News

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Neighborhood Walls Project

During the March GDCA annual neighborhood meeting, Daniel Esperanza with The Baton Rouge Walls Project advised members of the next planned project which was to be a mural on the side of a building at Myrtle and Perkins Road. Well, the Old South Mural is now complete. The mural covers the side of Disk Productions at 1100 Perkins Road. An unveiling of the crowd-fundraised mural was held on Saturday afternoon, July 18. Neighbors gathered to meet Jonathan “Skinny Dope” Brown, the artist/muralist who created the exuberantly colorful, happy scene featuring historical storefronts of Old South Baton Rouge.  Skinny is a local artist who has collaborated with the Walls Project on a number of projects before.  His artwork can be found on buildings throughout the area.

View the WAFB report on the project.

Stop by and view the mural.  It’s sure to bring a smile to your face.

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Claire PittmanNeighborhood Walls Project
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Storm Drain Issues

The morning of June 6 brought unexpected amounts of rainfall to the city and the Garden District did not escape the deluge.  Streets that had never flooded before, saw feet of water pouring over the pavement into automobiles, under houses, and sadly into some homes.  The large amount of rain could not drain fast enough to prevent the water from causing damage to homes and autos.  One of the reasons cited for the lack of drainage is the clogged storm drains throughout the neighborhood. Compacted leaves, grass clippings, litter, and dirt were just some of the materials found by neighborhood residents who took it upon themselves to attempt to clear some of the drains before Tropical Storm Barry made landfall.  Drainage issues are the responsibility of City Parish government but we can all do our part in helping to maintain the storm drains. The following information is taken from the City of Baton Rouge, Environmental Services Department.

Storm Drains Do’s and Don’ts.

If you have curbs and gutters near your home or business, they likely lead to a storm drain. Storm drains are the metal grates found on local streets and transport anything that is washed or dumped from nearby properties into stormwater ponds. These ponds then transfer the water directly to nearby rivers and lakes. 

Unfortunately, it’s not a perfect system. Contaminated stormwater can flow from rooftops, paved streets, sidewalks and parking lots, across bare soil, through lawns, and into storm drains. Along the way, it collects and transports soil, pet waste, pesticides, fertilizer, oil and grease, litter, and other pollutants. 

Therefore, if there are contaminants in the water that enters storm drains, they too will be washed into local waterways. To make matters worse, discarding trash or sweeping materials such as grass and tree clippings into a storm drain, or onto the street, can cause street-level flooding by clogging your storm drain. 

There are some very simple steps you can take to help protect our environment and make our stormwater system easier to manage, as well as less costly to maintain.

  • Use lawn chemicals safely. Follow instructions and never apply before rain or watering the lawn, unless directed. 
  • Pick up after pets. Bring extra bags to pick up and dispose of waste properly. 
  • Recycle used oil. Never place used motor oil in the trash or pour down storm drains. Instead, bring it to a local recycling location
  • Wash cars on the lawn or at a car wash – not on a driveway or in the street. 
  • Dispose of debris with a broom instead of a water hose. Hosing can send unwanted debris into your storm drain. 
  • Keep litter and yard debris clear from storm drains. Litter is easily carried into storm drains and waterways by wind and rain. 
  • Secure items intended for trash and recycling pickup. Wind could easily blow these items into a storm drain. 
  • Properly store household items. Repackage leaking containers and secure other household items to prevent them from falling over and leaving your property. 
  • Sweep pesticides and fertilizer off hard surfaces and onto your lawn to reduce the likelihood of these substances being washed away in a storm.

To learn more about what’s good for our East Baton Rouge Parish storm drains, download a copy of our stormwater brochure and share it with your neighbors and friends!

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Claire PittmanStorm Drain Issues

July 2019 Security Update

7/2/19 at 0216 hours, Officers responded to the complaint of a suspicious vehicle in the alley near the 2100 block of Wisteria. However, there was no vehicle in the alley when Officers arrived.

7/4/19 at 1714 hours, Officers responded to the 2100 block of Cherokee Street relative to a suspicious incident. The resident reported that a white male with a ponytail and purple shirt knocked on her door, then advised he was at the wrong house. Officers were unable to locate the male in the area.

7/6/149 at 1505 hours, the complainant reported an unknown person left a suspicious note on the front steps of the church at 601 Park Blvd. The note did not contain any threats, and this report was made for documentation purposes.

7/7/19 at 1847 hours, Officers responded to a suspicious incident in the 2100 block of Cherokee Street. An anonymous complainant reported 3-4 black males on bicycles pulling car door handles in the area. Officers patrolled the area and did not locate the males.

7/10/19 at 1149, a resident in the 2100 block of Tulip St. reported her neighbor kept parking on her grass, so she left a note on their car. The neighbor then left a written response. Officers contacted the resident who left the response. He apologized and moved his vehicle.
7/10/19 at 1418 hours, Officers responded to a call in the 2100 block of Tulip. The resident advised her ex-husband’s son’s friend hit her in the back of the head several times when she told him he had to leave her home. Note** the suspect in this case was the same male that left the note on the resident’s vehicle in the call on 7/10/49 at 1149 hours.

7/11/19 at 1226 hours, Officers responded to an emotionally disturbed person in the 2100 block of Kleinert Ave. The complainant reported her nephew lives at this address, and he had called her stating he was hearing voices. EMS transported the nephew to the hospital prior to Officers’ arrival.

7/11/19 at 2013 hours, Officers responded to a suspicious incident where the front door was left opened in the 2200 block of Kleinert Ave. Upon arrival, Officers cleared the residence and no one was inside. Officers were unable to contact the homeowners, and secured the door.

7/14/19 at 1821 hours, Officers responded to the 2100 block of Kleinert Ave. relative to an overdose. The resident was overdosing, possibly on heroin. He was transported to the hospital.

7/20/19 at 0208 hours, a Taxi Cab driver reported a theft in the 2200 block of Kleinert Ave. The driver reported the resident at this address owed money for his fare, and did not pay. The resident did not have the money, and could not locate anyone to borrow the money from. The Taxi driver wished to have the resident banned from using their services.

7/23/19 at 1330 hours a resident in the 900 block of Camelia Ave. called to report harassment by her neighbor over a situation regarding abuse/neglect to the neighbor’s dog. The complainant stated she has been calling Animal Control for a while regarding their neighbors abusing and neglecting their dogs. The complainant advised she saw a post on Nextdoor where the dogs were loose, and she commented on the post. Since then, the neighbors have been harassing the complainant and sending derogatory messages. The complainant did not want to pursue charges, but wanted Officers to contact the neighbor to diffuse the harassment. Officers contacted the neighbor who complained that the complainant took the dog, refused to give it back, and started harassing them first. The neighbor advised they were seeking legal advice and would no longer contact the complainant since the dog has been returned.

7/30/19 at 0830 hours, a resident in the 1200 block of Park Blvd. reported a firearm had been stolen during a vehicle burglary that occurred overnight. There was no forced entry to the vehicle, so it is likely that it was left unlocked.

7/30/19 at 1257 hours, a resident in the 1200 block of Park Blvd. reported a residential burglary that occurred between 4/20/19 and 7/30/19. The door was kicked off of the frame and several electronics were stolen.

7/30/19 at 1450 hours, a resident in the 1200 block of Park Blvd. reported a vehicle burglary that occurred overnight due to the vehicle being unlocked. A wallet, debit card, and tablet were stolen from the vehicle.

ALL BURGLARIES ARE PENDING INVESTIGATION

7/31/19 at 1227 hours, an anonymous complainant reported a purse and clothing in the area that appeared to have been dumped. Officers arrived and were unable to locate the items.

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Claire PittmanJuly 2019 Security Update

April 2019 Security Update

  • 4/1/19 at 2158 hours, Officers responded to a disturbance at 2164 Tulip Street. The resident advised a female on scene was causing a disturbance. The resident agreed the female could stay if she would calm down. The female agreed and no further disturbances were reported.
  • 4/13/19 at 1335 hours, Officers responded to a loud music complaint at 1130 Park Bl. Officers contacted the individual with loud music and he agreed to wear headphones to further prevent disturbing his neighbors.
  • 4/17/19 at 0941 hours, Officers responded to 614 Park Bl. The resident advised a Lilly plant and a statute were stolen from their front porch. This case is still being investigated and there are no known suspects at this time.
  • 4/24/19 at 2310 hours, Officers responded to 2105 Kleinert Ave. relative to the resident receiving unwanted calls to their phone. The resident reported an unknown person called their phone 30 times in a row from an unknown number. Officers were unable to determine who the caller was. The resident believed it was an ex.  
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John WilliamsApril 2019 Security Update
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Business Spotlight: Pink Elephant Antiques

Lisa Pellissier is owner and operator of The Pink Elephant Antiques.  Her business is located at 2648 Government Street, Baton Rouge, and consists of three historic buildings built in the 1930-1950s.  The wonderfully colorful building complex is very welcoming and just invites you inside to dawdle and shop the many vendor stalls.

Lisa is a 30-year resident of the Garden District.  She states that her family loves the neighborhood and she would not dream of living anywhere else.  Lisa earned a degree in horticulture from LSU and has always been interested in antiques and vintage.  She was a dealer for five years at a local antique mall before purchasing the building on Government Street and transforming it into The Pink Elephant Antiques.

The business has been opened for three years and according to Lisa, “It’s not your typical antiques store.”  There are over thirty vendors in the building who sell a variety of antique and vintage items including, but not limited to, jewelry, clothing, lighting, furniture and household goods. Lisa states,” Vintage lovers come in all shapes and sizes. We truly have something for everyone – whether it’s a walk down memory lane for some or cool stuff the young folk have never seen before! We can furnish an entire house, outfit you for a special occasion, fulfill all your gift giving needs and just provide a fun place to spend an afternoon.”

In addition to their normal business hours, trunk sales featuring outside vendors are held in the store parking lot about six times a year during the spring and fall. The store also participates in Hot Art Cool Nights and White Light Nights, two very popular Mid City events. Additionally, Lisa hosts Margarita Day, Christmas open house, and Meet the Dealer events.

Contact information for the Pink Elephant Antiques includes;

Facebook – The Pink Elephant Antiques

Instagram – The Pink Elephant Antiques Mall

Website: https://www.pinkelephantantiques.com

Lisa states,” I would love to thank everyone for the support and love the shop has gotten since we opened. It is wonderful to see so many neighbors I have known for years patronize the shop and give us so much positive feedback! We love our happy customers!”

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John WilliamsBusiness Spotlight: Pink Elephant Antiques
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Business Spotlight: Sweet Fern Landscapes

Sweet Fern Landscapes, is a landscaping business owned and operated by Garden District resident Jess Cole. Jess started her business in 2015, and most of her clients are in the Garden District/Mid City area.  Jess describes herself as an organic/sustainable gardener and and loves the area as she feels her neighbors are like-minded and are open to her practice of sustainable gardening methods.

Jess earned her degree in fine arts from LSU and included various horticulture courses in her studies. She worked in the landscape horticulture industry for ten years before opening her own business. She currently employees one person besides herself.

Jess will redo old garden beds and install new gardens to include perennial beds, pollinator beds, vegetables/edibles. She also performs sustainable/organic gardening consultation and design work.

Jess’ business is unique in that she installs and maintains gardens without the use of any man made chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. In her words, ”We believe in the fact that our local ecosystems are intrinsically connected and that it is incredibly important to look at the whole picture for both the clients personal yard and our local urban environment as a whole. We believe gardens can be sustainable when approached through bio mimicry. Plants and soil are alive and need tending and understanding like humans and other live creatures. Plants have important symbiotic relationships with the soil, bugs, etc..  What we do is build gardens that work with these organic agricultural processes that have been happening naturally (and very successfully) on their own for millions of years”. She states that,” a key aspect of my company is our relationship with pollinators in our urban environment.”

Jess is hoping to work with local schools and city government to get more pollinator/perennials beds in the city.  She has her own greenhouse in which she grows perennials and annuals to include in her plantings.

Though most of her referrals come by word-of-mouth, Jess can be reached at her website Sweet Fern Landscapes:

         www.sweetfernlandscapes.com

You can see Jess’ work first hand at the entrance to the Garden District located at Park Blvd. and Government Street. She is in the process of filling the bed with perennials and annual flowers, mulching and irrigating the bed.

Jess would like for folks to “consider ditching chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides! Its one of the best things you could do for your own health, our local environment and our ground water. There are great alternative/organic products to use as well as a wealth of information out there about how to make the switch. I think anyone who gives it a go may find it rather fulfilling.”

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John WilliamsBusiness Spotlight: Sweet Fern Landscapes

March 2019 Security Update

  • 3/4/19 at 0011 hours, Officers responded to Camellia Ave. relative to an individual at this address stating they were feeling suicidal. The individual was transported to the hospital for a psychological evaluation.
  • 3/10/19 at 1237 hours, Officers responded to a suspicious incident at Park Bl. The complainant requested Officers clear their abandoned residence because they thought trespassers were inside conducting criminal activity. Officers cleared the residence and reported that no one was inside.
  • 3/13/19 at 0954 hours a resident at Kleinert reported that their front door was open when they returned home. The resident reported they had closed and locked the door before they left. There was no evidence of forced entry, no one inside of the home, and no items missing from the home. The resident advised they feared an estranged lover may have been inside of their home. However, there were no signs that anyone had been in the home.
  • 3/14/19 at 1629 hours Officers responded to Park Bl. relative to a medical call. A resident suffering from dementia was having a psychological episode and was subsequently transported to OLOL.
  • 3/15/19 at 2237 hours, a resident at Kleinert Ave. reported a vehicle burglary that occurred on this date between 1730 and 1830 hours. The vehicle was left unlocked and rummaged through. The resident’s checkbook, iPad, and $4 worth of change were missing. There were no surveillance cameras in the area.
  • 3/16/19 at 0640 hours, a resident at Camellia Ave. reported a vehicle burglary that occurred throughout the night. The resident advised their vehicle was locked, but the suspect managed to enter it. The suspect stole a laptop, iPad, Apple pencil, wallet, Beats headphones, Ray Ban sunglasses, and a firearm. There were no surveillance cameras in the area.
  • 3/17/19 at 1144 hours, Officers responded to a disturbance at Park Bl. The resident accused their neighbor of placing nails, staples, and screws in their driveway to intentionally damage their tires. The resident advised there is an ongoing dispute with the neighbor. Officers contacted the neighbor who advised they were unaware of any kind of dispute the resident could have been talking about, but the neighbor did advise the resident does not like them. Officers reported they believe the resident suffers from a mental disorder or is an emotionally disturbed person.
  • 3/20/19 at 1500 hours a resident at Park Bl. reported their identity had been stolen. The resident advised an unknown person has been using their identity. This case is still under investigation.
  • 3/21/19 at 2021 hours, a resident at Park Bl. reported a suspicious incident. The resident advised a white male was on the sidewalk in front of their residence with blood covering their shirt. Officers located the male, who advised he had a fight with his roommate. The male stated his lip was bleeding but he did not want medical attention. He also stated he did not want to make a report about the fight.
  • 3/26/19 at 0848 hours, an anonymous person reported a suspicious incident at Park Bl. The complainant advised a female appeared to be intoxicated and talking to a Mickey Mouse doll in the area. The Officer reported he patrolled the area and was unable to locate the female or re-contact the complainant.
  • 3/30/19 at 0335 hours, a resident at Tulip St. reported their vehicle stolen. The vehicle was taken from in front of the residence. This case is pending investigation.
  • 3/30/19 at 1348 hours, a resident at Park Bl. reported an attempted vehicle burglary. The resident advised he went into his apartment briefly and left his vehicle running. Upon returning to his vehicle, he realized it had been moved and the doors were locked. He observed juveniles in the area, who ran when they saw him looking at them. The juveniles had the complainant’s keys and threw them while they were running. There was nothing missing from the vehicle.
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John WilliamsMarch 2019 Security Update
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Neighborhood Yard Sale brings spring cleaning forward

What treasures were you searching for – books for the home library, that vintage t-shirt, kitchenware, perhaps a pink Christmas tree or an adorable elephant liquor decanter?  Whatever it was, you may have found it at the Garden District Civic Association’s spring garage sale. Shoppers were out early on March 23, a glorious spring morning in the Garden District.  The weather was perfect and yards were filled with all sorts of goodies waiting to be recycled and re-homed.  Sixteen Garden District homes participated in this year’s sale and visitors from within and outside of the neighborhood perused the goods and visited with shoppers and sellers.  Even though combined sales won’t be enough to pay for the new Mississippi River bridge as anticipated, it was great fun for all and we look forward to next year’s sale. 

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John WilliamsNeighborhood Yard Sale brings spring cleaning forward
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GDCA hosts Annual Meeting at the Guru

The Garden District Civic Association (GDCA) held the annual member’s meeting Sunday, March 10, 2019.  Over forty members of the association were in attendance.

We want to thank Sidney Coffee, owner and operator of The Guru, for graciously hosting our meeting. The venue was very comfortable, and Sidney was most accommodating for the meeting.

President John Williams presented his state of the neighborhood address which covered the following topics:

  • Membership: The GDCA currently has 330 members.
  • Neighborhood security: Off-duty BRPD officers provided 600 hours of security patrol at a cost of $25,000 during calendar year 2018.  This amount represents 80 percent of the Association’s annual budget.  Statistics indicate that crime has decreased in the neighborhood. Officer Haley Stafford continues to provide a monthly crime report, which is posted on the GDCA website.
  • Social Events: In 2018, the Association organized several social activities for neighborhood adults and children.  These events included: spring garage sale; spring crawfish boil; Easter egg hunt; fall family picnic; fall champagne stroll; and the holiday lighting contest.
  • Live Oak Trees: The glorious live oaks that line so many of our streets in the Garden District are in desperate need of some tender loving care.  The city parish does not have the funding to provide the needed care. One quote obtained from a professional tree service by GDCA estimated $80,000 to trim and fertilize the trees. The GDCA does not have the funds to cover this cost. It will take a concerted effort by volunteers and sponsors to tackle this issue.  We are considering forming a committee whose members will be tasked with finding funding solutions (solicitations, grant writing, etc.) to care for our trees.  These magnificent trees help make the Garden District so unique and we need to do everything we can to care for them.
  • Alley Clean-Up Day:  The GDCA would like to organize an alley clean-up by homeowners or renters whose properties border the alleyway.  In the meantime, homeowners and renters can call 311 to report alley issues such as pot holes, trash, abandoned cars, etc.
  • Corporate Sponsorships: The GDCA added six new corporate sponsors this past year.  Corporate sponsors pay $350 a year. To become a sponsor, visit gdcabr.org

Guest Speakers

Speakers from several governmental and community organizations addressed the GDCA members.

Rowdy Gaudet with the EBR Mayor’s Office addressed the following topics:

  • Move EBR Infrastructure Work: RFQs have been issued for the major infrastructure work and for the community enhancement beautification project. Traffic light synchronization is high on the priority list.
  • Blight Efforts: Big problem but also a major priority. 300 condemned house were torn down in 2018.
  • St George Effort: Proponents have obtained enough signatures to bring it to a vote. Mayors office would like to see public meetings with residents inside and outside the proposed boundaries to enable transparency.
  • Kansas City Southern Railroad crossing closures are still being negotiated.
  • The Lincoln Hotel was purchased by a private investor who plans to the renovate the facility.
  • Downtown library construction will get underway again soon.

Patrick Foy with Red Stick Social, which is the main building within the Electric Depot, gave the members an update on the progress of the facilities.  will contain bowling, restaurant, beer garden, event space, roof-top terrace, and stages.  The second building will house apartments.  Only foot traffic will be allowed on the campus.

Daniel Esperanza with The Walls Project told members that their next planned project will be a mural on the recording studio at Myrtle and Perkins roads.  They are hoping to obtain the needed funding through donations.  They have raised $5,000 of the needed $10,000.  Individuals can donate by texting Mural Mystery to 71777.

Congressman Garret Graves addressed traffic and congestion.  Reported that the Washington Street exit redo should be opening later this year, and the I-10 expansion is underway.  Three billion dollars in new flood protection funding has been secured.  Congressman Graves stated that he is working with EBR District Attorney’s office, Sheriff’s office and police department to obtain funding to get staff levels in these departments up to full capacity.

Marlee Pittman with the Mid-City Redevelopment Alliance summarized progress on the Electric Depot and the Government St. road diet project. Their community engagement team works with homeowners associations.

Our 2019 GDCA annual meeting was well attended and members were eager to engage in conversation with all of our guest speakers.  We would like to express our sincerest thanks to those speakers for taking time from their Sunday afternoon to attend out meeting and provide such valuable information.

We would also like to thank Hollie Falgoust, owner and operator of The Haven at 1857 for gifting our attendees with coupons for discounted services at her day spa located next door to The Guru.

A big thank you to our board members who have rolled off of the board this year; Jenny Iverstine who served as Secretary of the Association and Greta Corona, who served on several committees and led our champagne stroll social activity.  Thank you ladies for your time and unselfish service to our organization.

Lastly, a huge shout-out to our grillers, Daniel Pittman and Jason Day.  The burgers and hot dogs were delicious and such a treat. The food and socializing after business was completed was the perfect ending to our 2019 annual meeting.

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John WilliamsGDCA hosts Annual Meeting at the Guru

February 2019 Security Update

  • 2/1/19 at 2145 hours a resident at Camellia Ave reported the theft of a firearm. The resident advised they have a caretaker that allows her boyfriend to come over while she is on shift. The caretaker’s boyfriend has caused problems at the home recently, and as of today, the firearm is missing. It is unknown who took the firearm exactly, but the only people in the home were the caretaker and her boyfriend.
  • 2/2/19 at 1518 hours the complainant asked Officers to conduct a welfare check on a 12 year old child at Camellia Ave. Officers arrived and were unable to contact anyone at the home.
  • 2/3/19 at 0031 hours an anonymous complainant advised Officers of loud music coming from Tulip Street. Officers arrived and did not hear any loud music in the area. Officers were unable to contact anyone at the given address.
  • 2/6/19 at 1943 hours a resident at Park Bl. called Officers to complain of a neighbor’s dog barking in the apartment above hers. Officers attempted to contact the resident with the dog, but nobody answered the door.
  • 2/9/19 at 1531 hours, the complainant asked Officers to conduct a welfare check on his ex-wife at Camellia Ave. Upon arrival, Officers spoke with the ex-wife and learned the complainant has been stalking her. The complainant was just released from jail for stalking charges. The complainant was unable to be contacted initially, but later arrived at the Camellia address. The complainant was then advised by Officers to leave his ex-wife alone and not to return.
  • 2/10/19 at 2146 hours, Officers responded to the complaint of dogs barking at Park Bl. The complainant advised the dogs had been barking for 8 hours today nonstop. Officers attempted to reach the owner of the dogs, but were unsuccessful. Officers advised the complainant to call animal control.
  • 2/12/19 at 2220 hours, Officers responded to a disturbance at Kleinert Ave. The resident advised someone had been calling her back-to-back, over 30 times, from an unknown number. The resident could not block the calls, and when she spoke to the person, she could not understand what they were saying. Officers were unable to trace the call because the caller was blocking their number.
  • 2/12/19 at 2313 hours, Officers responded to the block of Tulip Street relative to an anonymous complaint of loud yelling in the area. Upon arrival, Officers did not locate anyone yelling or any loud noises in the area.
  • 2/13/19 at 2038 hours a resident at Camellia Ave. reported a burglary. The resident advised he is moving out of the home and things stored in the garage that he intended to move. The resident admitted to recently hiring a “shady” guy recently to help with the move, and that the guy knew items were in the garage. The garage also did not properly close, and the guy knew that as well. The resident reported numerous items valued at over $1,000 were missing. The resident also advised that all items were missing within the last three days, and did not come up missing at one time.
  • 2/17/19 at 0530 hours, I, Off. Stafford, was flagged down by a resident walking his dog who advised someone was passed out in the front yard of Wisteria Street. I contacted this person and observed she was heavily intoxicated. This individual refused EMS assistance and behaved in a disorderly manner once she woke up. This individual also refused assistance to leave the Garden District area, stating she was at home, when in fact she lived in Denham Springs. I transported the female to 1st District where I issued a Summons for Disturbing the Peace by Public Intoxication and called a ride for the female.
  • 2/18/19 at 2117 hours a resident at Myrtle Ave advised of a suspicious incident. Officers reported the resident stated a black male walked to their door but did not ring the doorbell. The male left the resident after a few minutes in a newer model white SUV with a luggage rack on top of it. The male was said to be African American, in his fifties, wearing a hat that stated “news boy,” and a gray plaid jacket.

 

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John WilliamsFebruary 2019 Security Update