Residents of upscale neighborhood near LSU complain of reoccurring wild frat parties
BATON ROUGE - When most of Lake Villas residents forked over $234,000 to $270,000 for their recently built, modern, and spacious Burbank area homes, they expected to enjoy life in a quiet and family-oriented community.
But according to a recent report by The Advocate, homeowners are repeatedly finding themselves resorting to something they never imagined they'd have to do, calling the police to break up loud and dangerous frat parties.
Residents like Tracey Vicknair explained to The Advocate that groups of students who've banded together to rent homes in the quiet, upscale subdivision have recently begun using their homes to host uncontrolled tailgating parties.
In fact, the number of Lake Breeze Drive homes occupied by LSU fraternity members has led Vicknair and her fellow neighbors to dub the area "Frat Breeze" Drive. It's on this street that many of the wild celebrations take place.
While a party in itself is no bother to residents, it's when the gatherings escalate into instances of LSU students drunkenly urinating in public, stealing street signs, parking illegally, and destroying Halloween decorations that neighbors feel compelled to ask police to step in.
Vicknair told The Advocate she and other homeowners have also taken their concerns to LSU, but to little avail.
"We're telling LSU it's happening, we're telling Greek Life it's happening, and still nothing has changed," Vicknair lamented. "We don't want a child to die in our neighborhood."
Vicknair's concerns are not unfounded.
Earlier this month (Nov. 2), a Phi Kappa Psi event that unfolded along Lake Villas' 'Frat Breeze' Drive led to an LSU freshman being hospitalized with severe alcohol poisoning. It also resulted in the subsequent arrest of the boy's 21-year-old fraternity brother on charges of criminal hazing and failure to seek assistance.
Despite this disturbing incident, in the week after the 21-year-old's arrest yet another wild party was held on the very same street, this event reportedly marked by overflowing trash bins and packs of drunken students wandering the neighborhood's streets.
Even after police were called and they attempted to break up the gathering, students lingered in the area, causing problems, neighbors say.
With COVID-related health measures pushing student groups off-campus and the university apparently being unable to control off-campus events, Lake Villas residents say they've hired an off-duty officer to help monitor the reoccurring problem. While this has helped, homeowners are quick to add that the long-term costs of hiring an officer are too expensive to continue.
Representatives with the Baton Rouge Police Department, likewise, admit that with crime and deadly shooting incidents on the rise in the capital area, they have to prioritize calls for help. This means, for example, that a shooting will take more precedence than a call concerning a party that's getting out of hand.
As this is the case, most of the time such issues are addressed by a neighborhood home owner's association, something the relatively new Lake Villas neighborhood has yet to fully establish.
While the concerning uncontrolled parties continue to play in Lake Villas' "frat breeze," college towns in other parts of the US are dealing with similar problems.
According to The Advocate, a fraternity associated with Virginia's Radford University was suspended after it allegedly hosted an off-campus party that resulted in dozens of coronavirus infections, television station WDBJ reported.
Similarly, the local health department shut down an Indiana University fraternity house in Bloomington through the summer of 2021 after it held a big Halloween party, the Indiana Daily Student reported.
Experts who continue to analyze such situations suggest universities across the nation partner with neighborhood watch groups and organize lists of repercussions for students who break the city/neighborhood's policies and COVID-related rules.
Penalties for such infractions may include suspension or even expulsion.
But residents of Lake Villas have yet to see these measures take place, and as they await a resolution all they can do is take solace in the upcoming winter break, which they hope will mean that with less students on campus, less students will be likely to throw wild parties on 'Frat Breeze' Drive.
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