Homeowners tired of waiting for EBR parish to clean ditches take matters into their own hands

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana (WAFB) – With storm clouds forming, the owners of the Old Jefferson neighborhood decided they could no longer wait for parish workers to come and clean up the drainage ditch parallel to the community .

The ditch is behind the homes of Proxie Dr. During the torrential rains in May, it swelled and sent water rushing across the street and into people’s homes.

“I texted my dad at 8:40 am to let him know it was getting closer,” said Jared Schweinefus. “At 9:03 am, it was my home.

Schweinefus had three inches of water inside his house. He caused damage worth $ 58,000.

“I’m not happy, no,” he said. “And speaking with the neighbor across the way, she’s been complaining about it since 2016 and all we got and replied from the council of zone 8 was that they send people to spray the weeds, that’s whatever they can do. “

Tom Patterson said several homeowners reported the ditch was overrun with tangled thickets, fallen trees and debris. He said the reports appeared to have been ignored.

“We had work orders placed to have this ditch along the west side of Proxie Dr. cleared so that the drainage water that came out of the woods and into the ditch was not clogged and went into the backyards. people and in the road, ”Patterson said.

A spokesperson for the mayor’s office said the ditch was sprayed with a herbicide twice a year to reduce vegetative growth. He also said the recently announced $ 20 million drainage initiative includes the clearing and grubbing of Claycut Bayou, into which this neighborhood drains. Apart from this project, the supply ditches, but the spokesperson could not say if this specific drainage ditch would be included.

Instead of waiting for these projects, the owners of the Old Jefferson neighborhood decided to clean up the ditch, clearing it of all debris.

“We went with the neighbors and decided to come here and clean it up ourselves as no one else wanted to do it,” said Charles Carson, whose house suffered minor water damage from it. May storms.

Equipped with shovels, chainsaws and rakes, the group spent most of Friday morning running to clear the ditch. Their goal is to ensure that whatever happens to them this weekend can pass without flooding anyone.

“It’s really hot, but we have to do it to keep our homes from flooding,” Carson said.

According to the East Baton Rouge Public Works Department, he inspected every street in town and parish ahead of the rainy events this weekend. The DPW crews also reportedly focused on 311 reports. A spokesperson said the goal was to meet 100% of requests by the end of the year. Last year, the parish completed 83% of these.

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