Vandals strike Ponchatoula butterfly garden

PONCHATOULA, LA (WAFB) - It was created to get rid of a neighborhood eyesore, but now Ponchatoula's butterfly garden has its own troubles - vandals. The garden's caretakers are fed up, and there's a hard push to find those responsible.

Two ladders and a lifeguard stand are all that's left of the abandoned pool that once stood behind the Kiwanis Club log cabin. Back in 2000, the Gardenettes of Ponchatoula turned the eyesore into a butterfly garden.

"The mayor and the chamber have put up signs for various things around the city of Ponchatoula, and there's a sign that directs people to the butterfly garden. So, it is a place of interest and people can come and sit here and enjoy the benches," said Gardenette Kathy Bedenbaugh.

While these ladies love pruning the plants and keeping the garden beautiful for visitors, Bedenbaugh says they don't want spend their time repairing broken pots and cleaning up other messes vandals have been leaving over the past few months.

"We've had plants stolen. Cigarettes get thrown all over. The rocks and the stepping stones get thrown into the fountain and it's continuous," said Bedenbaugh.

Bedenbaugh says it's gotten so bad, her group has reached out to city police for help.

"We find it just real disheartening that this continues to happen, and that no one is calling to provide us with information," said Bry Layrisson, Ponchatoula police chief.

Layrisson says he's sure someone knows something. He says police believe the vandals are young and likely brag about it to their friends. Police also think it's happening during the day.

"We're trying to get the word out to all of our citizens to help us find these vandals," said Layrisson. "We're now offering a cash reward to anyone with information on who's done this."

If you have any information on who might be vandalizing that butterfly garden, call the Ponchatoula Police at (985) 386-6548.

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