From environmental to monetary issues being faced by our leaders, Evangeline Parish continues to combat litter through the issuance of citations and prevent it through awareness and educational campaigns.
One of the parish’s biggest weapons in fighting litter are local Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) agents, Sgt. Scott Fontenot and Senior Agent Steve Vidrine.
This week, the two LDWF agents spent a day completing work on six litter cases which originated in the parish. By the end of the day, four citations had been written and two cases were still under investigation. The agents spoke with residents and explained each person is responsible for their own trash. As in these cases, when litter is dumped illegally on parish roads and even in waterways, someone must clean it up. Citations are given as a deterrent to littering.
On Tuesday, January 27, the two LDWF agents began following leads in one of their cases at approximately 2:15 p.m. After speaking to two people in one of their cases, the agents decided the person they needed to meet with was Donald Wayne Fuselier Jr. of Mamou. The agents visited two addresses in Mamou between 2:30 and 2:50 p.m., but they could not locate Fuselier. They left numbers at both houses with specific instructions to call them.
After leaving Mamou, the agents followed their next case to the 200 block of West Sixth Avenue in Oakdale. They met with an officer at 3:40 p.m. and asked for directions to the residence. The officer led them the area. When LDWF agents located the address, the house was abandoned. That case was put on hold until more information could be found.
The next address was Oilfield Road in Glenmora. After arriving at the residence at approximately 4:30 p.m., agents made contact with Meagan Moore. After speaking to her on the whereabouts of the litter, she was cited for simple littering.
At 5:10 p.m., agents were back in Mamou speaking with Fuselier. After discussing the location of a trash pile on Gahn Road, which they believed he had dumped, he was issued a ticket for gross littering. Then, Fuselier went to the site to clean it up. LDWF agents told him they would check the site later to see if he had cleared the area of debris.
Earlier in the day, agents issued a gross littering citation to Timothy Wayne Mochel of Mamou and a simple littering citation to Merrell James Fontenot of Ville Platte.
The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has been a strong deterrent in battling litter, and on the side of education and awareness comes a number of programs. In November, the Evangeline Parish Solid Waste Commission kicked off a program to bring litter awareness and prevention to parish residents through a bumper sticker campaign. At the time, James Berthelot, executive director of EPSWC, said their goal was to stop littering in the parish or at least curtail it. He said the local LDWF agents were great and commended Fontenot for his work on kicking off the bumper sticker program after a commissioner discussed the idea with EPSWC. Fontenot did the leg work and met with Sheriff Eddie Soileau to ask his permission to report litter violators to his office.
(The bumper sticker can be found around the community. It states “Help Keep Evangeline Parish Clean. Report Litter Violations. (337) 363-2161.)
The EPSWC also has an award program to encourage residents to report illegal dumping. When a case is made by law enforcement and charges are accepted by the district attorney’s office, the monetary award is released anonymously.
Lots of tax dollars are spent on cleaning up illegal dumpsites and other areas like roadsides, parks and recreational areas, city entrances and lots of other locations around the parish of litter. Some money is funneled into educational programs in an attempt to make residents aware of the economical and environmental problems resulting from litter.
Mamou Police Chief Greg Dupuis and his staff are aggressively pursuing litter violators. He explained the town began seeing more litter due to the increased foot traffic. He hired a compliance officer, Joe Deshotel, to deal with enforcing ordinances like litter. Anyone wanting to report litter in Mamou can call his office at 468-5221. Through calls and patrolling, his department plans to do their part to combat litter.
The City of Ville Platte has an educational program that allows Lucy Litterfree and Simon the Squirrel to talk to interested groups. Pam McGee, aka Simon, said she and her partner, Sharon Fontenot, bring a message to live a litter free life. “It’s important to start early with children so they can learn not to litter.”
Another tool to combat litter is a program that attempts to clear litter from our roadways. Funded by the EPSWC and the Evangeline Parish Police Jury (EPPJ), Evangeline Parish Sheriff Eddie Soileau allows inmates to be utilized to clear away litter. The two agencies utilize monies to pay someone to oversee the inmates.
Recently, the police jury developed a Keep Louisiana Beautiful committee through the national organization in an attempt to bring more awareness on the effects of litter. Organization of the committee continues, and leaders expect the public to begin hearing from them in the early spring.
Juror Bryan Vidrine, who will serve on the committee, said he recently spoke to the state prison system about assisting the parish with the cleanup of Chicot Park Road. He said they’ll be cleaning up on a quarterly basis.
Please don’t litter.