WBRZ https://www.wbrz.com/ WBRZ On Your Side On Your Side en-us Copyright 2024, WBRZ. All Rights Reserved. Feed content is not avaialble for commercial use. () () Sun, 14 Apr 2024 HH:04:ss GMT Synapse CMS 10 WBRZ https://www.wbrz.com/ 144 25 Flooding on Southdowns street addressed following 2 On Your Side report https://www.wbrz.com/news/flooding-on-southdowns-street-addressed-following-2-on-your-side-report/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/flooding-on-southdowns-street-addressed-following-2-on-your-side-report/ On Your Side Wed, 10 Apr 2024 3:46:41 PM Brittany Weiss Flooding on Southdowns street addressed following 2 On Your Side report

BATON ROUGE - People living along Aberdeen Avenue in the Southdowns neighborhood of Baton Rouge are excited to see their street drain. They reached out to 2 On Your Side for help several months ago and got some relief.

The City took action. Their response made a difference and people like Emma Antilley hope it did the trick.

"It's a huge improvement in quality of life," Antilley said.

At the end of January, 2 On Your Side visited with Antilley and several of her neighbors about the repeated flooding they have on their street. After it rained, the water would collect in the road and pour over curbs into yards. The water sat there for hours and was pushed higher into front yards by vehicles driving through. High rain boots became a necessity.

The water trouble is something the neighborhood has been dealing with for years.

"They thought they talked to everybody," Antilley said.

Turns out, Aberdeen Avenue had been on the city's radar, but action had not been taken. The city had to find the money to investigate the problem. A few weeks ago Compliance EnviroSystems, a sanitary inspection company, brought their trucks and cameras along with several crew members to get to the root of the problem.

"They ended up finding a blockage on the corner," Antilley said.

The crew returned several times, unraveling tree roots and debris that blocked water flow. Crews also found a manhole covered by asphalt.

"It seems to have fixed the problem and we're so thankful," Antilley said.

Cars now have no trouble driving down the street, a simple concept that Antilley had trouble imagining.

"I didn't think it would happen this quickly and I wasn't expecting it to feel that important to people, I'm super thankful to you and everybody that helped us with this and for feeling like they cared," she said.

Antilley now has some peace of mind knowing that things will be different.

The city drove along Aberdeen Avenue Wednesday morning to check on the drainage to make sure things were working as they should be.


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Drivers avoid four-way stop, treat cut through like racetrack https://www.wbrz.com/news/drivers-avoid-four-way-stop-treat-cut-through-like-racetrack/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/drivers-avoid-four-way-stop-treat-cut-through-like-racetrack/ On Your Side Tue, 9 Apr 2024 3:48:28 PM Brittany Weiss Drivers avoid four-way stop, treat cut through like racetrack

BATON ROUGE - A neighborhood is at its wits end after the city's traffic engineering department came back and told them their street doesn't meet the qualifications for traffic calming.

Frank Wilson has lived along Crestwood Street in Baton Rouge for more than a decade. He says he's tired of people using his street as a cut through.

"This is a friendly residential street that should be a safe place to play," Wilson said.

For the most part, it is a safe place to play. Between the hours of 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. weekdays it's a different story. That's when drivers zip around Crestwood Street like it's a racetrack.

"They're zipping through here so fast, it's dangerous," he said.

It's a four-way stop on Cedarcrest Avenue at Patricia Drive that some drivers have learned to steer clear of. During the rush hour, cars back up 20 to 30 deep waiting to pass through the intersection. To avoid it, they turn right on Seracedar Street and follow it around Crestwood Street until they reach the four-way stop at Patricia Drive and Cedarcrest Avenue.

Wilson says they speed through to cut the line. His neighbor says drivers save about four minutes by doing this. It's gotten so chaotic that one of his neighbors requested a traffic study but it didn't meet enough criteria for the city to initiate a traffic calming measure.

"We've contacted City Hall, we've contacted the police, we've contacted you guys, we're trying anything and everything we can to at least get someone to look at the problem and acknowledge that it is a problem and then start talking about solutions," Wilson said.

One of the residents says they have made a request for the Baton Rouge Police Department to visit the area since the "drive like your kids live here" signs don't appear to be working.


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Constable posting warrant notices on doors, woman receives one in error https://www.wbrz.com/news/constable-posting-warrant-notices-on-doors-woman-receives-one-in-error/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/constable-posting-warrant-notices-on-doors-woman-receives-one-in-error/ On Your Side Mon, 8 Apr 2024 3:52:41 PM Brittany Weiss Constable posting warrant notices on doors, woman receives one in error

BATON ROUGE - One woman came home from work last week to a green notice on her door saying she had an active warrant for her arrest and had 24 hours to get in touch with the city constable and clear her name.

It scared her. Not sure if the notice was legitimate or a scam, the woman contacted 2 On Your Side.

Theresa, who does not want to provide her last name, lives in the Broadmoor Plantation community. The green notice was posted on her door and others nearby.

"It certainly felt like a big deal when I got home from work and spent a night thinking I was in some sort of legal trouble," Theresa said.

At the bottom of the notice was her apartment number and her full name. Theresa called the number on the notice to learn that the office was closed.

"I freaked out because I have not had any tickets, no traffic violations, no kind of interactions with police at all," Theresa said.

Fearing she'd be arrested, Theresa checked the online city court warrant lookup and her name came back with zero results. The next morning she called the court just to be sure and was instructed to come downtown, where she confirmed her name was clear of any tickets.

"She said your name's clear, she's like we've gotten lots of these today," Theresa said.

The City Constable says there are 112,000 active bench warrants in Baton Rouge. The warrants are for a variety of things, including seat belt violations, speeding tickets, and lapsed insurance. Constable Terrica Williams says deputy constables are working to clear up some paperwork.

"They'll knock on the door, if no one answers the door then they'll leave a notice on the door," Williams said.

The point is to avoid arresting people by giving a warning.

"Come in and take care of their business, that's all we want them to do," Williams said.

Last week, the constable's office was in Broadmoor Plantation, and Theresa's name got caught up in the mix.

"Somehow as they were writing the names, this name was on the list and they accidentally wrote it, which was by accident; it was an error," Williams said.

While most of the notices are going to people with active warrants, Theresa says she lost sleep over what happened and had to miss work to clear it up.

"It sent me into a complete panic," she said.

Since the error, Williams says she has met with her warrant team and instructed them to triple-check all data before knocking on a door or leaving a notice. Williams has also improved the notice to make it less daunting by removing the deadline and some wording. The warrant file number will also be placed on the notice along with the name.


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Victim says Baker School System failed in handling her, others' abuse https://www.wbrz.com/news/victim-says-baker-school-system-failed-in-handling-her-others-abuse/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/victim-says-baker-school-system-failed-in-handling-her-others-abuse/ On Your Side Fri, 5 Apr 2024 3:53:27 PM Brittany Weiss Victim says Baker School System failed in handling her, others' abuse

BAKER - A woman says she is also a victim of sexual misconduct by a Baker School System employee who was recently arrested.

Antonia Caine was the principal at Baker Middle School up until last fall when the school system did not renew her contract. She says around the time she left, she had an encounter with a colleague that haunts her to this day.

"He touched my shoulder, then each time he would go down, he touched my back and he touched my butt," said Caine.

According to an arrest warrant from Baker City Police, last month an incident between two Baker School System employees took place at the Baker School Board warehouse. The victim says 58-year-old Rodney Craig asked her to "fool around," pressed his body and genitals up against her, then grabbed himself.

Caine says she had several disturbing encounters with Craig at work and that they have been reported to the school system.

"I reported it in writing and in person," she said.

The incident from last month has also been reported to the Baker School Board, which according to court documents told the victim and Craig to avoid contact. However, it's noted in the arrest documents that Craig attempted to make contact with the victim by phone. The victim now has a protective order against Craig.

Craig's employment status is unclear. On Thursday, School Board President Joyce Burges told 2 On Your Side that Craig is on administrative leave. In an email to WBRZ, Superintendent James Stroder said he never told anyone Craig was placed on administrative leave. Stroder says it's an ongoing personnel matter and he is not allowed to comment.

As Caine recalls her experience, she says there are other victims.

"You just don't know who else has been affected by this man," she said.

Caine feels let down by the Baker School System and her community. She says the leadership has failed her and others.

"Anybody that allows this type of abuse and neglect to happen, it's timeout for that. We are in 2024!" she said.

According to the Baker School System website, Craig is listed as the Plant & Facilities Operations Technician. The arrest warrant states the Craig has been served with a copy of the victim's protective order. He faces one count of sexual battery.


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SMA patient searching for doctor, turned away due to insurance https://www.wbrz.com/news/sma-patient-searching-for-doctor-turned-away-due-to-insurance/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/sma-patient-searching-for-doctor-turned-away-due-to-insurance/ On Your Side Thu, 4 Apr 2024 2:35:51 PM Brittany Weiss SMA patient searching for doctor, turned away due to insurance

UPDATE: After Donovan's story, several doctors reached out hoping to help. Monday, Sydney met with one of the doctors who agreed to see her and will help her with any future needs.

BATON ROUGE - Sydney Donovan has overcome a lot of health challenges. Now, at 19-years-old, she's looking for a new doctor. Her mom, Sherry Donovan, says it's been difficult to find a doctor who will treat her because of her age and insurance.

At 12, Sydney received a life-saving drug shown to stop the progression of a rare genetic disorder, Spinal Muscular Atrophy, or SMA. Since becoming a legal adult she has been having trouble finding doctors who will accept her insurance, Legacy Medicaid.

"Medicaid's been good to us, you know, but I'm at a standpoint where I don't know where to go from here," said Sherry.

Sydney starting having seizures about a year ago. Earlier this year she complained of back pain and needs to be seen by a doctor. Sherry says they can't find anyone who will see her or read an X-ray.

Sherry says her daughter has been recommended to several doctors but each time she calls to make an appointment she gets the same response - they can't take Legacy Medicaid.

Fearing that her daughter isn't alone, she called 2 On Your Side.

"It's like when they turn to an adult they think they can go out on her own, and they can't," said Sherry.

The Donovans are searching for an orthopedic, one who will take her insurance.

The state has been contacted for assistance.


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Baker school system employee arrested, accused of sexual battery https://www.wbrz.com/news/baker-school-system-employee-arrested-accused-of-sexual-battery/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/baker-school-system-employee-arrested-accused-of-sexual-battery/ On Your Side Thu, 4 Apr 2024 1:57:11 PM Brittany Weiss Baker school system employee arrested, accused of sexual battery

BAKER - A Baker school system employee is on administrative leave following an arrest.

According to arrest documents, detectives with the Baker City Police Department were alerted to a complaint of sexual battery that happened on Tuesday, March 5, at the Baker School Board office located on Plank Road in Baker.

Rodney Craig, 58, is facing a charge of sexual battery.

The affidavit says the victim, who is also an employee within the school system, asked Craig for help getting supplies at the school board warehouse. Once the two were alone in the warehouse, the victim says Craig expressed his attraction to her and hinted at having an affair. From there, the victim stated that Craig got close, pressed his body against hers and grabbed his genitals.

Arrest documents say an official investigation was initiated by the school board. Both the victim and Craig were instructed to avoid contact, however, Craig attempted to make contact on March 22. The victim has filed a protective order against Craig. He was arrested the next day.


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Landowner allows pipeline access, blames work for property flooding https://www.wbrz.com/news/landowner-allows-pipeline-access-blames-work-for-property-flooding/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/landowner-allows-pipeline-access-blames-work-for-property-flooding/ On Your Side Tue, 2 Apr 2024 3:41:07 PM Brittany Weiss Landowner allows pipeline access, blames work for property flooding

ZACHARY - A property owner living a few hundred feet away from the Comite Diversion Canal project says he's locked into a deal that's causing him to flood. After his concerns were ignored, he contacted 2 On Your Side.

When Jimmy Pigrenet bought his property on Old Baker Road 15 years ago, he says he had no idea what was coming. Several years ago he signed a deal giving a company permission to access his land to move a Shell Oil pipeline to make way for the Comite Diversion Canal. A new access point is being built right next to his house and he says it's been a "total nightmare."

"They just do what they want and don't worry about the landowners next to them," Pigrenet said.

The contracted company built a road to access the pipeline. It snakes through his property and alongside it.

"They put a dirt road and raised it, which puts me in a bowl now," he said.

Pigrenet says his property was once draining fine but now when it rains his land sits wet for days. He says the extra water prevents him from mowing his lawn and it is making his chickens sick.

"I can't use it all, it's totally useless to me," Pigrenet said.

His attempt to reason with the pipeline crew have not panned out. Pigrenet says he can't get a return phone call. When more dirt was being hauled in a couple of weeks ago, he called 2 On Your Side.

Shell Oil company responded to 2 On Your Side and met with Pigrenet about his concerns on Tuesday. They offered to built a swale around the road and direct the water to the road-side drainage ditch. Pigrenet says that ditch is clogged.

He feels frustrated and forgotten, caught up in all the progress happening around him. It's affecting his land, home, and chickens.

"It's going to flood," he said.

That work to redirect the water could start this month. Shell Oil says it takes Pigrenet's concerns seriously and provided the following statement.

While we were able to clarify that these issues are largely unrelated to Shell operations there, we are sympathetic to Pigrenet's concerns. Shell takes pride in the communities in which we live and work and we will do our best to optimize the drainage as well as minimize the impact on the land's appearance in the areas of the property where we are carrying out our contracted work.

The City-Parish has also been contacted regarding Pigrenet's drainage ditch concerns.

In exchange for the land access, Pigrenet says his agreement includes an approximately $2,000 payment every five years.


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Home repairs made, in works for victim in police chase that ended in crash https://www.wbrz.com/news/home-repairs-made-in-works-for-victim-in-police-chase-that-ended-in-crash/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/home-repairs-made-in-works-for-victim-in-police-chase-that-ended-in-crash/ On Your Side Mon, 1 Apr 2024 2:04:33 PM Brittany Weiss Home repairs made, in works for victim in police chase that ended in crash

BATON ROUGE - After a car being chased by police crashed into her home, 2 On Your Side helped Connie Bailey replace what was damaged and lost.

Bailey was at home on March 10, 2024, when a car ran into her house and the one next door. It knocked out the gas line to her home and the foundation of her front porch. It's been three weeks since she's been able to cook on her stove or take a hot bath.

"I heard a loud bam, bam, and then my house shook from one side to the other," Bailey said..

Following a 2 On Your Side report, a crew stopped by her home. Anthony Disedare of Marino & Son Plumbing and Heating Inc. made the repairs to get her gas line operational.

"Jeff Simpson over at Welder's Supply in Port Allen actually gave us a call and he says, 'Hey man, I saw this incident happen on the news and I'd really like to help out if you guys are in the area if you could go over there and just send me the bill,'" Anthony Disedare said.

Disedare says they stopped everything and went to Bailey's home as soon as they heard.

The Monday following Easter, Entergy installed a new meter at Bailey's house and she is finally able to use her gas once again.

"I felt like I was a lost case when it first happened," Bailey said.

The Baton Rouge Police Department said the car crashed into two houses on O'Dell Street and broke a gas meter at the end of a police pursuit. That car, driven by a 16-year-old, had been stolen. Bailey's house was caught up in the mess.

Friend and neighbor Michael Clouart reached out to 2 On Your Side for help. The city's general adjuster found no negligence on the city's part and says any liability falls on the suspect.

"And that's when I reached out to you Channel 2 News because the lady is an innocent victim and she doesn't deserve to live this way," Clouart said.

Now her gas is reconnected. After three weeks she'll finally be able to cook and take a hot shower.

Several jacks help hold up Bailey's front porch after the car hit her favorite sitting spot. Her front porch will need to be rebuilt and secured. Clouart is hopeful someone will help.

"So she can continue to enjoy her life on her porch," Clouart said.

It's her happy place.

A crew has reached out to 2 On Your Side and has plans to rebuild Bailey's porch. They hope to start next week. Crime Victims Reparations has also been contacted.


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Downtown parking enforcement to begin, patrolled by BRPD https://www.wbrz.com/news/downtown-parking-enforcement-to-begin-patrolled-by-brpd/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/downtown-parking-enforcement-to-begin-patrolled-by-brpd/ On Your Side Thu, 28 Mar 2024 2:29:05 PM Brittany Weiss Downtown parking enforcement to begin, patrolled by BRPD

BATON ROUGE - If you work in or visit downtown Baton Rouge, chances are you have experienced parking. It's not always easy, and has taken the City-Parish many years to transition from coin-fed machines to card-reading kiosks and pay-by-app.

Alas, parking kiosks were installed downtown in the fall of 2022 and a year, and a half later, the city is finally ready to enforce violators.

Baton Rouge Police will start writing tickets for those who are parked without paying or staying beyond the allotted time on Monday, April 29. Police have already been writing tickets for drivers parked illegally in handicap spots or loading zones.

Captain Brian Blake is the 5th District Commander and will have 23 officers patrolling streets Downtown keeping drivers in check. Each officer is equipped with a hand-held tablet that allows them to look up a driver's parking information.

"They can go down the road, they can type in the license plate and it's going to show whether they paid the meter, did not pay the meter, or they're past their two-hour parking limit," said Blake.

There is a parking kiosk installed on every block downtown. Signage has been in place and people are noticing and utilizing the QR codes and texting options. Those codes will lead you to the Flowbird USA app on your smartphone and allow you to pay to park from the palm of your hand.

"If you're having an issue with a kiosk, that Flowbird app is very easy to use," said city spokesperson Mark Armstrong.

Enforcement will be Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., excluding holidays. It will cost you $1 an hour or $0.25 every fifteen minutes to park. Street parking will have a maximum time limit of two hours. Violation tickets will start at $10.

If you are going to park longer than two hours during the enforcement period, the city suggests using a parking garage or a surface parking lot. People can also park for free under the interstates on the perimeter of downtown.

"It's very important for the downtown economy that street parking is readily available as much as possible," said Armstrong.

The city says that enforcement will ensure visitors have a convenient place to park when visiting downtown establishments during business hours.


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Property abandoned, neighbor continues years-long battle to address Ascension Parish blight https://www.wbrz.com/news/property-abandoned-neighbor-continues-years-long-battle-to-address-ascension-parish-blight/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/property-abandoned-neighbor-continues-years-long-battle-to-address-ascension-parish-blight/ On Your Side Wed, 27 Mar 2024 3:52:52 PM Brittany Weiss Property abandoned, neighbor continues years-long battle to address Ascension Parish blight

PRAIRIEVILLE - It's a problem 2 On Your Side has been looking into for several years — one woman's fight with the blight adjacent to her property. The property in question is on Charlie Brown Road off of LA-933 near Joe Sevario Road.

Deanna Landry first reached out to Brittany Weiss for assistance in 2018. At that time, the Parish told 2 On Your Side it was at the top of their list of issues to address, but six years later the condition of the property has only worsened.

Landry and her husband own about six acres of land in Ascension Parish. Adjacent to that property there are two lots that back up to theirs that hold dilapidated trailers and a couple of sheds. The lots are overgrown with fallen trees and other items. One of the trailers has been stripped for scrap metal.

"Rodents go in and out, people have reported vagrants going in and out of it," she said.

While some have suggested she put up a tall privacy fence, Landry says she doesn't feel she should have to fork over the money to enclose her property because of a neighbor who doesn't tend to theirs. Instead, Landry has planted trees to hide the eyesore, but she said enough time has gone by and she would like it to be taken care of once and for all.

"It's upsetting, just because we work so hard to maintain our property," Landry said.

In 2022, the Parish told 2 On Your Side it was exhausting its resources to address the violation on Charlie Brown Road and said it was a complex issue.

"I have emails and emails saying they've sent letters to the owners that they haven't picked up, and then they say they've been given dates to appear in court and they don't show up," Landry said.

The Parish has been out to the two properties several times. Two new cases have been initiated for the Code Enforcement Division. Officers will be visiting the properties for thorough inspections. Once the inspection is complete the Parish said it will provide an update on the proposed course of action.

Landry said she doesn't feel safe living next to the area and is frustrated after fighting the problem for so long.

"I don't know what to do at this point," she said.

Ascension Parish said its Code Enforcement Division aims to ensure that all properties within its jurisdiction adhere to regulatory standards and is committed to effecting positive change within the community.


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Victim in police chase that ended in crash looking for help repairing home https://www.wbrz.com/news/victim-in-police-chase-that-ended-in-crash-looking-for-help-repairing-home/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/victim-in-police-chase-that-ended-in-crash-looking-for-help-repairing-home/ On Your Side Mon, 25 Mar 2024 3:51:40 PM Brittany Weiss Victim in police chase that ended in crash looking for help repairing home

BATON ROUGE — A woman's home was hit by a teen driving a stolen car at the end of a police pursuit. Her front porch is now propped up by jacks and doesn't have a working gas meter.

Thankfully, Connie Bailey wasn't injured in the incident, but her home is damaged because of that car crashing into her house. She's disabled, on a fixed income and can't afford the repairs. Michael Clouart is Bailey's neighbor. He reached out to 2 On Your Side fearing the woman might be forgotten.

"All she's asking is her damage be repaired, that's all," Clouart said.

Bailey often sits on her front porch in the mornings. Two weeks ago she was inside when the crash happened.

"I heard a loud bam, bam! Then my house shook from one side to the other," Bailey said.

Baton Rouge Police said the car crashed into two houses on Odell Street and broke a gas meter at the end of a police pursuit. Without working gas, Bailey is unable to cook on her stove, heat her home or take a hot bath.

Clouart helped Bailey file a damage claim through the city. He said the city's adjuster, Sedgwick, reached out to him on Friday telling him that Baton Rouge Police is not responsible.

"The City of Baton Rouge is not liable for any of these damages," he said.

Instead he was told to file a claim with another party inadvertently involved: the car owner.

"He wants us to go after the insurance that covers the stolen car, that was being driven by the 16-year-old suspect!" Clouart said.

Bailey has lived in her home all of her life. While the house shows its age, before the car ran into it, it was functional. Now it is not.

"We know you guys were doing a fantastic job, you were doing what you had to do but in the process the lady's home was damaged, just make good and repair her home," Clouart said.

BRPD said the officers involved followed policy. Sedgwick said it is unable to release any information on this case.


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Homeowner determined to find responsible party for flooding issues https://www.wbrz.com/news/homeowner-determined-to-find-responsible-party-for-flooding-issues/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/homeowner-determined-to-find-responsible-party-for-flooding-issues/ On Your Side Fri, 22 Mar 2024 3:52:34 PM Brittany Weiss Homeowner determined to find responsible party for flooding issues

BATON ROUGE - Patricia Sullivan says she wants someone to take responsibility for all the water that's flooding her property every time it rains.

"They've been telling us since 2005 that they're going to fix it and they have never fixed it," she said.

Sullivan's home backs up to Jefferson Terrace Park. It's a nice spot when the sun is shining and it's dry. After some rain, the area fills with water and it appears to flood Sullivan's yard and drain through it, down her driveway.

"It will be completely underwater, they can Boogie Board back here," she said.

Sullivan has spent many years trying to get to the bottom of what's going on. She says she's spent thousands trying to solve the issue on her end, but the problem remains.

Both BREC and the City-Parish have been out to her property to investigate. So far, there have been no results.

"They just looked at me and they said, 'this is  your problem,' and they left and they haven't been back since," said Sullivan.

BREC tells 2 On Your Side that there is a collapsed pipe underground that does not belong to the park system. BREC says that collapsed pipe is creating problems on their side of the fence, too. There is a city sewer right behind Sullivan's property. After sending a photo to the City-Parish, several trucks drove to Sullivan's home Friday to investigate.

So far, the city says it doesn't appear to have anything to do with City-Parish infrastructure.


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Homeowner fears broken guardrail creates safety issue, several requests submitted for repairs https://www.wbrz.com/news/homeowner-fears-broken-guardrail-creates-safety-issue-several-requests-submitted-for-repairs/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/homeowner-fears-broken-guardrail-creates-safety-issue-several-requests-submitted-for-repairs/ On Your Side Thu, 21 Mar 2024 3:46:22 PM Brittany Weiss Homeowner fears broken guardrail creates safety issue, several requests submitted for repairs

UPDATE The City-Parish made repairs to the guardrail Monday morning. Melody Russell says she is happy to have her safety net back in place.

BATON ROUGE - A guardrail protecting a home was knocked down by a car last December. For months, it has been sitting in one woman's yard and she'd like for it to be put back where it belongs.

After several calls to the city, Melody Russell called 2 On Your Side.

"It's too heavy for me to move I can't do anything about it," said Russell.

The heavy-duty guardrail typically stands at the fork in College Drive headed toward Jefferson Highway. It's a spot where cars often whip through. Some, despite the flashing arrows and signage, miss the turn. The guardrail is meant to be Russell's safety net.

"It's a safety concern, of course, I mean, I don't want anyone in my living room," she said.

Since she has lived in her home on the College Drive island, Russell has experienced cars hitting the guardrail several times a year. This last time she was quick to make a report.

"Within 15 minutes I called 311," she said.

Russell is not the only one who has called, a handful of her neighbors have chimed in and reported the broken guardrail.

"We're just trying to get it repaired, it's been sitting in that same spot since December 18," said Russell.

In the meantime, she's been mowing and weed-eating around the mangled metal and thick wooden posts. It's bent and leaning on her shrubbery. While it sits there, she prays another car doesn't miss the turn.


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Multiple attempts to pay late daughter's bill go unaddressed by furniture company, fees accrue https://www.wbrz.com/news/multiple-attempts-to-pay-late-daughter-s-bill-go-unaddressed-by-furniture-company-fees-accrue/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/multiple-attempts-to-pay-late-daughter-s-bill-go-unaddressed-by-furniture-company-fees-accrue/ On Your Side Tue, 19 Mar 2024 4:37:20 PM Brittany Weiss Multiple attempts to pay late daughter's bill go unaddressed by furniture company, fees accrue

BATON ROUGE - A mom is trying to settle the debt of her daughter who died last year. There's one bill from a furniture company that will not go away. After exhausting her options, she called 2 On Your Side.

Barbara Narcisse's daughter, Sheena Daniels, died last August from a heart attack. After she died, Narcisse tried to get her daughter's affairs in order. She started paying her bills so her two grandchildren wouldn't inherit their mother's debt.

However, one bill will not go away. Since September, Narcisse said she has been trying to pay her daughter's bill with Conn's Home Plus. It's turning out to be a lot harder than she thought it would be.

"I have contacted Conn's repeatedly, they won't let me pay it," she said.

Daniels had just made a payment to Conn's, then days later passed away.

"She worked hard, two to three jobs to try and pay her bills," Narcisse said.

Each month, Narcisse has received a bill in the mail for the amount owed. What was once about $2,000 has blossomed to about $4,000. Each document said the payment is past due.

After several phone calls to the company, a visit to each Baton Rouge location and sending the company a copy of her daughter's death certificate, she called 2 On Your Side for help.

"How can she be past due when she's dead?" Narcisse said. "I want to pay it and you all won't let me pay it."

The fees continue to accrue and the bills keep coming in her daughter's name.

"I just want closure," Narcisse said.

Tuesday afternoon, 2 On Your Side heard from public relations on behalf of Conn's. The representative said it can't share customer information, but will be reaching out to Narcisse to take the appropriate action to resolve the matter.

Once the billing issue is resolved, this story will be updated.


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Council to vote on UDC change regarding forensic facilities https://www.wbrz.com/news/council-to-vote-on-udc-change-regarding-forensic-facilities/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/council-to-vote-on-udc-change-regarding-forensic-facilities/ On Your Side Mon, 18 Mar 2024 3:53:34 PM Brittany Weiss Council to vote on UDC change regarding forensic facilities

BATON ROUGE - The East Baton Rouge Metro Council will take on an amendment to the unified development code that would create a 1,000 foot buffer between a forensic facility and a community like a school, park, or neighborhood.

The measure comes about a year after a forensic psychiatric hospital tried to open in Glen Oaks, which would have been just feet away from a school.

Metro councilman Darryl Hurst and Senator Regina Barrow have been working to put legislation in place that supports what the community has been asking for - planning and zoning criteria for forensic mental health hospitals.

"There is no law," Hurst said.

Following a study, the changes have already been approved by the Planning Commission. They will now be up for a vote Wednesday, March 20 at the Metro Council Zoning meeting.

"I'm not against mental health, I'm for mental health treatment being done the right way - where it belongs - it belongs at least 1,000 feet away from a school, a neighborhood, or a park," Hurst said.

The amendment calls for any future forensic facility to be zoned heavy commercial and must get the council's approval. Hurst is encouraging supporters to be in attendance at Wednesday night's meeting.

"It happened in this neighborhood, but it could be your neighborhood next," he said.

The zoning meeting is at 4 p.m. at City Hall.


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Power company makes changes in neighborhood with frequent outages after call from 2 On Your Side https://www.wbrz.com/news/power-company-makes-changes-in-neighborhood-with-frequent-outages-after-call-from-2-on-your-side/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/power-company-makes-changes-in-neighborhood-with-frequent-outages-after-call-from-2-on-your-side/ On Your Side Wed, 13 Mar 2024 2:02:59 PM Brittany Weiss Power company makes changes in neighborhood with frequent outages after call from 2 On Your Side

PRAIRIEVILLE - A fleet of Entergy trucks were busy at work Wednesday morning making improvements to a neighborhood that often loses power.

Residents living in Tall Timber contacted 2 On Your Side in February for help. Soon after, Entergy committed to inspecting the lines in the neighborhood to see if anything could be done to make changes.

Wednesday morning, at least a dozen trucks arrived on Rustling Oak Drive and Beech Street to swap out some old equipment at the top of each pole. Entergy says it will improve service reliability and help protect the system from lighting.

Margaret Aubin says the response is one of the greatest things she's ever seen.

"I looked out and it was like Christmas, there was a truck at every pole," said Aubin.

Last year, neighbors say their power went out nearly 20 times. Sometimes the lights went out twice in one day, when the sky was blue.

"It would be a beautiful day like today and the power would just - poof - go down," said Aubin.

It happened so frequently that people learned to be prepared for anything. Aubin says she almost purchased a generator to power up her fridge but now hopes she won't have to.

While crews worked, power was turned off for about three hours. It came back on around 11 a.m.


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Veteran's roof repaired after 2 On Your Side report https://www.wbrz.com/news/veteran-s-roof-repaired-after-2-on-your-side-report/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/veteran-s-roof-repaired-after-2-on-your-side-report/ On Your Side Tue, 12 Mar 2024 10:29:28 PM Brittany Weiss Veteran's roof repaired after 2 On Your Side report

BATON ROUGE - A WWII Veteran is resting peacefully under a new roof after she contacted 2 On Your Side for help dealing with the contractors that installed it. 

Lillian Hoover, who is 99-and-a-half years young, has lived in her Southdowns home for decades. She had her roof replaced in 2020 by V&V Roofing. A couple of years later, an air conditioning repair person was in her attic and noticed damage to her roof decking. It looked like someone had stepped through the decking in several places.

Hoover went back and forth with the company, asking for repairs, before calling 2 On Your Side. After the report aired March 5, the community stepped up to help Hoover. More than a dozen roofing companies offered to put a new roof on her home. 

A roofing team from Premier South fixed Hoover's roof over the weekend and found more trouble spots than were originally expected. 

Hoover says she feels really good knowing that there is so much generosity in her community. 


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State captures drone video of red dust site, identifying scope of work https://www.wbrz.com/news/state-captures-drone-video-of-red-dust-site-identifying-scope-of-work/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/state-captures-drone-video-of-red-dust-site-identifying-scope-of-work/ On Your Side Tue, 12 Mar 2024 3:04:30 PM Brittany Weiss State captures drone video of red dust site, identifying scope of work

GONZALES - The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality has taken drone footage of the red dust site in Ascension Parish. The footage will give the state and the parish a better idea of what needs to be done to find a solution to a problem that's been plaguing property owners in Gonzales for years.

The drone took a survey of the more than 400-acre site. The footage will help LDEQ identify the full extent of the issue, help determine a cost estimate, and determine the next steps.

Late last month, 2 On Your Side learned that the parish had met with state leaders and LAlumina about a plan to move dirt from dug retention ponds and cover the red dust. The parish says there is enough dirt to cover the space and future plans include planting grass.

When the conditions are dry and windy, red dust flies from nearby bauxite mud ponds in Gonzales. Property owners have been complaining about the dust landing on homes, in pools, on cars, and worry about breathing it in.

Armando Keller lives about a quarter mile away from the dust site and says when the wind blows in their direction, the sky turns an orange-red color.

"You can taste it in your throat," Keller said.

There is about $4.6 million in mitigation money set aside to complete the project. The money is in a trust fund and to be released will need the green light from Ascension Parish, LAlumina, and LDEQ. Right now, parties involved are making sure there is enough money in the fund to complete all the work. The drone flight on Monday will provide a clearer picture of how far those funds will stretch.

LDEQ Secretary Aurelia Giacometto conducted the initial site visit to assess the situation firsthand. The secretary was there along with Ascension Parish President Clint Cointment, and LAlumina representative Aaron Templet.

"As the leading authority on the health of Louisiana's environment, LDEQ recognizes that this longstanding issue will require cooperation amongst all parties to be resolved expeditiously to alleviate the impact on the community's residents and environment,” said Giacometto.

On Friday, Ascension Government Affairs Director James LeBlanc said the parish hopes to learn some good news about the project moving forward within the next two weeks.


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State environmental agency to take closer look at red dust plan, parish ready to cover red dust https://www.wbrz.com/news/state-environmental-agency-to-take-closer-look-at-red-dust-plan-parish-ready-to-cover-red-dust/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/state-environmental-agency-to-take-closer-look-at-red-dust-plan-parish-ready-to-cover-red-dust/ On Your Side Fri, 8 Mar 2024 3:52:56 PM Brittany Weiss State environmental agency to take closer look at red dust plan, parish ready to cover red dust

GONZALES - Ascension Parish leaders say they are another step closer to enclosing an old bauxite site for good. The parish, along with state representatives met with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and LAlumina a few days after people reported dust flying in the parish.

Ascension Government Affairs Director James LeBlanc says there are plans for LDEQ to fly a drone over the site. That will give them a map of the area and determine the best place to start working. LeBlanc says the state will also perform an assessment to make sure there is enough money to cover the scope of work.

"I think that's everybody's concern - is there enough money in the trust fund to do what we need to do stop this red dust from covering residents' homes," said LeBlanc.

The project would use funds set aside by LAlumina for mitigation purposes. The LAlumina representative says there is about $4.6 million in a fund to cover the costs. To release the funds, a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement will need signatures from Ascension Parish, LAlumina, and LDEQ.

The red dust has been there for decades and has remained in place since the Ormet Corporation closed in the 1980s. Sprinklers have been keeping the dust wet. After numerous complaints about dust flying, LDEQ performed an inspection and learned that many of the sprinklers were not working. LAlumina was ordered by LDEQ to purchase at least 135 new sprinklers, which took a couple of years to install following supply chain issues during the Covid-19 Pandemic. Recently, LAlumina told 2 On Your Side the new sprinklers are not working properly because the pipe carrying that water is covered in scale.

LAlumina says it reached out to Ascension Parish for help last year. Ascension Parish says it has the dirt available and is standing by with the equipment and manpower to get the job done.

It's something many people living and working in the area are anxiously waiting for.

"This causes a problem for everyone in the area," said Armando Keller.

When there are dry and windy conditions, the red dust kicks up and flies around Gonzales like a fog. The dust then settles on every surface imaginable.

"They have to throw furniture away, pressure wash their house and everything because it just destroys all of their stuff," said Keller.

Neighbors of Keller say it has corroded some of their property and are concerned about breathing it in.

"We'd like to know what the heck's all in it," said Steven Mahaffey.

LeBlanc says they hope to learn some good news about the project moving forward in the next two weeks.


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Home elevation trouble, neighbor caught in the middle https://www.wbrz.com/news/home-elevation-trouble-neighbor-caught-in-the-middle/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/home-elevation-trouble-neighbor-caught-in-the-middle/ On Your Side Wed, 6 Mar 2024 4:39:52 PM Brittany Weiss Home elevation trouble, neighbor caught in the middle

DENHAM SPRINGS — There is a home in Denham Springs that's being elevated, a requirement made by FEMA following the 2016 flood. While the work is ongoing, the contractor ran into a problem and part of the house is bowing, leaning onto the property next door. The woman living next door called 2 On Your Side.

Joan Delatte says the wall to her neighbor's garage is at risk of falling over onto her home.

"I mean, I'd hate to go to sleep and the wall fall in!" she said.

It's a fear that's so legitimate she now sleeps in a different room of the house.

Next door, her neighbor's home is in the process of being elevated by several feet. In doing so, the bricks have shifted. The houses in the Plantation Garden Homes neighborhood are built on the property lines. In some cases, there's about an inch between homes - brick nearly touches brick - and now in Delatte's case it does.

"The weight is actually bearing on the corner of my home the wall is actually leaning on my pergola which then leans against my home holding the wall up," Delatte said.

Her neighbor's home is being elevated by Darouse Foundations. Owner Jeff Darouse says back in August he drafted up an agreement for Delatte that would assist all parties along the way and promised to put everything back the way he found it.

"If he was that knowledgeable and the parish was that knowledgeable to grant this why then is there a problem? If there's a problem why don't they fix it on their side?" said Delatte.

Delatte says she did not sign the agreement because it was missing important timeline information. The work started anyway.

"The contractor told me he had 20 years of experience," said Delatte.

Now, months on the job, the contractor has found a problem with the wall closest to Delatte's home. Derouse says the wall was not built to code and will have to be rebuilt. It has no framing and that's caused it to bow. To do that, he says he must work on Delatte's property. Delatte is not on board.

"I didn't birth this baby, why should I be the one to rock and feed it?" said Delatte.

Delatte says she's frustrated with the contractor and the parish and doesn't think it should be on her to help solve the problem. Darouse says he has never raised a home on a zero lot line before and, while it's a complicated job, the property owner has a right.

The contract says he is ready to get to work. Delatte says she would like to know how long the project will take and wants that information in writing. It's something she says she asked for the first time.

A lawyer for Darouse Foundations gave a statement to WBRZ on March 14 saying it never refused to give Delatte a timeline and that the company was "actively engaged" in discussions with Delatte's lawyer at the time she reached out.

"We believed that progress was being made, when Ms. Delatte inexplicably decided to bring her concerns to the media," the statement from Kenneth J. DeRoche Jr. said. "We recognize the importance of addressing concerns raised by neighbors, and we have continued our attempts to engage with Ms. Delatte's attorney to find mutually satisfactory solutions and alleviate any inconvenience."


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