Controversial proposal about 'no parking' signs in Port Allen neighborhood passed by council

PORT ALLEN, LA (WAFB) - A proposal to protect historic oak trees in a Port Allen neighborhood that sparked a racially charged debate was approved Wednesday night by the city council.

The council voted 4 to 1 with one abstention to post "No Parking" signs along Whitehead Boulevard in The Oaks subdivision. The idea was proposed by Douglas Smith Jr., a Baton Rouge attorney who lives in Port Allen.

Last month, the city council rejected Smith's original proposal, which asked to prohibit parking along the median of Whitehead Boulevard. The issue sparked a racially and socioeconomically charged debate because some residents felt the council was only voting on matters to protect affluent white neighborhoods.

Smith, who grew up admiring oak trees in his hometown of New Orleans, says he's happy his proposal passed, but had no intention of causing controversy.

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