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    Fall 2020 Security Update

    December 2020

    • On 12/1/20 at 1417 hours, Officers responded to the 2000 block of Kleinert Ave. relative to a disturbance. The complainant advised their son was causing a disturbance and that he locked them inside of the home. Police arrived and transported the complainant to their residence per their request.
    • On 12/2/20 at 1102 hours, the complainant contacted the telephone reporting unit to report that the arm of the garbage truck struck their vehicle at 1959 Tulip St. The truck driver gave the complainant their contact information to resolve this issue; however, the truck driver has not returned the complainant’s phone call.
    • On 12/4/20 at 2323 hours, Officers responded to the 500 block of Park Blvd. relative to reports of a subject who was possibly suicidal at this location. Upon arrival, Officers contacted all individuals present, and none were in distress or appeared to be suicidal.
    • On 12/9/20 at 0156 hours, Officers responded to a home on Convention Street relative to an incident that had just occurred in the 2000 block of Wisteria Ave. This call was relative to an assault and battery between dating partners where the complainant (victim) had just escaped. The complainant advised their dating partner verbally assaulted them and held them at gunpoint while intimidating them regarding going to court on a previous domestic abuse charge. The complainant stated the suspect loaded a shotgun and advised they would kill the complainant if the complainant didn’t drop the previous charges. Further, the complainant stated the suspect advised they would choose death by cop if the complainant called Police. Officers went to the suspect’s home (Wisteria Ave.) and did not locate anyone there. This case has been forwarded up to Detectives who issued a warrant, but the suspect has since evaded capture.
    • On 12/10/20 at 1123 hours, Officers responded to an anonymous complaint of 4 males looking for packages to steal near the 2200 block of Wisteria Ave. No further descriptions were given by the caller. Officers patrolled the area and were unable to locate the males.
    • On 12/12/20 at 1711 hours, Officers responded to a burglary at 2756 Oleander St. The residents advised their shed was burglarized and several items were taken sometime throughout the day.
    • On 12/20/20 at 2154 hours, Officers responded to the 2100 block of Myrtle Ave. relative to a shots fired call. An anonymous complainant advised of several shots fired in the area. Officers patrolled the area and did not locate any signs of shots being fired or anyone needing police/medical assistance.
    • On 12/24/20 at 2115 hours, Officers responded to a welfare check in the 500 block of Park Blvd. The complainant advised a family member at the home was possibly trying to hurt other family members at the home. Officers contacted the family member in question and he advised that he was feeling fine, and did not want to hurt himself or anyone else.
    • On 12/27/20 at 2050 hours, Officers responded to 2656 Myrtle Ave. relative to a burglary. The resident reported they were away from home but observed an unknown male walking out of their backdoor. Officers arrived and cleared the residence. Officers reported the residence appeared to be in disarray as if someone had just went through several drawers and burglarized the home. The resident was not in town to respond to the home but advised he would determine what was missing when he returned.

    November 2020

    • On 11/3/20 at 1518 hours, Officers responded to the 1300 block of Drehr Ave. The resident reported a black male in a black Toyota Corolla pulled up in the alley way next to their home and tried to open their garage door. The door wouldn’t open, so the male returned to his car and retrieved a hammer. The resident’s dogs then began barking, which scared the male off. The resident captured this incident on video surveillance and turned it over to Police.
    • On 11/3/20 at 1917 hours, Officers responded to 903 Camellia Ave in response to a theft. The resident advised that at 1431 hours, a black male driving a black Toyota Corolla with no license plate, pulled up on the side of their residence and entered their yard. The male stole two packages and attempted to steal a generator. The resident captured this incident on video surveillance and turned it over to Police.
    • On 11/7/20 at 0012 hours, Officers responded to an anonymous call in the 1900 block of Olive St. relative to a white male banging on the doors of multiple residents. Officers patrolled the area and were unable to locate the male.
    • On 11/11/20 at 2119 hours, Officers responded to the 2100 block of Olive St. relative to a suspicious person. Multiple anonymous residents in the area advised two heavyset black males wearing blue jeans and white shirts were hanging out in the alleyway. The residents reported the males ran when they walked outside. It is unknown what the males were doing in the area, and Officers were unable to locate them during a patrol of the area.
    • On 11/13/20 at 2110 hours, Officers responded to an anonymous complaint of possible shots fired in the area of 1966 Cherokee St. Officers reported they did not see any signs of shots being fired in the area and did not locate anyone needing Police assistance.
    • On 11/15/20 at 1224 hours, Officers responded to a burglary at 718 Park Blvd. The resident reported they noticed their fence was damaged when they returned home, and that two of their bikes had been stolen from the home.
    • 11/20/20 at 1225 hours, Officers responded to an alarm at 2663 Oleander St. The resident was on scene advising their backdoor was opened. Officers arrived and determined the back door had been kicked in. Officers cleared the home and did not find anyone inside. The resident advised nothing appeared to be missing.
    • 11/27/20 at 0836 hours, Officers responded to the 2900 block of Kleinert Ave. relative to an anonymous complaint of a black female with blue hair pulling on door knobs in the area. Officers located and contacted the female, Angela Coleman. Coleman advised she only pulled on a door to a home that had a for sale sign in the yard. Officers could not take any further actions, other than warning Coleman to stay away, since the complainant was anonymous (meaning there was no victim to say a crime occurred).

    October 2020

    • On 10/3/20 at 1840 hours, Officers responded to the 1800 block of Tulip St. relative to a suspicious incident. The complainant advised a black male in a bright pink shirt was banging on several residence doors in the neighborhood. The complainant advised the male had been riding a bike through the neighborhood since 1300 hours as well. Officers patrolled the area and were unable to locate the male.
    • On 10/4/20 at 0519 hours, Officers responded to the 2100 block of Oleander St. relative to an anonymous complaint of a black male pulling on car door handles. Officers patrolled the area and did not observe anyone in the area.
    • On 10/6/20 at 1213 hours, Officers responded to a home invasion at 2512 Olive St. that occurred at 0200 hours. The resident advised she and her ex-boyfriend began arguing so she asked him to leave her residence. He left and later returned without permission. When the resident attempted to call Police, the ex-boyfriend grabbed her phone and slammed it into the floor, causing it to break. The resident grabbed her firearm and asked the ex-boyfriend to leave but he slapped her in the face. The resident advised the ex-boyfriend eventually left but she was unable to call Police until now when she used someone’s phone to call. The resident advised she did not wish to press charges against the ex-boyfriend.
    • On 10/8/20 at 0040 hours, Officers responded to the 2500 block of Olive St. relative to a disturbance. The resident advised her ex-boyfriend was beating on her bedroom window. The ex-boyfriend was no longer there upon Officer’s arrival.
    • On 10/9/2020 at 1604 hours, a resident in the 2500 block of Olive St. called the telephone reporting unit to report their ex-boyfriend slashed their tires overnight on 10/8/2020-10/9/2020. The resident did not notice the damage until they woke up this morning.
    • On 10/10/20 at 1004 hours, a resident in the 2500 block of Olive St. reported that she had just returned home as she was away overnight due to the hurricane. Upon returning, she noticed several windows in the back of her home had been busted. The resident thinks their ex-boyfriend busted the windows overnight but was not sure as they could’ve been damaged in one of the ex-boyfriend’s prior cases and she was just noticing them.
    • On 10/18/20 at 1921 hours, a resident in the 900 block of Park Bl. called the 2nd District desk to report a male subject walked onto their porch and stole two packages on 10/17/20 at 2158 hours. The resident advised they would turn surveillance into Officers at a later date and they did not provide a description over the phone.
    • On 10/21/20 at 1105 hours, Officers responded to 2101 Klienert Ave. relative to a man down in the area. Officers located a male experiencing medical issues in the area and EMS transported him to a hospital for treatment.
    • On 10/23/20 at 1405 hours, the complaintant reported a theft from 2354 Myrtle Ave. to the telephone reporting unit. The complainant stated he paid a male to do a plumbing job at that location. The male was also given the supplies needed to do the job. The male did not complete the job or return the supplies.
    • On 10/27/20 at 0757 hours, Officers responded to a burglary at 1930 Oleander St. The complainant reported both vehicles in their driveway were burglarized overnight. The suspect stole a diaper bag and coin change from the vehicles.
    • On 10/28/20 at 1503 hours, Officers responded to a suspicious incident in the 700 block of Park Bl. The complainant advised they observed a white male pull out a large meat cleaver on a group of children that was playing. Officers patrolled the area but were unable to locate any white males walking in the area that matched the description the complainant provided.
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    Claire PittmanFall 2020 Security Update
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    Garden District’s Live Oak Love Collective

    With the uptick of storms and changing weather patterns, it’s time to give our beloved oak trees some much needed TLC. In response to this, we are launching the Garden District’s Live Oak Love Collective!!

    The Garden District Civic Association has been working for a several years to develop and execute a campaign to care for our live oak trees in the median on the boulevards of Park Blvd, Cherokee St, Kleinert Ave and Terrace St, and the campaign kicks off THIS Monday, January 18, 2021, with the pruning and care of eight (8) live oak trees on Kleinert Ave between Perkins Rd and Camelia Ave AND eight (8) trees on Cherokee St between Camellia Ave and South 22nd St. That’s right, SIXTEEN lucky oaks are having a Spa Day courtesy of you, the Garden District Civic Association and Bayou Trees. In the coming weeks, you will see signs emerging around these winners and will be able to see the smiles on the branches as they are pruned and mulched! Learn more at gdcabr.org/liveoaks

    We, of course, would love to give all of our trees a trip to the salon… what was that? How can you help? MONEY! You can donate any amount or adopt a whole tree.  The Garden District Civic Association created a non-profit to care for these majestic beasts so your donation is tax deductible! Also, we will be hosting an event under the trees this Spring where you and yours can stroll on over, picnic, gossip, raise a glass, and open your pocketbook to help preserve our shady canopy of tree love. Are you with me??? Are you with the trees?? Do you like shade?? Then let’s give them all the hugs they deserve and get on board the Love Collective!!!

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    Claire PittmanGarden District’s Live Oak Love Collective
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    Wreaths, Lights, Blowups, Oh My!

    Garden District Annual Holiday Decoration & Lighting Contest is HERE!

    Judging will be Tuesday, December 15 @ 8:00 PM. Judges will be the Garden District Civic Association Board and few guest judges.

    Rules of Engagement!

    1. Participation is open to all residents of the Garden District.
    2. Entry is free; no cost or fees apply.
    3. Entry is automatic. All decorated homes in Garden District will be considered.
    4. Contest is for exterior decorations only, including decorations in windows that are visible from the exterior.
    5. Judging will be based on “curb appeal” as viewed from the street only. Therefore, only those decorations located on the street side of the property will be judged (corner lots will be judged from both streets).
    6. Judging criteria will include the following:
      • Unique design and creative use of lights and decorations
      • Storyline or theme
      • Display and placement of decorations, animated objects, etc.
      • Overall presentation.
    7. Participants should ensure that all lights, animations and decorations are in place and activated for the judging period on Tuesday, December 15 starting at 8:00 PM – 9:00 PM.
    8. Judging will be done Tuesday, December 15 starting at 8:00 PM.
    9. Each winner will receive a bragging rights, custom yard sign and name recognition on the Garden District website and social media outlets.

    If you have any questions, please email the GDCA at [email protected].

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    Claire PittmanWreaths, Lights, Blowups, Oh My!
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    December 2020 Drainage Update

    Update from Fred Raiford, Director of City of Baton Rouge Department of Transportation and Drainage

    Thank you for your e-mail on the status of the drainage concerns in the Garden District. While most of the concerns has been around Cherokee Street we have looked at the other streets in the area to see what problems we have on some other streets in the area. Also we are looking at the drainage outfall areas to see what infrastructure is in place and what condition it is in. Currently we have HNTB looking at all the drainage issues in most of the Garden District. They are currently doing a complete infrastructure evaluation of the City’s drainage systems for the Parish and I have asked them to check into the drainage system and outfalls for the Garden District. This is important to look into for it will advise us as to what condition our system is in. This includes the outfall locations that drain to Government Street and Broussard Street. I have asked for the video of the cleaning of the box culverts under Government Street which drains to the Dawson Creek lined section canal by the old Westmoreland Shopping center. For your information DOTD will be doing some additional street work on Government Street between the railroad track and South 22nd Street. I have asked for a video of the drainage pipe when the work is complete. We have two locations where the Garden District drains to Government Street. The west part of Garden District{ South 18th Street) drains to Government Street but drains west to an outfall pipe that runs through South Baton Rouge area.

    Once I have enough engineering data on this area and to be sure we have adequately checked the system by maintenance  then I will look at hiring an engineering firm to look into the issues .I probably will look at HNTB since they are doing most of the work. I also have them looking at improvements on Dawson Creek which includes improvements at Broussard Street and Hundred Oaks to allow water to run more freely through new infrastructure for these two projects. These two projects are federally funded under the HMGP which will pay for these two project 100%.  I am sorry that I have no gottent back to the association but we will start making more process soon. With the numerous hurricanes we had to deal with has created some delay. I hope to have HNTB on contract by the first of the year. It is important to look at the information and then see what we may be able to do to improve the drainage for this area. I will mentioned like I have before that some of the rainfall events that we have had happen in  the past few years were pretty significant and the system was over whelmed. We will get a better picture on this and advise the Garden District of our findings and recommendations.

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    Claire PittmanDecember 2020 Drainage Update
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    Brief 2020 GDCA Board Update

    Even through some serious complicated times, the Garden District Civic Association Board has been hard at work!

    Security Patrols & Utilities: Board Member Eric Troutman receives a detailed monthly report from the off-duty police who patrol our neighborhood. When there is anything significant to report, it is sent to the neighborhood or put in the meeting minutes. Eric also handles requests and concerns regarding utilities in the neighborhood.

    Alleys: Board Member Mike Schexnayder has been coordinating with DPW’s Director of Maintenance and with volunteer Block Captains in our neighborhood. If our residents will keep the alleys free of junk, trash and debris, as well as overgrown vegetation, the City will do the regular maintenance that we can’t do such as trim overhead limbs and maintain the alley grading.

    Live Oak Love Tree Collective Campaign: President Claire Pittman, Board Members Ted Magee and Heather Day are leading a committee to trim and mulch some of the trees in the medians. A 501(c)(3) corporation was set up to administer contributions to continue this effort. A committee will be promoting it. The trimming is planned to begin in January. This program will have a long-term effect as many of the trees are in poor shape.

    Drainage Problems: Tom Douthat is the head of the Drainage Committee. Vice-President Justin Kozak is on the committee. Tom has been working with the Director of Transportation and Drainage, Fred Raiford, to understand the underlying causes of the flooding problems in the Garden District. Because of Tom and other residents’ perseverance, the city is hiring a firm to study the cause, so they can decide what to do.

    Doggie Bag Distribution Sites: Board Member Ari Kocen refills the doggie bag containers when notified that they need it. Neighbors can send a message on the website. Ari also puts signs out for special events.

    Website: Continual updates of the Garden District Civic Association website at gdcabr.org.

    Board Meetings: Typically the Board meets monthly. Due to the global quarantine, it missed May through July. Since then, it has met either out-of-doors or via Zoom.

    Newsletter: President Claire Pittman and Board Member Joy Couvillion put out a quarterly or more often newsletter via email. The last one was sent Dec. 23, 2020.

    Finances: Board Member Ted Magee keeps track of the finances for the organization and gives a report at each board meeting.

    Membership: Board Members John Williams and Mike Helms manage our membership database.

    Holiday Lighting Contest: Board Members Mary Fontenot and Liz Spaulding are coordinating the activity this year.

    Neighbor Welcome: Board Member Anne Trappe delivers a heartfelt welcome, goodie bag and information to new neighbors.

    All of your GDCA board members work together to accomplish great things in the Garden District. All of these committees and jobs require the efforts of more than one or two people. In a normal year, we have many more activities. All board members are volunteers. This is YOUR neighborhood civic association, and the Board cares about what you think so please let us know if you have any suggestions or want to help. Email [email protected].

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    Claire PittmanBrief 2020 GDCA Board Update
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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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