Destrehan woman out of danger thanks to community effort  

Sharon Orlando and Travis Davis

Sharon Orlando and her Destrehan home were facing a looming hazard and threat, but a helping hand from her community have her safe and sound.  

Four towering, dead trees loomed over Orlando’s Murray Hill Drive home, threatening to fall upon not only her residence but also posing risk to the streets and the nearby EMS station. While the trees were on her property, the 81-year-old widow was financially unable to solve the problem and have the trees – and danger they posed – removed.  

District III Councilman Walter Pilie became aware of the problem and sought to help matters for Orlando.  

“The trees were something I had heard about and pursued through the parish Risk Management Office … (nothing could be done) because the trees were on private property, not in the servitude of Murray Hill Drive,” said Pilie. “So, I reached out to every group I could think of … I’d heard about the trees for many months.”

He also reached out to Travis Davis and his business, A+ Reliable Tree Service, who Pilie had worked with following Hurricane Ida. Davis, of Destrehan, wanted to help and offered his services to remove all four trees, completely free of charge. That eliminated the immediate threat.  

Pilie said the initiative was further bolstered by contributions from Labor of Love at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, which connected Pilie with Orlando to engage the necessary services, and Courtney Saucier of SCP Community Services, who arranged for the disposal of the trees.

“The removal needed to happen,” said Pilie, who noted Labor of Love had also helped Orlando by rebuilding her front steps last summer.  

He described it as a feel-good situation to be able to help Orlando, who is known to help others as well – she cooks and prepares food for the needy as a volunteer.  

“It just made me want to think of every angle possible to help her … it took a lot of collaboration, but we got it done,” Pilie said. “Everyone involved played a part in turning a potential tragedy into a testament to community success.”

Orlando was overwhelmed by the support of so many people and called it a miracle.

“It was a true team effort,” Pilie said. “It demonstrates our collective capacity to make meaningful changes when we unite in support of one another—particularly in helping our seniors, who have given so much to shape our community. I am deeply honored to facilitate such acts of kindness and community care.”

 

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