Belle Chasse, Louisiana in the running for “Cleanest City”


Cleanest City Chairman Joy Palazola presents a “Louisiana Garden Club Federation Inc Certificate of Merit” to Parish President Billy Nungesser, Belle Chasse Garden Club Chairman Mary Hazen, Director of Public Works Byron Williams, and Recreation Department Superintendent Corey Buie. Photo by Jessica Gonzales

Judges from the Louisiana Garden Club’s “Cleanest City Contest” met with members of the Belle Chasse Garden club, Director of Public Service Byron Williams, and Superintendent of the Recreation Department Corey Buie Thursday April 6 at the Plaquemines Parish Government office for the initial judging process, and a tour of Belle Chasse.

The judges calculated the scores based on several criteria including approaches (welcome signs, etc.), public and municipal buildings, parks & recreation areas, cemeteries, business establishments, residential areas, streets, sidewalks, neutral grounds, community involvement and more.

The contest has been inspiring cities across Louisiana to beautify since 1958, and this is the first time Belle Chasse has entered. The initiative is a co-effort of the Belle Chasse Garden Club and the Plaquemines Parish Government.

“Our mission statement is ‘Litter Free, Plaquemines Proud’,” explained Belle Chasse Garden Club Chairman Mary Hazen. “The Louisiana Garden Club Federation Inc. and the Belle Chasse Garden Club encourage residents, businesses, clubs, and visitors to our parish to be Plaquemines Proud and litter-free.”

During the April 5 initial meeting at the Parish Government Office, Judge Joe Baucum explained to Belle Chasse Garden Club members that judges look for city’s with year-round dedication to beautification.

“Garden Club focus should be encouraging that year-round beautification by encouraging public planting and doing some litter campaign with schools, not just beautification around the contest judging period,” said Baucum.

Director of Public Service Byron Williams explained to the judges that the recreation department does a tremendous job maintaining the parish’s many public grounds, as well as regularly maintaining the parish’s ballfields.

In terms of public works, Garden Club member Mary Ann Relle told the judges of their February 23 oak tree planting at Medal of Honor Park and a “welcome sign” project that has taken 3 years to complete due to many DOTD and government compliance rules.

“We’ve completed the design for a brand new Welcome Sign that will be placed at the entrance of the parish in the Hwy 406 area, and we just finished the Belle Chasse High School lands,” Relle stated. “We usually take on 1 or 2 learner projects per year.”

Cleanest City Contest Chairman Joy Palazola explained that entering cities compete against cities with similar population numbers, and Belle Chase is in Category G. The Category G winner for the last two years has been Pineville, LA, located in Rapides Parish– two hours south of Shreveport.

Belle Chasse Garden Club members will find out in May if they can take home the ‘Cleanest City’ title, and they remain optimistic about a cleaner future for the entire parish.

“We’re just entering Belle Chasse in the contest this year, but our goal is to see the entire parish get into it and be litter free,” said Hazen.

Litter Free, Plaquemines Proud Tips: 5 Ways to Control Litter from the Belle Chasse Garden Club

  1. Set an example by not littering.
  2. Pick up one piece of litter every day.
  3. Every week, pick up all the litter in front of your house, including the street
  4. Ask your neighbors to properly dispose of their trash. Show them the difference between a clean area and an area spoiled by litter, and stress why it’s important to put trash in proper containers.
  5. Make sure that your trash cans have lids that can be securely attached. If you have curbside trash service, don’t put out unopened containers or boxes filled with trash.

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