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.read more
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
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.
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.read more
- 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.
- 1/5/19 at 1653 hours a resident at Oleander Street reported a residential burglary had occurred. The home is under construction, and a neighbor witnessed the burglary at approximately 1500 hours. The neighbor advised they noticed one of the suspects appeared to be a male that had previously done construction work on the home. The neighbor advised three black males came to the residence in a white Chevrolet truck and took multiple items from the residence. The following items were stolen: 3 Microwaves ($1200), 2 Stackable Washer and Dryers ($2000), 3 Refrigerators ($3000) and 1 Stove ($700).
- 1/11/19 at 0219 hours Officers responded to the report of a disturbance due to an intoxicated person at Oleander Street. The complainant stated he saw an intoxicated female in the Splash nightclub and offered her a ride home due to her level of intoxication. The complainant stated the female began causing a disturbance inside of the vehicle on the way home. The complainant stated they did not know the female they were bringing home but were only trying to help because the she was so inebriated. The complainant advised they were unsure of which residence the female lives at in the area. Officers contacted the female who advised she was only “having a good time” in the vehicle. The female was in front of her residence on Wisteria Street so Officers assisted her inside.
- 1/11/19 at 2204 hours, a resident near Oleander reported a suspicious male riding a bicycle through the neighborhood and looking into vehicles. Officers responded to the area but were unable to locate the male or anyone in the area that appeared to be suspicious.
- 1/16/19 at 1235 hours, a resident at Wisteria Street reported a vehicle burglary. The resident advised their purse was taken from their vehicle between 1040 and 1230 hours on this date. The resident advised they left the doors to their vehicle unlocked. A male suspect wearing a gray track suit was observed via video surveillance taking the purse out of the vehicle.
- 1/17/19 at 0842 hours, a resident near 600 Camellia Street reported a vehicle that had been improperly parked and blocking the stop sign for five days. Officers responded and cited the vehicle for being parked too close to the stop sign.
- 1/18/19 at 1901 hours a resident at Camellia reported that an unknown female asked them to contact police because a male was chasing her. Officers responded to the area and could not locate the female or any suspicious male in the area. Officers had no way of re-contacting the female.
- 1/19/19 at 1001 hours the Youth Challenge Program contacted Officers to conduct a welfare check on two juveniles who ran away from the program and possibly went to Tulip Street. The resident at Tulip Street advised one of the juveniles is her child. The resident advised the juveniles had come to her home but left on foot when the resident called the Youth Challenge Program and advised them the juveniles were there. Officers searched the area but did not locate the juveniles at this time.
- 1/19/19 at 1419 hours Officers returned to the area of Tulip Street to detain the juveniles that had previously ran away. The juveniles were released to the adult of the residence while they waited to return to the Youth Challenge Program.
- 1/21/19 at 2150 hours a resident at Park Bl. reported the tenant in the apartment over hers had a dog that would not stop barking. The resident reported this issue as being persistent. Officers attempted to contact the dog’s owner, but were unsuccessful. The complainant was advised to call Animal Control.
- 1/23/19 at 0739 hours a resident at Tulip Street reported an open door on an abandoned home as a suspicious incident. While Officers were present, a real-estate agent arrived to show the home. Officers cleared the home to ensure no one was inside.
- 1/26/19 at 0348 hours, a resident at Park Bl. reported that someone may have kicked their down. Officers arrived and determined that all doors were secured and no forced entry was observed.
- 1/28/19 at 0510 hours a resident at Park Bl. reported seeing a black male breaking into his vehicle. The resident stated the black male had stolen his rifle from his vehicle. The black male was wearing a camouflage jacket and had dreads. The resident yelled at the suspect, running him off, prior to calling Police so when Police arrived they were unable to locate the male. The resident advised his vehicle was locked, however there was no forced entry to the vehicle. The resident did not have his serial number to report to police so the rifle could be entered as stolen into a national database.
Below are the monthly reports filed between the Baton Rouge Police Reporting system and Nextdoor. There is not as much property crime as would be expected this time of the year being that it is the holiday season. Please remember to report all suspicious incidents and crimes.
- 11/1/18 at 1646 hours Officers responded to Wisteria Street relative to the report of a suspicious person. The resident advised a white male was going door-to-door begging for money. Officers did not notice this male when patrolling the area in search for him.
- 11/5/18 at 1025 hours, Officers responded to a suspicious person at Camellia Street. The resident reported a black male wearing a blue hoodie and a backpack was walking down the street looking in garbage cans. Officers patrolled the area but were unable to locate anyone matching the description.
- 11/7/18 a resident reported to Nextdoor that a bed footboard was stolen from outside their home near Cherokee and Camelia Street.
- 11/10/18 at 2128 hours, Officers responded to Tulip Street. The complainant advised they observe three black males walking in the area “possibly casing the neighborhood.” Officers patrolled the area but did not locate the males.
- 11/11/18 at 1019 hours, Officers responded to Park Bl. where a resident reported their scooter stolen. The scooter was located shortly later at the BREC park across the street. The person finding the scooter advised several black male juveniles were seen in the apartment complex at 1290 Park Bl. just prior to the scooter being located. Whoever stole the scooter, had cut the wires, possibly trying to hotwire it. The scooter was returned to the complainant.
- 11/12/18 at 1920 hours, Officers responded to a vehicle burglary at Oleander Street. The complainant advised he saw a black male breaking into his neighbor’s vehicle. The complainant gave a description of the male, and Officers located him nearby. The male was positively identified by the complainant, arrested, and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Juvenile Detention Center for violating LRS 14:62 Simple Burglary.
- 11/13/18 a resident reported to Nextdoor that a red bicycle with a basket on the front was stolen from their porch. They were advised to file a Police report, but never did.
- 11/16/18 at 2050 hours, Officers responded to Park Bl. relative to the complaint of shots fired in the area. However, the noise was determined to be fireworks.
- 11/17/18 at 2149 hours, Officers responded to Park Bl. relative to a stolen vehicle complaint. Officers arrived on scene and determined the vehicle was not stolen but towed because it was improperly parked.
- 11/19/18 a resident reported a car cover was stolen from his carport via Nextdoor. They were advised to file a report, but never did.
- 11/20/18 at 1648 hours, Officers responded to Cherokee Street relative to a suspicious incident. The complainant reported five black male juveniles walked up to their vehicle and pulled the door handle. The juveniles fled when the complainant walked out of their home. Officers patrolled the area but were unable to locate the juveniles. The complainant called the next day at 1421 hours to report two of the juveniles had returned to their home to apologize for trying to open their car door. The juveniles were no longer on scene to be identified when Officers arrived the second time.
Have you ever noticed those little tumbleweed looking balls attached to the branches our local trees. You might have seen them in our lovely live oaks or sweet olive trees but they seem to be most prevalent in the crepe myrtles. Those little puff balls are known as ball moss. Ball moss or Tillandsia recurvata is related to Spanish moss. They both live on host plants, but do not rob them of nutrients. There are some trees in Baton Rouge and in the Garden District where the ball moss has filled the tree and blocked the sunlight from the leaves, weakening the tree. Ball moss flowers in the spring. The seeds will scatter with the wind so the moss will take up residency in nearby trees. You might want to remove the balls from your trees before they become a problem. Our crepe myrtle trees are susceptible. For more information, please read the excellent article from the Advocate, which was reprinted in the Baton Rouge Green Newsletter.read more