News

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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. Tom is an environmental planning and law professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences. His house at 50 ft over sea level, and not in a flood zone, was swamped, so he had incentive to look into the matter. The Garden District has localized depressions, which create smaller basins, such as Cherokee St. that fill up and flood houses and swamp cars. They drain in about thirty minutes, but this raises the question of why our drainage system is so unequipped to handle Louisiana’s predictably heavy rains, which will strengthen in the coming decades.

Another neighbor, Hank Harper has long tried to inform the city about problems in the area near his Cherokee St. home. Mr. Harper has collected maps and inspected the area visually. To do this he had to use his skills as an engineer, and go to the Parish archives to find maps of the area, because the city has not managed an inventory of its stormwater infrastructure. Nobody knew exactly where water from the Garden District Drained, so the problem has persisted.

In July, Tom and other neighbors had a meeting with the Mayor and Fred Raiford, Director of Drainage, who supplied the group with background and updates. They explained to the residents that recent developments under the Stormwater Masterplan have begun to collect data, but the parish still does not have a working model of the Garden District’s drainage.

The meeting also clarified that there are several possible explanations for Garden District flooding. The first is that our water is supposed to drain into Dawson’s Creek and into the rivers, but there is more water in rivers than there used to be. It is possible that our water can’t get to Dawson’s Creek because it is backed up from all the downstream urban runoff. This could be a function of stronger rain events, or that downstream development that has increased impervious surface, so water rushes faster into the streams, causing flooding. The meeting also led to another possibility, which is that culverts under the Broussard St. and Hundred Oaks St. bridges have been working as dams. There are plans for fixing the culverts on Broussard and Hundred Oaks, but these plans are contingent on the parish obtaining Federal matching funds.

Dawson Creek backups represent only one possible explanation. Another plausible explanation is that the pipes in the Garden District’s drainage system aren’t large enough. This should be an easy question to answer via a hydrological model, but the Parish lacks data on the drainage pipe networks (e.g., width and location). We know most areas north of Tulip drain to Government St, while areas south of Myrtle St. go via McGrath and other paths.

As part of the Stormwater Masterplan, our neighborhood drain pipes (separate from the sewer pipes) should be mapped and classified.  If localized pipe capacity is an issue, there may be solutions diverting water more directly into the large pipes under Government St., or starting to plan for long needed upgrades to antiquated smaller-diameter pipes.

The Mayor and Parish Transportation and Drainage Director have committed to hiring an engineer to study these issues in the Garden District, and explore alternatives. However, that person has not yet been contracted, and the GDCA will be following up on this in the next month.  This is a crucial step, because as long as the problem remains undefined, it will never be solved.

 

 

 

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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
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Sponsor Spotlight: The Child Development Cooperative

The Garden District Civic Association is happy to introduce our neighbors to this month’s spotlighted business: The Child Development Cooperative.

The Child Development Cooperative is owned and operated by Jennifer Crowell, a southern California native who opened the cooperative ten years ago in Mid-City.  Prior to opening The Child Development Cooperative, Jennifer opened and ran the child care center at the  A.C. Lewis YMCA. When the YMCA decided to close this center, Jennifer was able to find a new and larger location to open The Child Development Cooperative. She chose the mid-city area of Baton Rouge because of the people and businesses in the area.

The facility is currently located at 3954 Florida Blvd. The entrance of the building faces Convention St. and is located between Live Oak & Jasmine Streets. The physical indoor space is quite large at approximately 10,000 square feet and the the outdoor campus is 2.5 acres.

Jennifer tells us that she is from southern California where she earned her degree. She worked in several early childhood programs while in school and found a home in a nationally accredited program where she worked with all age groups and was eventually promoted to lead teacher, then curriculum coordinator followed closely by assistant-director and finally director before moving to Baton Rouge. After moving here, Jennifer worked in banking while searching for employment in a preschool that would fit her education and experience.  She spotted an advertisement for an organization looking to open a child care center. She applied for the job and was hired and given the reins to build a program that she knew was best for children. She opened, built, and ran the program successfully for the A.C. Lewis YMCA for ten years before taking it over herself. This led to the creation of The Child Development Cooperative which remained at the YMCA location for ten years before moving to its’ current Florida Blvd. location.

Jennifer describes her business model as follows: “I know from scientifically based research that a play-based, child-led program is what is best for children. That is what I strive to provide. As new research is conducted, we change our model to incorporate that information. Our program looked different 10 years ago and it will look different 10 years from now as we grow and know more about brain development and best practices.”

“I think what sets us apart from other child care centers is the amount of time we spend outside and that we protect children’s right to be children and don’t subscribe to the academic push-down that is happening in our society. We have put into practice the adage “it takes a village to raise a child” and provide many opportunities for families to participate and volunteer.”

In addition to operating The Cooperative, Jennifer has become a trainer for the State of Louisiana in early childhood programming. She offers training classes for early childhood professionals and consults with other programs on various aspects of early childhood programming.

The Child Development Cooperative provides full-time child care services for children from ages six weeks to five years. There are nine full-time employees and Jennifer states that they will be growing to ten employees in 2020 as they add another classroom. An infant room was added this fall and she is ready to add a toddler room in January 2020.

Word of mouth and personal recommendations from current or past Co-op families are the main form of advertisement and openings are announced on Facebook and Instagram. Typical enrollment is in the spring for reserving a space in the fall. Jennifer states,“The waiting list for enrollment is typically long so now is the perfect time to join our program”.

The Cooperative’s website address is:  http://thechilddevelopmentcooperative.com

The Instagram profile: @thechilddevelopmentcooperative

The Facebook link:  https://www.facebook.com/TheChildDevelopmentCooperative/

Operating hours are 7 a.m to 5:30 p.m, Monday through Friday.

The Garden District Civic Association wishes to congratulate Jennifer Crowell on the tenth anniversary of the opening of The Child Development Cooperative and as always, we encourage our Garden District neighbors to consider patronizing this locally-owned business.

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Claire PittmanSponsor Spotlight: The Child Development Cooperative
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Garden District Sapling: Mary Pittman

Mary Pittman, a lifelong Garden District resident and 3rd grader at Baton Rouge Foreign Language Academic Immersion Magnet elementary school in French, had an idea! Her mom and current GDCA President recently came home with an interesting issue. After a meeting with the Garden District’s friendly neighborhood off-duty policy liaison, Officer Seth Gautier, he recommended the board look into obtaining more up-to-date alley signs with the current ordinance that applies to them. That got her thinking that the signs just in front of her house and in the alley are covered in so much gross mold and dirt that they were unable to see what the sign said.

So last Saturday morning, Mary gathered her supplies: mildew spray, bucket of hot water, rags and a tall ladder. With a little bit of elbow grease and some help from her parents, voilà! The street signs on Cherokee Street and Drehr Avenue were revealed!

Have the street signs around your house disappeared behind a layer of grim?! Before the GDCA orders more alley signs, Mary is asking for all Garden District residents to check their alleys and street(s). We are encouraging EVERYONE to take some time out of your weekend and clean the alley and street signs around your house. If you need an alley sign with the ordinance on it, please let the GDCA board know at https://gdcabr.org/contact-us/

 

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Claire PittmanGarden District Sapling: Mary Pittman
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September 2019 Security Update

  • 9/1/19 at 0217 hours, Officers responded to an alarm on Tulip Street. Upon arrival, they determined the alarm was triggered by a burglar. Officers cleared the home and noticed it appeared as if a television was missing from a bracket on the wall. Officers contacted the homeowner who was out of town. The homeowner advised they observed the suspect enter and exit through the rear of the residence, leaving with the television.
  • 9/3/19 at 1009 hours, Officers responded to Camellia Ave relative to a suspicious incident. The caller advised a suspicious black male was riding a bicycle in the area. Officers patrolled but were unable to locate the male subject.
  • 9/7/19 at 1235 hours, Officers responded to Myrtle Ave. relative to a heavyset black male riding a bicycle in the area. The caller advised the male was looking into the window of a home under renovation. Officers patrolled the area but were unable to locate the male subject.
  • 9/15/19 at 1446 hours, the resident on Park Bl. reported a burglary of their home. The resident advised as they approached their home, they observed a black male, wearing no shirt, standing on their front porch. The male had removed two chairs and a bag of candy from inside of the home. The resident advised Officers they argued with the male over the chairs and candy. The male left the chairs on the porch and left with the candy. The resident then called Police, and Police were unable to locate the male suspect upon arriving.
  • 9/15/19 at 1940 hours, Officers responded to Park Bl. relative to a loud music complaint. The resident at 1130 Park Bl. complained that the resident at 1207 Dare St. plays their guitar too loudly. Officers contacted the resident on Dare St., and advised them to keep the noise at a minimal level.
  • 9/17/19 at 1916 hours, Officers responded to Park Bl. relative to an incoherent black male lying on the ground. The male was transported to the hospital via EMS.
  • 9/18/19 at 1113 hours, Officers responded to a burglary at Oleander Street. A neighbor reported hearing the alarm activate, and then seeing a black male in his 20’s wearing black sweat pants with a flat top haircut. The neighbor advised the male was walking in the alley way by Cherokee Street and then turned east onto Oleander Street. The homeowner arrived and advised it didn’t appear the suspect made entry into the home, although a window pane was broken on the back door, and the air conditioning unit had been removed from a rear window. Officers were unable to locate the male suspect in the area.
  • 9/24/19 at 0920 hours, the resident on Oleander Street called 2nd District to report a theft. The resident advised several items were stolen from their porch. On 9/27/19, the resident determined the identity of the suspect from a neighbor. Officers located the suspect and arrested him. The resident was able to retrieve their stolen items.
  • 9/24/19 at 1115 hours, a visitor on Park Bl. reported a vehicle burglary that occurred between 1000-1110 hours. A note was left on the visitor’s vehicle by a neighbor informing the visitor that the neighbor saw someone open the door and take something. The visitor reported a book bag missing. The book bag was located at 1529 hours on the same date in the alley way of Olive Street. It was returned to the visitor/owner.
  • 9/25/19 at 1309 hours, the resident on Park Bl. reported a burglary. The unknown suspect had shattered the front window to gain entry, but did not take anything from the residence. The resident had been out of town, so the exact time the burglary occurred is unknown.
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Claire PittmanSeptember 2019 Security Update
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Business Spotlight: Red Six Media

This month the Garden District Civic Association is delighted to spotlight Red Six Media, a full-service media and advertising agency, owned and operated by Garden District resident Matt Dardenne.

Matt along with several of his LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication classmates started Red Six Media one month after graduating from LSU. Red Six Media got its start at the Louisiana Business and Technology Center business incubator program. After graduating from that program and building their business, Matt and his partners moved to 3rd St. in downtown Baton Rouge where they have been located for the past seven years.  In June of this year, Red Six Media celebrated their tenth year in business.

Matt states that their business culture and creativity make their business unique. The company was named a Best Place to Work by the Baton Rouge Business Report in September. “We have an amazingly talented and tight knit team who love our work and each other.  We affectionately refer to our services set as the Red Six-Pack: Advertising, Design, Video, Digital, Strategy, and Branding.  From creating a company brand and logo to building websites to developing integrated ad campaigns and placing and producing media across all traditional, digital and social platforms, we help clients reach their goals and solve their problems with creative solutions.”

Red Six Media currently has twenty employees who Matt states are proud to work with clients from across many industries. Notable clients include Dow, ExxonMobil, Turner Industries, Austin Industrial, Party Time, Tiger Athletic Foundation, LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication, and Rotolo’s Pizzeria.

The company is civically involved and supports their neighbors by volunteering services to various Baton Rouge non-profits including; The Capital Area United Way (CAUW), Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge, and Mid City Gras.  Matt also serves on the board of Friends of Louisiana Public Broadcasting.

Red Six Media has been recognized by local organizations as well as local and national publications.  The company recently made the list of Inc. 5000‘s Fastest Growing Companies in 2019. For the past four years, Red Six Media has been recognized by LSU’s E.J. Ourso College of Business as one of the top 100 fastest growing LSU alumni-owned businesses.  The company was named a Best Place to Work by the Baton Rouge Business Report in September.

Red Six Media uses Facebook, Instagram, and www.redsixmedia.com, to promote and advertise their business.  The email address is [email protected], office number is 225-615-8836 and cell number is 225-252-1083.

Matt was born and raised in Baton Rouge. He attended St. Aloysius Elementary, Catholic High School and Louisiana State University. He graduated from LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication in 2009.  Matt has lived in the Garden District since May 2015. In his own words, “I love our neighborhood’s charm, the beautiful homes, gigantic trees, awesome neighbors, and proximity to my favorite bars, restaurants and grocery stores and the Wearing of the Green parade.”

As always, the GDCA applauds Matt Dardenne, a neighborhood business owner, on his fine company and asks our Garden District neighbors to please support our home-grown businesses.

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Claire PittmanBusiness Spotlight: Red Six Media