St. Charles Herald-Guide

A heap of trouble

M. Susanne Hinkle - April 12, 2006

Carriage Lane has long been an eye sore for some residents of Ormond Subdivision. In addition, Hurricane Katrina caused residents to evacuate their homes, leaving everything behind. In some cases, residents didn’t return. The street is now the home to several extensive large piles of debris, insulation, sheet rock, household trash and even abandoned automobiles.

Repeated calls to the Army Corps of Engineers and work orders issued without execution has exhausted residents and authorities.

"I am about to lose my patience and if that happens I will have the blighted areas on that street declared a health hazard. That is more trouble than the building owners would care to see," said District 3 Councilman "Ram" Ramchandran.

"I have issued many work orders to have the area cleaned up and none have been executed. I am trying to push this issue through the administration so the area can be cleaned up on the fast track. Unfortunately, my calls and work orders have not been answered. The sub-contractor for the Army Corps of Engineers went bankrupt causing the Corps to subcontract elsewhere, further delaying the clean up process," said Ramchandran.

"The trash is making the whole area look awful. And it's not just trash. It is home furnishings, mattresses, clothes and abandoned cars," said Al Beaubouef, a resident of and developer in Ormond. "The cars have been tagged for removal but so far no action has been taken. Apartment building owners should be held accountable for the trash taken out of their dwellings. I own three developments on Carriage Lane and do not like to see it littered with high heaps of trash. Something has got to be done.”

St. Charles Parish Planning and Zoning has said that it has no power to enforce the clean up. "As long as the footprint of the building is not changed, there is no ordinance to be enforced that would block building owners from disposing of interior sheet rock, insulation and other trash on the curbside. I believe Planning and Zoning should inforce the clean up," said Ramchandran. "The building owners in the area feel no obligation to keep their tentants happy. They just sit back and collect rent on apartments that were, in my opinion, poorly kept before Katrina."

Local residents have also complained about the growing crime rate in the area. To those comments, Sheriff Greg Champagne said "We are currently working very diligently to curb the instances of the crime in the area of Carriage Lane and beyond. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, there has been an influx of people to the area, with that comes a higher crime rate. We have a heavy police presence in the area and continue to work with residents to help solve the crime problem."

“There is police presence in the area and the sheriff is working with residents to clean up the streets of Ormond,” said Beaubouef.

An abandoned vehicle surrounded by piles of trash sits idle on Carriage Lane in Ormond Subdivision.
Susanne Hinkle
An abandoned vehicle surrounded by piles of trash sits idle on Carriage Lane in Ormond Subdivision.