Opelousas City Council Local News Community

Committee Discusses Canals, Golf Carts

Featured Photograph: Public Works Director Travis Van Wright exchanging views with Opelousas resident Linda Carrier. (Photograph by Freddie Herpin.)

Editor/Consulting Writer

Members of a Board of Aldermen General Services Committee listened to complaints about municipal canal drainage Tuesday night, while questioning whether golf carts should be allowed on roadways located inside an upscale neighborhood annexed by the City of Opelousas.

Vigorous debate also occurred at times among the four committee members and Public Works Director Travis Van Wright, who agreed to attend more regular Board of Aldermen meetings.

The Committee took no action on the clogged canal issue, since chairman Sherell Roberts indicated that  the city already has a cooperative endeavor with the parish to assist in cleaning canals and providing some street repairs.

Committee members also agreed to discuss the golf cart usage request from the Clos du Bois homeowners association at the monthly September meeting.

Clearing The Canals
Alderwoman and committee member Delita Rubin Broussard and several residents have complained that areas particularly located on the north side of Opelousas, experience flooding due to vegetation overgrowth.

Broussard distributed several photos which show that canal areas which pass through Redmond, Lincoln, Westwego and Coleman streets in addition to an area near Natchez Boulevard, are choked with high weeds that she said block normal drainage.

“There are some places where the weeds are so solid that you can’t tell it’s a canal. Where is all the water going to go? If you can’t do all of them, then do one at a time,” Broussard added.

St. Landry Parish president Jessie Bellard said that he has surveyed the canals in question and the parish can perhaps provide equipment and funding to begin clearing operations.

Bellard however indicated that he cannot act unilaterally. 

“I have (the canals) on my radar and we will try to get some contractors on board. The mayor has to make a request (to the parish) on behalf of the city before we can do anything,” Bellard said.

“We will get a price and if the mayor is okay with it, then we are going to rock and roll with that,” said Bellard.

Sona Anderson and Linda Carrier, who attended the meeting, said something has to be done to assist the northern end of Opelousas with drainage concerns.

Mayor Julius Alsandor said many of the problems about drainage are located in an area where he resides.

Previous estimates, Alsandor indicated, show that it might take as much as $1.2 million to clean the canals on the north side of the city.

City officials, said Alsandor, are aware of the weed extraction issue which is hindered by sewer lines that stretch above the canals and having to access private property to accomplish the work.

Committee member Marvin Richard said the city needs to make an attempt at solving the canal problem.

“Is there something that we have to at least do something? Can’t we do something with the manpower that we have? Richard asked.

Subdivision Golf Carts
Boisy Pitre, who represented Clos du Bois residents, said a majority of subdivision residents have agreed to request city approval to drive electric golf carts through the neighborhood, but Board consent is needed to move the decision forward.

Boisy Pitre speaks about golf carts. (Photograph by Freddie Herpin.)

Pitre added that golf cart operators would be licensed vehicle drivers who have insurance. Although some Clos du Bois residents have expressed concerns about operating the carts on the street, Pitre said more than half of those living in the subdivision have signed a petition asking the city to allow golf cart transportation.

Alderman Charles Cummings told the Committee that Clos du Bois, located off Interstate 49, is partially secluded with little through traffic.

“You also have to be a resident to drive one of the golf carts,” said Cummings.

Richard pointed out that if the Board agrees to allow golf cart operation in Clos du Bois, then other neighborhoods might want the same consideration.