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Katrina Litter - Enough is Enough
A Personal Story

by: Keith Burton - GCN 5/28/07

Ever since Katrina hit the Coast on August 29, 2005, the Coast has been plagued with debris and litter. And while the local governments have done well to remove the big debris since the storm, it is the little bits and pieces of shattered homes that have remained.

It is one thing for residents to deal with the storm debris, but there is a more insidious form of litter that has also plagued the Coast, and this is litter deposited from people driving on the area roads. The road near our home on Iberville Drive is among the many that has seen a growing level of litter, especially near the intersection of U.S. 90 on the beach and Iberville Drive.

The litter finally became too much for my wife Enola. Yes, her full name is Enola Gay, she was named by her parents in the mid 50,s because her mother liked the name after seeing a movie about WWII and the bomber that dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

If you can image a girl growing up with that name, you can perhaps also imagine the strength of her will. She decided this Memorial Day to spend part of the morning cleaning up the litter, and being a good husband, I went along. I had also grown tired of driving by the litter at the foot of our street.

In just a few hours, we had collected enough litter to completely fill one of those large trash bins the city issues. While the sun was hot, the sea-breeze from the beach kept things comfortable while we worked.

Enola and I are longtime residents to the Coast. Both of us are the children of Air Force soldiers and through the many years we have lived here, we have grown to love the Coast's unique lifestyle and heritage and the wonderful people that make this area home. But we have seen a lot of changes and not all of them good since the hurricane. It seems too many people feel that just because the area was trashed by the hurricane, they can just throw what is in their hands out the car window.

We picked up a huge number of beer bottles and cans, paper bags from fast food stores, empty cigarette packs and plastic bags from stores. There was also a sizeable number of plastic ice bags. Some of the debris is likely from vagrants that stayed at the former Comfort Inn Suites and Motel, which recently was torn down and from a bus stop that sits among a broken sidewalk. But most of the stuff was just things people threw out their cars.

While the Coast was trashed by the hurricane, there is little reason that people should add to the debris on streets and along sidewalks. The unkempt look of the Coast is also added by yards that are no longer being cut. The spring growing season is well underway and grass and weeds tower on lots and near sidewalks. That is likely to continue until property is restored, but cutting the grass that is overgrowing sidewalks surely is a city responsibility..

While we eventually went on to more traditional Memorial Day activities, Enola was well pleased with her work. But nobody stopped to asked what we were doing, which was too bad. Enola would have had a lot to say. (Editor's Note: Enola passed away July 26, 2007 after a short illness. She is greatly missed)



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