones has secured alternative options for parking elsewhere because he, in congruence with the GDCA, agrees that not only will a commercial concrete lot set a bad precedent for future businesses in our walkable community, it will exacerbate our flooding issues. The GDCA has presented an opposition letter to the City and plans to meet with its leaders soon. 

Other updates

Councilwoman Coleman has spoken with Fred Raiford, director of transportation for the City of Baton Rouge, about the neighborhood’s drainage issues and will provide updates following last month’s meeting. She also asked attendees to contact her office for help if they ever have problems with 311.

Commissioner Lewis previewed multiple updates coming to our inbox related to energy and water bills. We can expect a slight increase in our water bills to build up an emergency fund. Also, Entergy plans to add a $5.50 Disaster Ida fee to our accounts for the next 15 years. Finally, he shared that there are intentional efforts from his office to provide alternative energy sources to Entergy for the community.

Reed Richard of BREC and Mark Goodson of CSRS shared that Phase 1 of the University Lakes Project should begin in late Spring. Our neighborhood and adjoining areas can expect minimal delays once the project kicks off. BREC is partnering with the City to develop watersheds and a greenway from Dalrymple to Downtown Baton Rouge.

Get Involved

Water plants – The neighborhood sign at Park Boulevard/Government has been raised in height, and the soil improved. There will soon be new landscaping with native plants, and we need consistent support with its watering. 

Maintain the alleys – Potholes, poor lighting, and overgrown vegetation are the biggest problems in the alley. We ask neighbors to assist with keeping it clean and cut back. Doing so helps with safety and utility services. You can read more about our alleyways and how we can keep them clean and safe. 

Protect the live oaks – Kimberly Coffey and The Live Oak Love Collective have made beautiful gains in getting sections of Park Blvd cleaned up and beautified. We hope to improve the medians on Cherokee/Park and Kleinert/Terrace next, but we need neighbors to pitch in support. 

Contact us at [email protected] to volunteer and learn more ways you can get involved in our community.

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Jacob Luneau2023 GDCA Annual Meeting Recap
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Stop the Garden District Flooding Update

What we learned at City Hall?

Members of GDCA Drainage Committee and Garden District residents met with Fred Raiford, EBR Director of the Department of Transportation and Drainage, and the Stormwater Master Plan project team February 16, 2022 at City Hall. They are aware and acknowledge that there are problems with drainage and flooding in the Garden District. According to engineers, the drainage system models show that the neighborhood should not be experiencing problems if our system is functioning properly. Therefore, they have reason to believe that there might be a localized problem in the subsurface drainage system.

Step One is to identify the unknown problem(s)

The City is sending their subcontractor, CES, to survey the subsurface drainage lines on Cherokee and Tulip to identify the problem. CES trucks have been seen in the area. If lines are clogged, they plan to unclog them. If there is no infrastructure problem identified, the city has agreed to pay the funding to HNTB engineers to design the solution. As of today, we have not heard from the City and HNTB on what has been discovered during the survey or identification of the problem.

If the problem requires infrastructure work, there is no funding for the construction of the solution. Funding would come from a grant; the application is due by the end of May. Grant qualification requires information on the homes that have experienced property damage.

WHAT YOU CAN DO!

PROPERTY DAMAGE? LET US KNOW!

If you or someone you know has experienced flooding in the Garden District, please complete the Stop the Garden District from Flooding: Photo/Doc Submission form and submit photos. If you have trouble uploading your photos/videos because of the size, please email a link to [email protected]. The City needs this information to apply for funding to fix the problem!

SHARE & TAG

Follow us on Instagram @StoptheGDFlooding. Share your photos of flooding so your story is heard.

BE PART OF THE SOLUTION

  • Help determine what is happening. Get active if there are problems on your block.
  • Do NOT blow leaves and grass clippings in the street or drains.
  • Bag leaves and grass debris.
  • Ask your neighbors and their lawn service providers to stop blowing leaves and grass clippings in the street.
  • Pick up litter.

Follow us on INSTAGRAM @STOPTHEGDFLOODING

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Claire PittmanStop the Garden District Flooding Update
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December/January Crime Update

Here’s the most recent update from Mike and our police officer that monitors the neighborhood, Corporal Seth Gauthier:

The Garden District experienced five significant security incidents in the month of December.

  • Vehicle Theft on Olive. The vehicle was left unsecured with the keys inside.
  • Burglary of a dwelling on Broussard. The homeowner was present at the time.
  • Burglary of a dwelling on Park. No other pertinent information is available.
  • Vehicle Burglary on Drehr. Vehicle was unsecured but nothing was taken.
  • Vehicle Burglary on Olive. Vehicle was unsecured and a pistol was taken.

There were multiple other false alarm calls along with suspicious incidents.

Of course, it goes without saying that valuables should not be left unsecured—especially firearms. Criminals love to “cruise” the neighborhood and pull on door handles in search of easy crimes of opportunity. If a purse or a firearm or some other valuable item is visible, they’re going to work a lot harder to steal it.

Also, report street light outages and other safety issues through the Red Stick Ready website or app. Stay safe! 

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Jacob LuneauDecember/January Crime Update
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2023 GDCA Annual Events

Get ready for 2023 around the Garden District. In line with our mission to build community, we have another exciting year of events planned for our friends and neighbors. We’ll kick off the year at our Annual Meeting in just a few weeks, and we’ll announce those details as soon as we finalize the date and location.

Check out the dates for the other upcoming events and mark your calendars.

GDCA Annual Public Meeting
Sunday, February 26th

Easter Egg Hunt
Sunday, April 2nd

Crawfish Boil
Sunday, April 30th

Fall Picnic
Sunday, October 1st

Champagne Stroll
Sunday, October 22nd

Christmas Light Contest Judging
Thursday, December 14th

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Jacob Luneau2023 GDCA Annual Events
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Live Oak Love in 2023

We’re looking for our next block to target for tree maintenance! The optimal block would have one or more households that care enough about this initiative that they’d be willing to donate funds for a couple of trees. At the end of 2022, we nearly had a successful fundraising campaign for a block in the GD, but we didn’t quite meet our goal. So we’ll keep trying! If you know of a block that might have this level of interest, please let us know!

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Jacob LuneauLive Oak Love in 2023