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Robert Jarred and David Begneaud, board members of Scenic Lafayette, joined Discover Lafayette to discuss their mission to keep Lafayette beautiful and free of clutter and trash. They are both active and engaged volunteers.
Scenic Lafayette is a citizen-based advocacy group committed to preserving and enhancing the natural and built environment of our community. through: Policy, Partnerships, Public education, and Projects.
Founded in 2014, Scenic Lafayette promotes beauty as a valuable asset for those who live, visit, and conduct business in Lafayette. Its vision is to embrace calm, cleanliness, and the natural landscape of public and private spaces.
Scenic Lafayette is one of 49 state and local affiliates of Scenic America, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and enhancing the visual character of our country’s roadways, countryside, and communities, and inspired by the Lady Bird Johnson and the Highway Beautification Act.
One big recurring problem we discussed was the proliferation of illegal signs that are posted in public spaces. Our guests jokingly recounted that “I buy golf carts” is the newest offender in our community as you see the signs posted throughout the area. The signs are typically posted in the middle of the night so David and Robert spoke of regularly getting up at 3 a.m. to start taking down the illegal signs. You can help by calling 311 to report litter and illegal signage.
Let’s clean up our neighborhoods! If you see a broken utility/phone post be sure to report it by calling 311 or 337.291.8800. AT&T will soon be digging up, fixing or replacing broken telephone cable boxes throughout Lafayette Parish. Lafayette City Councilwoman Liz Webb Hebert took it upon herself to address this issue….it has blown up across the state as other communities say they have the same problem. David Begneaud says, “The issue is being fixed and is coming around! This is important, as our visitors enter Lafayette they see this blight. Visitors who are considering moving here pay attention to these things.”
The issue of blighted green utility provider boxes found in public spaces throughout the community was also discussed and our guests reported the communication provider was responsive to requests for help in addressing the problem.
A few of the initiatives of Scenic Lafayette: The Azalea Trail Revitalization Project; Signage Policy Improvement and Enforcement; Landscape and Tree Policy Improvement and Enforcement; Art and Architecture Guide; Streetscape Improvement; Utility Infrastructure Visual Enhancement; Billboard Control; and Litter Abatement.
Lafayette experiences a high level of trash being strewn on its streets and our interstate interchanges. Trash flies out of the back of citizens’ pickup trucks as well as municipally-contracted trash pickup trucks. David Begneaud said he has heard Matt Stuller quote statistics several times, saying,”South Louisiana has the highest per capita of open-bed pickup trucks in the nation.” David said further, “When you go down the interstate, whenever you are the contracted person to cut the grass, you have to pick up the litter first, and you see litter bags full of trash every 25 to 50 yards filled with trash for miles as they prepare to cut the grass on interstate medians.”
Municipalities can actively control the amount of blight that is tolerated. As David Begneaud said in a shout-out to Youngsville LA after discussing his awareness of how U. S communities control blight: “Go to Youngsville, LA. Youngsville has zero tolerance for non-compliant signs. Zero. Drive through the City of Youngsville and you’re not going to see vinyl banners strapped between the utility pole and a temporary pole hammered into the ditch. Word gets around.”
This interview with Robert and David is an excellent opportunity to hear the passion of local volunteers who dedicate their free time to help all of us better enjoy our community. We thank both for their tireless efforts on behalf of Scenic Lafayette!