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Man takes on major DIY project, cleans out Dawson Creek himself

BATON ROUGE - It's not the do-it-yourself job anyone would want, but it's the one that's most likely to get things done. A man who is frustrated with flooding from clogged canals in Baton Rouge is taking it upon himself to clear them out.

Stanley Livingston lives on Honeysuckle Avenue, a street that is no stranger to flooding. It's where 10 homes on the short stretch flooded last week. Flowing parallel to Honeysuckle between there and S. Acadian Thruway is Dawson Creek. It often overflows during heavy rain.

Livingston says he's lived in the same house for more than 40 years and has watched Dawson Creek become overgrown.

"It hasn't been cleaned properly in 30 years!" Livingston said.

He first flooded in 1995 and has flooded a handful of times since, including last week. A while ago, Livingston says he asked the city-parish to help him cut down a tree in Dawson Creek behind his house.

"I got to looking at it, and my one tree was not really the problem," Livingston said.

That's why a few weeks ago, tired of waiting on someone else, he decided to do the job himself.

"I decided thatheyif the city's not going to do anything, I'm going to cut them down."

Livingston has been spending his weekends driving his truck down into Dawson Creek, cutting down trees, removing branches and pulling them from the canal. He says he's cut about 200 trees and stacked them into neat piles for the city to come and pick them up.

The Transportation and Drainage Director for the city-parish tells 2 On Your Side that he's applied for state funding for an overhaul of Dawson Creek. It'll cost about $10 million, but Livingston says he's already taken care of a portion of that project.

"All they need is a Bobcat and a chainsaw and a crew of people," Livingston said. "There's no rocket scientist required here, and it doesn't take any study."

He believes that if he hadn't cleaned out that portion of the canal, his flooding issues would have been a lot worse last week. He can only imagine the potential of everyone taking a little piece of the puzzle.

"I just don't think they would because it wasn't easy."

But he can dream, especially since projects to do work downstream are delayed. Until then, the work he's done has at least given him a little peace of mind.

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