News

October Security Report

Crime still appears to be low in the Garden District following the arrests this summer. There were only a few anonymous suspicious incidents for September and October, but none had any substance to them. However, it is still great that residents are calling in these incidents so at least it puts an Officer visible in the area for the time it takes them to respond to the call. There were a few thefts of unsecured tools and lawn care items for October but these appear to be more of crimes of opportunities and not a serial issue. See below for a synopsis of recent reports in the Garden District Area for September & October:

 

  • 9/16/18 a resident at Park Bl. reported their vehicle had been burglarized within the  past week. A firearm was taken. There was no forced entry to the vehicle to gain entry by the suspect because the resident left his vehicle unlocked with the firearm inside all week long. 
  • 10/4/18 a resident at Tulip Street reported a vehicle burglary at 1213 hours. The vehicle was left unlocked overnight and the victim’s wallet was stolen.
  • 10/9/18 the resident reported a window had been pried open between 10/8/18 and 10/9/18. Multiple power tools had been stolen from inside the home that was under construction.
  • 10/17/18 at approximately 1729 hours the resident at Wisteria Street reported their leaf blower had been stolen from their flatbed trailer within the past hour.
  • 10/20/18 at 0123 hours Police responded and shut down a loud party at Park Bl.
  • Between 10/20/18 at 2000 hours and 10/21/18 at 1400 hours the resident’s truck was stolen from Oleander Street. It was recovered at Government Street on 10/24/18. The truck had been abandoned at that location for a few days.
  • 10/22/18 at 0929 hours the resident at Cherokee Ave reported their vehicle had been burglarized between 10/20/18 and 10/22/18. The vehicle was left unlocked and not checked in two days.
  • 10/29/18 a resident’s leaf blower was stolen from the bed of their truck at Wisteria Street at approximately 11:48 hours
  • 11/1/18 there was a suspicious male with a tan shirt knocking on doors begging for money at 1714 hours.
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John WilliamsOctober Security Report
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GDCA hosts the 2018 Champagne Stroll

The bottles were popping and champagne fizzing as participants of this year’s Garden District Champagne Stroll sashayed through our unique and beautiful neighborhood Sunday evening, October 28. Sixty-two of our neighbors and friends made their way from house to house in the gorgeous autumn weather to enjoy delectable eats, cold bubbly champagne and great camaraderie among old and new friends at four of our neighbor’s homes.

The champagne stroll would not be possible without the gracious hospitality of our Garden District homeowners who offer up their homes as landing spots for the group to gather, imbibe in a bit of the bubbly, ingest some noshes, and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. The homes and gardens on this year’s stroll were quintessential Garden District and so lovely decorated in fall decor. They provided the perfect backdrop for socializing and enjoying the delightful fall weather. At the last host home of the stroll, we were treated to a savory gumbo and live entertainment by the Gypsy Jazz Duo of Sue Aysen and Brent Melancon. What a perfect ending to a superb evening!

Our hospitable homeowners for this year’s stroll included; Britt and Claire Drummond, Christopher Suba, Eulis and Tammy Simien, and Rachel and Matt Stewart. We cannot thank these fine folks enough for accommodating our roving party and opening their homes to the festivities.

We also want to send thanks to Calandros Supermarket for donating the scrumptious sandwiches and cheese trays.

And finally, a humongous thank you to Greta Corona, GDCA board member, for organizing such a splendid activity for the neighborhood.

The Garden District Champagne Stroll is an annual fall event and is a wonderful way to meet new neighbors and enjoy the company of those you already know. Don’t miss out next year. Get your tickets early and come join us for a stroll among the beautiful live oaks and homes of our beloved neighborhood.

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John WilliamsGDCA hosts the 2018 Champagne Stroll
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Exercise Your Right to Vote – It’s Important

Autumn has finally made its’ way down to South Louisiana and brought some relief from the relentless summer heat (if only for a minute). It’s a time for football games, the World Series, weekends at the hunting camp, parish fairs, political campaigns and fall elections.

This year’s Open Primary/Congressional Election is Tuesday, November 6, 2018. Early voting begins Tuesday, October 23, and ends Tuesday, October 30.

The deadline for requesting a mail ballot from the Registrar (other than military and overseas) is Friday, November 2. The deadline for the Registrar to receive your voted mail ballot (other than military and overseas) is Monday, November 5.

The Garden District is included in Ward 1 Precinct 007 of East Baton Rouge Parish. Our voting location is Dufrocq Elementary School, 330 South 19th St.

We have a fairly lengthy ballot for the November 6 election that includes; Secretary of State, U.S Representative for the 6th Congressional District, City Judge City Court ES 2A, City Constable City Court and District 5 School Board member. There are also 6 Constitutional Amendments and a vote on authorizing fantasy sports contests (Act 322 of the 2018 Louisiana Legislature).

A sample ballot for our precinct can be viewed at the following La. Secretary of State Office website:
https://voterportal.sos.la.gov/SampleBallot

Constitutional Amendments can be confusing and hard to understand making it difficult to confidently cast a vote either for or against a particular amendment. To help you better decipher the intent of the proposed amendments, the Public Affairs Research Council Of Louisiana (PAR) publishes a Guide to the Constitutional Amendments. The guide provides an independent, non-partisan review of the six proposed amendments and the fantasy sports ballot item. It is an educational tool and does not suggest how you should vote on the amendments. The amendments are broken down individually in language that is easier to understand than the legal terminology used in the proposed amendments. You can access the PAR guide at the following website:
http://parlouisiana.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/PAR-Guide-to-2018-Constitutional-Amendments.pdf

If you don’t plan on voting early (October 23 through October 30), please take the time to walk or ride down to Dufrocq Elementary on November 6 and cast your vote. Take the kiddos along for an educational experience. Free elections are a privilege that we should not take for granted. It’s not cliche- your vote really does matter.

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John WilliamsExercise Your Right to Vote – It’s Important
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Garden District residents Hollie and Jason Falgoust open The Haven at 1857 Beauty and Aesthetics

The Garden District Civic Association is proud to spotlight The Haven at 1857 Beauty and Aesthetics, a new, locally-owned business.

Garden District residents Hollie and Jason Falgoust opened The Haven at 1857 Beauty and Aesthetics in September of this year. The day spa located at 1857 Government Street sits behind Circa 1857. The spa offers esthetic services (facials and waxing), hair services and massage therapy. They also sell professional skin and hair products, along with other spa items and gifts. They accept appointments and walk-ins.

Hollie, who is a Registered Nurse and Licensed Esthetician, says that it has been a long term goal to open her own business. Having the combined educational background and work experience, along with a passion for helping others led to opening the doors of The Haven at 1857 Beauty and Aesthetics.

In addition to Hollie, The Haven at 1857 Beauty and Aesthetics employs a hair stylist and a massage therapist. They strive to serve everyone in need of some pampering and relaxation.

Weekly and monthly specials and promotions are offered and Hollie encourages people to check their Instagram and Facebook for current specials.

The Haven at 1857 website is:
https://thehavenat1857.skincaretherapy.net/

Instagram and Facebook: The Haven at 1857

Phone number: 225-953-5762

Hollie states,”We would love for everyone to stop by and say hello. We are proud and excited to have a day spa so close to home, to accommodate Garden District, Midcity and all of BRís residents…and beyond. We offer a variety of services, including facials, waxing, hair services and massage therapy. We accept appointments, and walk-ins for those shopping at our neighboring stores. We have customizable gift certificates for those looking for gifts for family and friends. We also offer complimentary wine and beer for those receiving a service. Even if you want or need a little pampering and relaxation while shopping or on your lunch break, we can make that happen!”

The Garden District Civic Association is committed to making our members aware of the homegrown businesses in our neighborhood and encourages everyone to give Hollie and Jason a visit.

 

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John WilliamsGarden District residents Hollie and Jason Falgoust open The Haven at 1857 Beauty and Aesthetics

Sponsor Spotlight: Habitat for Humanity of Greater Baton Rouge

The Garden District Civic Association is privileged to have corporate sponsors who support our neighborhood Association. These sponsors provide monetary and in-kind donations to advance the mission of our Association. We are spotlighting these Corporate sponsors to make our members aware of these generous benefactors and encourage everyone to support their businesses.

This month we are spotlighting Habitat for Humanity of Greater Baton Rouge ReStore. Information was provided by Lynn Clark, Executive Director, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Baton Rouge.

Habitat for Humanity International was founded by Millard and Linda Fuller in Americus, GA, in 1976 as a way to bring the community together to build decent homes for those in need. The Federation of Churches and Synagogues brought the concept to Baton Rouge in 1988 and an affiliate ñ Habitat for Humanity of Greater Baton Rouge ñ was established in 1989. Habitat for Humanity of Greater Baton Rouge is a Christian-based ministry that builds and renovates houses in partnership with the community. They provide opportunities for families in need to purchase their own homes, build community and improve their lives.

The ReStores are a social enterprise modeled after the Salvation Army and Goodwill stores but focus on building materials.The ReStores are Habitat for Humanity’s home improvement, not for profit retail stores and donation centers that sell new and gently used furniture, appliances, and building materials. 100% of proceeds from the ReStores are used to help fund Habitat for Humanity in Baton Rouge. To date the Baton Rouge area ReStores have helped to raise funds to build homes for 14 families. The first ReStore in Baton Rouge, Restore North, opened in 2003 at 4301 Airline Hwy. In 2016, ReStore Southeast, was opened at 10300 Perkins Road.

The ReStore is unique in that it promotes recycling and keeps building materials out of landfills. For every $1 in Habitat ReStore sales, an estimated 1.3 pounds of waste is kept out of local landfills! In addition, all the money made helps build more affordable Habitat homes in our community.

The two Restore locations employ 32 full and part-time employees. They offer free donation pick-ups for large items to residents’ homes. Donation trucks operate Tuesday through Saturday from 8:30am-4:30pm. Residents are able to schedule donation pick-ups through a self-scheduler on the website, or by calling the donation line. All donations are tax deductible.

ReStore Donation Line Self-scheduler: habitatbrla.org/donate-to-the-restore
Phone: (225) 315-0127
More information is available on their Facebook page at: @batonrougerestore

Ms. Lynn Clark states that the ReStores are an important part of Habitat for Humanity’s funding. Almost all of the materials in their stores are donated by businesses and homeowners. Restore seeks donations from home owners, businesses, organizations, and contractors that have available furniture, appliances, building materials, or home goods.

ReStore offers various seasonal promotions that take place on certain holidays. Also, their inventory changes on a daily basis therefore, sales and discounts are frequent.
Regular special discount days include:
Tuesday: seniors (55+) receive 15% off
Thursday: military, first responders, and veterans receive 15% off

Finally, Ms. Clark says, “As a non-profit our mission is focused on the concept that everyone deserves a simple decent home to live in and thrive. We work alongside other affordable housing providers to end poverty housing in our community.”

If you are remodeling an existing home or building a new home, please consider making a donation of new and gently used furniture, appliances, and building materials. Also, if you are in the market for any of these items, visit one of the ReStore locations to make a purchase.

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Claire PittmanSponsor Spotlight: Habitat for Humanity of Greater Baton Rouge

August Security Update

Due to the arrests made last month, Officer Stafford is pleased to report that there has been a significant decrease in calls for service regarding criminal activity in the Garden District. The decrease for criminal calls of service occurred because the burglars who frequented the Garden District have been apprehended and incarcerated. Also, she has noticed that calls for suspicious incidents have risen. This is where community members call Officers to check out someone or something in the neighborhood that looks out of place. This possibly helped to deter criminal activity. If a criminal was stopped by police for a suspicious incident investigation, the criminal was less likely to commit the crime and less likely to come back into the neighborhood knowing that community members are watching and police are responding.

There have been ongoing reports of burglaries in surrounding neighborhoods such as Hundred Oaks and Capital Heights. So the crime hasn’t stopped, the criminals have just stopped coming to the Garden District. While monitoring the Nextdoor application, there were no reports of burglaries or crimes in the Garden District for the month of August.

A search of the BRPD’s reporting system shows that there were NO reports of crimes in the Garden District for the ENTIRE month of August. There was one incident were a male was arrested by detectives during an investigation for drug possession on Cherokee Street. The only other calls for service were suspicious incidents, false alarms, and public assistance calls. Officer Stafford has continued to monitor crime in the Garden District and has been in constant contact with community members. As long as community members continue to be proactively aware as they have been, the crime will stay out of this neighborhood.

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Claire PittmanAugust Security Update
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Summer Security Update

The following information is provided by Officer Haley Stafford with the Baton Rouge Police Department. Office Stafford is our Garden District’s Off-Duty Patrol contact.

  • A home on Park Boulevard was burglarized in June. Officer Stafford reached out to the victim and encouraged the person to establish a Nextdoor profile and continued to follow up with them over the next two months to help reduce their anxiety and calm them down. She educated the victim on safety tips, reporting, and neighborhood watch.Officer Stafford worked the burglary case until the Detective assigned to the our area returned from being out of town. BRPD officers learned the identity of the suspect, Raphael Jenkins, in July after receiving the DNA hit from the crime lab. Officers learned Mr. Jenkins was a suspect in multiple other burglaries. Officer Stafford reached out to Nextdoor, posted a photo, and requested the community begin notifying Police if Jenkins was spotted in the area. She communicated with other Officers working the road to let them know of Mr. Jenkins warrant, his crimes and the likelihood of future calls coming in for Mr. Jenkins. On July 13, 2018, Mr. Jenkins was spotted on Government Street and arrested. Officer Stafford notified the victim of the arrest who then advised Officer Stafford that the experience had been life-changing and that many new things were learned over the last two months. Officer Stafford now sees the victim advocating safety and reporting to other neighbors through the Nextdoor application.Mr. Jenkins is a possible suspect in a burglary of a home under construction on Olive Street. Officer Stafford spoke with the construction foreman who has since installed a camera near the residence. The foreman reported a male subject entered the garage area of the home, urinated on the wall, and left a donut bag on the ground. The camera was able to get a shot of the male as he initially walked into the garage and the male in the photo matched the description of Mr. Jenkins. This case is still pending.
  • Officer Stafford assisted with a neighborly dispute on Park Blvd. The parties involved were having disagreements that had heightened over time. Officer Stafford intervened, speaking separately with both parties. She was able to get them to make concessions and agree to be more civil to one another. Officer Stafford instructed the neighbors to continue working on mediating their differences.
  • Officer Stafford reported that she has been continuously instructing the community to report everything, to lock all doors, and to install security systems and cameras. She stated that much of the community still does not report things when they occur. Rather, they wait long periods of time which contaminates possible DNA scenes, or they don’t report at all until other people in the area experience the same crime. They report to social media rather than reporting to Police. She patrols the area of the Garden District numerous times in a manner to deter criminal activity. She has not received any calls for service during these patrols. She has contacted several suspicious persons in the area of the Garden District, but after checking their identification, they were released. She has not observed any crimes in progress during her patrols.
  • Officer Stafford is currently working a burglary investigation on Olive Street. There is no video surveillance. The homeowner was out of town at the time of the burglary. Officer Stafford saw the homeowner’s post about the burglary on Nextdoor and looked up the report in the system. Officer Stafford has reached out to the homeowner to get a list of missing items that could possibly be tracked.

Finally, Officer Stafford stated that she has noticed a decrease in calls for service for burglaries since the arrest of Alverz Peters and Raphael Jenkins. Calls received in July were mainly suspicious persons calls and false alarm calls.

Our sincerest thanks to Officer Stafford for providing our Garden District Association with this information. We are very fortunate to have such a dedicated Officer servicing our neighborhood.

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John WilliamsSummer Security Update
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Spring Security Update

At the May 8 GDCA board meeting, Officer Haley Stafford with the Baton Rouge Police Department gave your Board an overview of crime and crime prevention tips for our neighborhood. She reported that the Garden District is a small area of District 2, which has a very large geographical footprint. (District 2 is an area that includes the Mississippi River levee to Independence Park, to Staring Lane, Florida to Airline, and Tigerland).

Officer Stafford stated that burglary (automobile, garage, and shed) is the most common crime in our neighborhood. Offenders are looking for lawn and garden equipment, bicycles, electronics and guns that can easily be sold on the street to pawn shops or even on-line. A recent victim of a burglary found his stolen tools for sale on the website “Let Go”. She added that firearms stolen out of automobiles are quickly sold on the street to buyers who are not legally able to buy firearms (unable to pass background checks, etc). She asked that everyone please do not leave firearms in your vehicles.

Officer Stafford also reported that she and her fellow officers see posted photos/video footage and read information about crime on Nextdoor.com that is not being provided to the police. She strongly recommended that residents provide all useful information regarding all crime, including security camera footage to the police. She stated that more and more, the crimes being solved are because of security camera photos or videos provided to detectives. Homeowners, she said, often request DNA samples be taken at the crime scene but she stated that each division is only allowed to submit ten DNA samples per month.

Officer Stafford asked that we please be patient with investigations. She indicated that people may be reluctant to report the crimes because they think nothing will be done. However, it may take two or three weeks before a detective contacts you after your initial report because their docket is so full. She strongly urged neighborhood residents to report ALL criminal activity. An example, she gave of how this can make a difference: She said, if a perpetrator goes to court, accused of five burglaries (but actually burglarized ten homes or cars), the judge will impose a lighter sentence than if the judge knows that he has burglarized ten homes or cars. She stressed that it is very important that we report all crimes so that habitual offenders are dealt with properly.

She summarized her presentation with the following best practices that we all should follow to enhance the safety of our neighborhood:

  • REMOVE firearms from vehicles
  • INSTALL security cameras
  • LOCK your vehicles
  • RECORD serial numbers of your tools, lawn equipment, bicycles, etc.
  • REPORT all crimes and suspicious activities to police

Officer Stafford is our contact with the Garden District’s Off-Duty Patrol and she pledged to keep us informed on issues of mutual concern. We are all grateful to Officer Stafford for sharing her thoughts and suggestions and the association and its neighbors look forward to further interactions with her.

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John WilliamsSpring Security Update
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GDCA Hosts 2018 Spring Festivities

Your GDCA has been very busy with annual spring activities including the neighborhood garage sale, Easter egg hunt celebration, and crawfish boil.

Garden District Annual Garage Sale

Gorgeous spring weather on March 24 made for a wonderful morning of shopping in the Garden District during the neighborhood-wide garage sale. More than 30 homes participated in the sale. A survey of participants revealed that no one will be able to retire on their sale earnings but all had a great time and enjoyed the visits and interaction with shoppers.

An added convenience to this year’s sale was the Salvation Army truck that came around after the sale was over and picked up leftover sale items that were put on the curb at the participants’ houses. No need to repack those unsold items, AND those remaining goods will be put to good use by the Salvation Army servicing those in need.

Do you have ideas to improve future garage sale events? Would you like to see added activities such as live music? Please contact any board member at [email protected] with your suggestions. We’d love to hear from you.

Easter Egg Hunt

The weather cooperated once more for the annual Easter egg hunt, held Sunday afternoon, March 25, at the City-Brooks Park. About 50 children along with family members and friends participated in the event. Hundreds of stuffed eggs were hidden on the park grounds by neighborhood volunteers. Every child participating in the hunt was able to return home with Easter eggs in their baskets. GDCA president John Williams’ performance as the giant Easter bunny was a big hit as he handed out carrots and took pictures with the kids. Our neighbor Nels Anderson, once again donated adorable ceramic egg cups for each child. The children chose their own cup as a special keepsake. A huge garden district “thank-you” to Nels, for your continuing generosity that adds so much to the festivities and to John, for giving our children a sense of Easter wonderment. Families enjoyed refreshments and had a wonderful time watching the kids hunt eggs and visiting with neighbors.

Crawfish Boil

It was an absolutely perfect sunny, cool afternoon for the Garden District’s annual crawfish boil held Sunday, April 15. Approximately 250 Garden District residents and guests attended the boil. Jason Petrie, of Tru Crawfish prepared the luscious crustaceans. Jambalaya and drinks were also included. The kids enjoyed games and a bounce house to burn off extra energy.  We all screamed for free ice cream that was generously provided by Red River Bank. Two of our Baton Rouge police officers who were providing safety and security at the gathering joined us at the table to partake in the delectable eats. They were a most welcomed addition to the party. Everyone enjoyed visiting with neighbors, listening to lively music, sucking dem heads and pinching dem some tails.  What better way to spend a spring afternoon!

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John WilliamsGDCA Hosts 2018 Spring Festivities