On January 19, the Baton Rouge Area Chamber hosted a webinar featuring Mayor-President Sharon Weston-Broome and her leadership team to discuss the litter issues plaguing Baton Rouge. Recognizing that a region’s physical appearance directly impacts business growth and talent attraction, BRAC has long championed city beautification as a strategic economic development priority. Through its Quality of Place committee, BRAC collaborates with business, government, and non-profit partners to improve public spaces and enhance the visual appeal of the region. The committee has advocated for bolstering blight abatement and code-enforcement practices, boosting the efficiency of maintenance work within the City-Parish, and ensuring smart growth planning and development throughout the region.
It Takes the Whole Village
As Mayor Broome begins her second term, tackling the parish’s litter problem has become a major focus of her administration’s work. While the city is redoubling its cleaning efforts and code enforcement practices, the Mayor emphasized that business and community support is critical to this mission. By identifying the sources and causes of litter, measuring the effectiveness of abatement programs, and collaborating with community partners to encourage pride of place, the Mayor believes East Baton Rouge can be a model for the state and our region in beautifying our shared home.
Stopping Litter at the Source
According to Chief Administrative Officer Darryl Gissel, the sources of litter are varied, and each source requires a unique method for cleaning up and putting a stop to the littering practice. Litter can be found in roadways, waterways, public and private properties and can be generated by traditional littering; vehicles transporting unsecured trash; illegal dumping, illegal signage; panhandlers and people experiencing homelessness; insufficient clean up at construction sites, utility work sites, and vehicle crashes. Assistant Chief Administrative Officers Kelvin Hill and Dr. Pamela Ravare-Jones detailed specific measures being implemented to curb each source of litter.
Attack It from All Angles
More thorough and consistent application of existing ordinances will be carried out by law enforcement, street sweepers will be strategically deployed to litter “hot spots” as determined by 3-1-1 data, sites of illegal dumping will be monitored by the BRPD real time crime center, and a robocall system will be reactivated to deter placement of illegal signage in right-of-ways. City officials are rolling out new programs to address litter and blight from a community minded perspective: Operation Clean-Up will organize neighborhood beautification days, a Neighborhood Engagement Hub will be stood up within the Mid-City Redevelopment Alliance and within Build Baton Rouge to provide tools and training for beautification efforts, and a task force has been created to work with the homeless and panhandling population to prevent litter.
Lack of manpower and resources has been an impediment to previous anti-litter campaigns, but the city is working with the Department of Transportation and Development, the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections, and the Office of the Governor to secure additional, sustained support in the form of litter pickup crews from correctional facilities, informational highway signage, and communications support to spread awareness. Chief Communications Officer Mark Armstrong echoed the importance of widespread awareness—the City will only get clean and stay clean with the participation of businesses, community leaders, Metro Council members, and neighborhoods. BRAC shares Mayor Broome’s belief that “a clean city is an economic imperative,” and looks forward to contributing to these efforts. If your business would like to get involved, contact Elizabeth Walker, staff lead for the Quality of Place committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This webinar was presented by IBERIABANK, A Division of First Horizon Bank, and sponsored by Food 4 Thought. A recording of the webinar will be made available to BRAC investors on the BRAC Investor Portal.
As the Policy and Research Project Manager, Elizabeth Walker provides leadership on initiatives and policies, project management, research analysis and administration for initiatives that advance BRAC’s annual policy agenda.