BAKER, LA (WAFB) - How does a bad neighborhood actually become a bad neighborhood? Does it start with an ignored yard covered in tall grass? Maybe it's triggered by a few blighted houses or possibly an increase in crime?
However it starts, folks living in the Brown Heights subdivision just outside Baker city limits are making sure it stops there.
"We're tired of it, because we want the kids to enjoy the neighborhood," said concerned resident Robert Avriett.
Residents say theirs is a quiet neighborhood. However, in recent years, many have reported more and more city and parish ordinances are going ignored. There are problems with stray dogs and pests, abandoned properties and an increasing concern about safety.
"If you ride by here, it looks like junk. We look like we're an island on itself, like a junk island," said Avriett.
Avriett rallied his neighbors to address these problems before they get out of hand. He organized a meeting with representatives from the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office, EMS and parish leaders to make sure their voices are heard.
"It's wonderful to see this crowd of people out here that cares for their neighborhood," said Lisa Rioux, Legislative Assistant to Metro Councilman Trae Welch.
Rioux says it's important for every neighborhood to speak up if there are problems, starting with contacting their city or Metro Council member.
"East Baton Rouge is an older city, so it's time for things. The roads are old, the sewer. Things need to get cleaned up and picked up, and so anytime they get together, we can help them," said Rioux.
Avriett says additional communities meeting where residents can share concerns will be held in the near future.