Not far from where the state is putting up a long sought traffic light in Des Allemands is the cross placed in Karen Duran’s memory on U.S. Highway 90, serving as a powerful reminder of how it got there.
Although area residents have been citing the highway’s speeding traffic and accidents for years, it wasn’t until Duran’s death in an accident there last year that they aired their concerns in person to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) at a town hall meeting last year. It drew officials on local and state levels saying in one unified voice something had to be done.
Last Thursday, the light was being installed at Hwy. 90 and LA 632.
Councilmen Paul Hogan organized the meeting that drew more than 100 people, but both he and Councilman Billy Woodruff pushed for the light with the DOTD.
The effort to get it dated back years with Parish Council resolutions and to Hogan’s mother, Annabel Hogan, who started Concerned Citizens for School Bus Safety after a truck carrying pipe careened off the highway and onto children waiting for the school bus near there.
Annabel Hogan said Duran’s death apparently became the tipping point of years of worrisome near misses and heart-breaking fatalities.
Woodruff said the town meeting and more recent school zone lights being installed lent to their “getting their foot in the front door” with the DOTD to get the light.
He also recounted near misses with deputies on the highway directing school traffic with traffic traveling 70 or more mph.
“With the light, we’re a lot better,” Woodruff said. “Hopefully, it will cut down on fatalities and accidents at the intersection.”
Just before the light was installed, he said there was a three-vehicle wreck with injuries at that same location on Sunday.