News

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Thank You Ginger Ford, A Garden District Original

They say that the tree of loving

Shine on me again

They say it grows on the bank of the river of suffering

Shine on me again, and

Weave, weave, weave me the sunshine out of the falling rain

Weave me the hope of a new tomorrow, fill my cup again…

Weave Me the Sunshine, 1972

Folk artists Peter, Paul and Mary

The Garden District of Baton Rouge is so fortunate to have as a fellow resident, Ginger Ford, our very own weaver of sunshine.  Since the early months of Covid-imposed restrictions, Ginger has been providing a daily dose of sunshine and smiles with her free homegrown flower bouquets, which she sets out every morning on the sidewalk in front of her home.  Ginger’s kind gesture has lifted our spirits and exemplifies that touch of humanity that we all need during these trying, uncertain times.

Ginger has lived in the Garden District for sixty-six years. Her mother, herself an avid gardener, instilled a love of gardening in Ginger from an early age.  Ginger says that there are many positive aspects of gardening, including it being great exercise.  Ginger says that “gardening is peaceful and rewarding.  It’s yoga, church and gym all rolled into one.”

While strolling along Camelia Ave., it’s hard to miss Ginger’s garden. Every square foot of ground, from the street curb to the steps of her house, is filled with a variety of plants and whimsical yard art that would make a botanical garden envious. The fragrances and kaleidoscopic colors are like a Monet painting come to life.  When asked what her favorite plant is, Ginger replied that the question is impossible to answer as she loves them all.  Her oldest plant is a rescued bougainvillea that she found tossed to the curb by a neighbor.  It is over 60 years old! In addition to the many flowers she nurtures, Ginger also loves growing vegetables with greens, cantaloup, and okra being her favorites.

When asked what inspired her idea of the free flower give-away, Ginger stated that “gardening is a great avenue to learn, and apply repurposing and recycling.”

Ginger has seen many changes in the Garden District over the years.  She feels that the renovation of so many of the old homes has been a positive thing and a huge benefit to the neighborhood.  On the other hand, the deterioration and decline of the old live oak trees sadden her.  Ginger says that the live oaks along Drehr and Cherokee streets were planted by Mr Alvin Drehr and his family.  She said that Mr. Alvin gave his daughter, Mildred, the job of watering the planted seedlings.  Mildred would haul buckets of water in her wagon each day after school and ladle water onto every seedling.  Wow, what a commitment, and what an inspiring result!

When Ginger was asked if there is a local organization or a cause dear to her heart that folks could contribute to as a way of paying her kindness forward, she stated that she would like to see a marker erected thanking the Drehr family for their forward-thinking and beautification efforts in the neighborhood. Their planting of what would become these majestic oaks deserves recognition as the benefits of these established trees inure to the benefit of all.

Ginger says, ”If more people gardened, the world would be more peaceful and there would be more respect for our environment.”

So, to our weaver of sunshine, many, many thanks and blessing upon you for bringing such joy and that shot of daily happiness to your neighbors in the Garden District.

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Claire PittmanThank You Ginger Ford, A Garden District Original
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Voting in 70806

There have been many questions about voting in EBR during this election year. From the Secretary of States Office: The primary purpose of this election is for voters in Louisiana to voice their preference for the President of the United States, to fill one of Louisiana’s U.S. Senatorial seats and all six of Louisiana’s U.S. Congressional seats for the 117th Congress. In addition, there are seven Louisiana Constitutional Amendments and one statewide proposition. Some parishes will also have various state, municipal, special, and/or proposition elections.Here is some helpful information to reference.

If you are unsure if you are registered to vote, visit Vote.org to check the status of your voter registration. It takes 2-3 minutes.

If you will be voting in-person at a polling place, please review the CDC’s Recommendations on Protecting Yourself and Your Family. Wear a mask and keep your distance.

Important Dates

Election day

Tuesday, Nov. 3. 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM
Dufrocq Elementary School, 330 S 19th St, Baton Rouge, LA 70806

Absentee Ballot

Request: Received by Oct. 30
Return by mail: Received by Nov. 2 by 4:30 p.m.
Return in person: Nov. 2 by 4:30 p.m.

Early Voting

Oct. 16 – Oct. 27, 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM for each day of early voting

BATON ROUGE CITY HALL
222 ST LOUIS ST, ROOM 607
BATON ROUGE, LA 70802

LOUISIANA STATE ARCHIVES BLDG
3851 ESSEN LANE
BATON ROUGE, LA 70809

2020 Sample Ballot 70806

Par Guide to 2020 Constitutional Amendments

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Claire PittmanVoting in 70806
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LET’S HALLOWEEN SAFELY

Halloween is on with warnings to take precautions and be safe. Trick-or-treat hours for the City of Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parish are set for 6:00-8:00 p.m. Saturday, October 31, 2020.

MAYOR BROOME ON CELEBRATING HALLOWEEN 2020 IN EBR

BATON ROUGE, La. — October 14, 2020 — East Baton Rouge Parish is on the right path to slowing the spread of the coronavirus, and we must work together to ensure we continue on this path. With that said, I encourage our residents to use good judgement when it comes to celebrating holidays like Halloween.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) considers traditional trick-or-treating or costume parties to be “high-risk” activities during this pandemic. We recommend participating in modified, open-air events, where everyone can keep their distance and wear face coverings.

If you do choose to participate in traditional events, please remember to wear a face covering, practice social-distancing, and wash your hands when you get home.

CDC’s Recommendations for Safe Alternatives to Holiday Festivities

Lower risk activities

These lower risk activities can be safe alternatives:

  • Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household and displaying them
  • Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends
  • Decorating your house, apartment, or living space
  • Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while they walk outdoors from house to house admiring Halloween decorations at a distance
  • Having a virtual Halloween costume contest
  • Having a Halloween movie night with people you live with
  • Having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house

Moderate risk activities

  • Participating in one-way trick-or-treating where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to grab and go while continuing to social distance (such as at the end of a driveway or at the edge of a yard)
    • If you are preparing goodie bags, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 second before and after preparing the bags.
  • Having a small group, outdoor, open-air costume parade where people are distanced more than 6 feet apart
    Attending a costume party held outdoors where protective masks are used and people can remain more than 6 feet apart

    • A costume mask (such as for Halloween) is not a substitute for a cloth mask. A costume mask should not be used unless it is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around the face.
    • Do not wear a costume mask over a protective cloth mask because it can be dangerous if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe. Instead, consider using a Halloween-themed cloth mask.
  • Going to an open-air, one-way, walk-through haunted forest where appropriate mask use is enforced, and people can remain more than 6 feet apart
    • If screaming will likely occur, greater distancing is advised. The greater the distance, the lower the risk of spreading a respiratory virus.
  • Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples, wearing masks is encouraged or enforced, and people are able to maintain social distancing
  • Having an outdoor Halloween movie night with local family friends with people spaced at least 6 feet apart
    • If screaming will likely occur, greater distancing is advised. The greater the distance, the lower the risk of spreading a respiratory virus.
    • Lower your risk by following CDC’s recommendations on hosting gatherings or cook-outs.

Higher risk activities

Avoid these higher risk activities to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19:

  • Participating in traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door to door
  • Having trunk-or-treat where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots
  • Attending crowded costume parties held indoors
  • Going to an indoor haunted house where people may be crowded together and screaming
  • Going on hayrides or tractor rides with people who are not in your household
  • Using alcohol or drugs, which can cloud judgement and increase risky behaviors
  • Traveling to a rural fall festival that is not in your community if you live in an area with community spread of COVID-19
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Claire PittmanLET’S HALLOWEEN SAFELY
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Hurricane Delta: Be Prepared!

From the City of Baton Rouge

HURRICANE DELTA PREPARATIONS

Neighbors,

We are monitoring local weather conditions and the path of Hurricane Delta as the storm continues to develop, with landfall expected later this week.

While we have been through this exercise many times already this hurricane season, it is still critical to remain vigilant for this and every major storm that comes our way. Please take a look at your household emergency plan, update it as necessary, make sure everyone in your household knows and understands it, and include planning for your children, pets, and other vulnerable populations. Keep enough supplies on-hand for at least three days, secure loose items in your yard, fuel your vehicles and generators, and monitor our local radio and TV stations for the latest forecasts.

We have also updated our City-Parish emergency page with links to sand and sandbag locations, closure information, weather and stream gauge maps, energy outage maps, and more. Visit this page here and check back regularly for updates at brla.gov/emergency.

Remember to follow @RedStickReady on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for official, real-time updates from our Mayor’s Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness, or text “RedStickReady” to 225-243-9991 to opt in for informational text message updates.

We are still in the middle of a pandemic, so be sure to practice social distancing and wear a face covering while making any final preparations. Attached is a checklist of some additional tips to be prepared for the storm. For more information and planning resources, visit brla.gov/hurricaneprep.

Stay safe, everyone…

GATHER SUPPLIES FOR YOUR DISASTER KIT!

  • Have a 3 day supply for each person in your household.
  • Include medication, disinfectant supplies, cloth face coverings, personal hygiene items, personal identification, and pet supplies in your kit.

PREPARE YOUR HOME!

  • Trim or remove damaged trees and limbs.
  • secure loose items and clear gutters.
  • Fuel your vehicles, generators, and gas cans. Consider purchasing a portable generator and additional gas cans.
  • Check your insurance coverage. Keep a copy with you – paper or electronic.

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Claire PittmanHurricane Delta: Be Prepared!
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Welcome to the Neighborhood!

Did you know that the Garden District has a Welcome Committee?  New residents are greeted at their homes by a Garden District board member and presented with a welcome canvas bag featuring our neighborhood logo designed by a former Garden District resident containing a bottle of bubbly and a welcome letter from the GDCA president that welcomes new residents and encourages them to get involved with our civic association. Joining the Garden District Civic Association is so easy and benefits the new resident as well as our neighborhood.

Anne Trapp, Welcome Committee Chair, says, “Being on the Board and greeting new neighbors has been enjoyable and fulfilling.  I am constantly reminded of the positive and unique neighborhood where we live.”

If you’re new to the Garden District, we hope you look forward to many enjoyable years here, and we would love if you consider becoming a Garden District Civic Association member.

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Claire PittmanWelcome to the Neighborhood!
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October is Alley Month

The Baton Rouge Department of Maintenance would like to put the Garden District alleys on a regular maintenance schedule. This first involves the residents along the alleys first removing any trash and debris from the alley as well as cutting back vegetation. The City will cut overhead tree limbs that hinder the passage of garbage trucks and emergency vehicles. Residents should move junk, trash and debris to the right-of-way, next to the street for Republic trucks to pick up. Remember not to put the pile under low hanging branches or too close to tree trunks. The Grabber won’t be able to get to it safely. Also, on Tuesday, don’t have a car parked in front of your pile. The truck won’t be able to reach it.

During inspections of the alley, Mike Schexnayder, chair of the GDCA Alley Committee, and Mary Fontenot, GDCA Secretary, found that many alleys were overgrown. Some were wildly overgrown with invasive bamboo, while others had beautiful plants, but they narrowed the alley too much, making it difficult for trucks to maneuver. If we want Republic to use our alleys, we are going to have to make them wide enough and clear enough, so they can be traversed. We certainly want them cleared enough for fire engines. Hopefully one will not be needed.

The Department of Maintenance is also planning to address drainage and surfaces, but that is a subject for another newsletter.

Please plan on cleaning your alley some Saturday in October. Many blocks have Block Captains who will be contacting residents. Please help your block this October and keep your alley in good shape all year.

 

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Claire PittmanOctober is Alley Month
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September 2020 Drainage Update

Drainage Problems in the Garden District

Tom Douthat, who moved here in 2017, noticed the drainage problems in his first few months in the Garden District. He is an Environmental Law professor at LSU. His house was swamped in the June 6th deluge in 2019, so he had incentive to look into the matter. Other neighbors and a meeting with the Mayor and Fred Raiford, Director of Drainage, supplied Tom with background information and updates. Tom explained to the GDCA Board what is happening.

Much of the Garden District drains to Dawson’s Creek near Catholic High School, but there is more water entering EBR’s drainage system than there used to be. When the water level gets high enough in Dawson’s Creek it submerges the outfall from our neighborhood and acts as a dam effectively preventing our neighborhood from draining. This is called a hydraulic dam, and it may be exacerbated by culverts on Broussard St. and Hundred Oaks Ave., which EBR is seeking federal funds to replace with bridges that would allow more outflow. Culverts have been working as dams and need to be fixed. Our water can’t get to Dawson’s Creek. The pipes aren’t large enough. This a principle theory why the water backs up in our neighborhood but then drains quickly once the water levels in Dawson’s Creek decline. Another possibility is that some localized drainage pipes in the neighborhood are too small, but the city does not currently have an inventory and map of its drains. Nobody knows the diameter of all of the pipes taking water out of the Garden District.  A map and model is being developed under the Stormwater Masterplan.

Part of the solution is more storage throughout Baton Rouge to slow the entry of stormwater into the larger drainage system and thus prevent our stormwater outfall into Dawson’s Creek from becoming dammed. There is no quick fix to this issue. Strategies to address are more difficult and more expensive in older areas like ours. The Department of Public Works and the Mayor’s Office are aware of the problem and the issue has been flagged for the consultants developing the EBR Stormwater Master Plan, and a commitment was made to hire an engineer to review this issue over the next months. There are additional federal funds that the city is pursuing that would be used to address this issue is awarded.

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Claire PittmanSeptember 2020 Drainage Update
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2020 U.S.. Census

2020 U.S. Census

The U.S. Government conducts a census every ten years as mandated by Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution. A new census will be conducted this year beginning April 1, 2020.  The 2020 Census counts the population in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories (Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands). Each home will be asked to respond to a questionnaire—online, by phone, or by mail. Households will be able to respond to the census online for the first time this year.

In a New Year’s Day commentary, the Baton Rouge Advocate editorial staff state succinctly the reasons for the census and the importance of each household’s participation.  We have include a link to the editorial piece for your reading pleasure. 

https://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/opinion/our_views/article_60b15618-21f4-11ea-b1bc-c79e72c7ccc2.html

Your Garden District Civic Association will be providing additional information regarding the census and the need for census takers in upcoming newsletters.

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jcwproductions2020 U.S.. Census
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Powderpost Beetles

The word “termites” can strike fear in a homeowner and for good reason.  The damage their voracious appetite can cause to wooden structures can be devastating. But did you know that the powderpost beetle can cause as much damage as those dreaded termites.  A Garden District resident recently discovered their subfloors had been infested with powderpost beetles and had to undertake an extensive repair job to floors and subfloors to eradicate the damage inflicted on their home. 

We are providing information on this menace to give homeowners something to reference when discussing possible infestation with your exterminator and an idea of what to look for to spot the potential presence of the beetle.

The following information regarding powderpost beetles is taken from the Terminix website.

Powderpost” is the descriptive name given to several different species of wood-boring beetles that can infest homes. These insects lay their eggs in the pores of wood. Their larvae then hatch from the eggs, feeding on the wood and creating a series of tunnels as they go.

Eventually, the larvae will mature into pupae and then adult beetles. Once the insects reach adulthood, they tunnel their way out of the wood, leaving behind a tiny exit hole. This life cycle can take two to five years to complete, meaning the larvae are literally eating the wood in your home for years.

Like termites, some powderpost beetles will feed on hardwoods — such as oak, ash, walnut, bamboo and hickory — and softwoods like pine. As the frames from most homes are built from softwoods, certain species of powderpost beetles can cause structural damage to houses.

Other species of powderpost beetles will only eat hardwood, but that doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. While you may not see structural damage from these species, it is possible to discover infestations in wood paneling, crown molding, window and door frames, plywood, hardwood floors or furniture.

How Do I Know If I Have an Infestation?

Short of actually laying eyes on a powderpost beetle, one of the only ways to know that you have a problem is to see the frass they leave behind. Frass is a mixture of powderpost beetle larvae excrement and miniscule wood particles that falls out of the exit holes the adult insects make as they emerge.

Depending on the species of beetle, the frass can either be extremely fine — like flour or baby powder — or slightly gritty like cornmeal. The best way to determine whether the residue you find in your home is a result of powderpost beetle damage or the work of another insect is to arrange for an inspection by a trained pest control professional who will better be able to identify the culprit.

How to Treat Powderpost Beetles

There are DIY treatment methods that you can find online, but the effectiveness of these is hard to gauge, making them risky solutions. Because of this, it’s best to consider a professional pest control service provider.

What Does Powderpost Beetle Treatment Cost?

Fortunately, because treatments are customized to your situation, there’s not an exact number for how much treatment will cost. The final figure will depend on factors such as where in the country you live, the size of your home, location and extent of the activity. Additionally, it’s possible that repairs will be needed to address powderpost beetle damage, which can further increase the final price tag.

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Claire PittmanPowderpost Beetles
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2019 Champagne Stroll

The Garden District Civic Association’s annual fall Champagne Stroll was held Sunday, October 27, under a perfect autumn sky.  The stroll offered chilled champagne and scrumptious eats at each host home, and live entertainment at our final stop. Four Chambongs, donated by GDCA board member and owner of Red Cake Events, Mrs. Heather Day, were raffled off at each stop of the stroll .  GDCA members as well as neighbors and friends from within and outside the neighborhood participated in the stroll.  We were elated to meet new residents of the Garden District who have recently relocated here from as far away as Boise, Idaho and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Welcome to the neighborhood!!

The homes featured by this year’s stroll highlighted various styles of architecture that make our Garden District neighborhood such a unique and sought after place to live.  Our first stop, a Greek revival-style home was hosted by owners Catherine and Jeff Russell who greeted strollers on their lovely front porch.  Sweet and savory hors d’oeuvres were generously provided by Robert Johnson and Rick Vallet. At our second stop, a mid-century modern ranch, homeowners Mindy and Luke Piontek, greeted strollers with champagne, appetizers and mini muffulettas provided by Cannetella’s Italian Grocery. The third stop was the quintessential, craftsman bungalow-style home of Beth Floyd and Steven Barker.  Is there anything more inviting than a bungalow’s front porch?  Beth and Steven welcomed strollers onto their comfortable front porch and offered tasty appetizers provided by Bet R Supermarket and Trader Joe’s.  We are very fortunate to have such generous local businesses here in Baton Rouge!  The final stop of the stroll was hosted by Flo and Bill Rodman at their Dutch Colonial-style home.  Participants gathered in the huge backyard for some of Bill’s scrumptious jambalaya, more champagne and world class entertainment provided by the duet of Carly Vicknair and partner.

Once again, the annual champagne stroll was a huge success.  The GDCA would like to express our sincerest gratitude to our hosts Catherine and Jeff Russell, Mindy and Luke Piontek, Beth Floyd and Steven Barker and Flo and Bill Rodman.  Also a huge thank you to our local businesses who donated all the delicious foods including Robert Johnson and Rick Vallet, Cannetella’s Italian GroceryBet R Supermarket and Trader Joe’s.  And finally a huge thank you to Anne Trapp, our GDCA board member and organizer of this year’s stroll.  We appreciate all of your hard work to make this activity a success. 

Social Media and marketing were provided by Eolas LLC.

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Claire Pittman2019 Champagne Stroll