Disabled homeowner pleads with city to clear overgrown shrubs on sound wall

James Paul says he has been trying to get the city to clear up this brush for years now (Source: WAFB)
James Paul says he has been trying to get the city to clear up this brush for years now (Source: WAFB)
James Paul says he has been trying to get the city to clear up this brush for years now (Source: WAFB)
James Paul says he has been trying to get the city to clear up this brush for years now (Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A solution to keeping highway noise out of local neighbors is causing trouble for some Baton Rouge homeowners. They say it has created an eyesore and a haven for rodents.

Sound barriers along the interstate are nothing new. They were put there several years ago to keep the traffic noise out of nearby neighborhoods. Homeowners say for the most part, they have been happy with them, but some of them, like James Paul, who lives right next to one of the concrete walls, have seen an ugly side.

"It's like a jungle. It's wild," Paul said.

Paul is a paraplegic. When he's not in bed, he's bound to a wheelchair. There's not much he can do about the overgrown grass, weeds, and shrubs growing between the sound wall and his privacy fence. It has started to creep into his yard. He says he has been complaining to the city now for four years.

"I have called several times and they tell me they are putting me on a list and someone's going to come out, but I get no response," White said.

His friend and concerned citizen, Jory White, is concerned Paul won't be able to keep unwanted visitors away when he does go outdoors.

"There's rodents, snakes, and the termites have been swarming. It has continued to grow, gotten thicker, and it's to the point now where it's completely out of control," White said.

The sound wall that backs up to an empty lot next door is clear. It looks like it's freshly cut, but if you look at the homes nearby, you can see almost all of them are being invaded by overgrown shrubs. "We've come out and actually seen them come take care of the property, but it seems as though they never make it this far down the street," White said.

White says Paul has hired a professional to tame the situation, but that has gotten expensive and is no longer an option. They say it's the city's turn to tackle the problem.

"We want all this underbrush cut down and for it to be cleared out and for it to be nice and presentable like it is down the street," White said.

The city told us they were looking into the issue, but as of when this report aired, they had not gotten back to us. On Wednesday, June 20, the city returned our calls after going out to the lot in question. A spokeswoman with the city says the homeowner actually owns the piece of land and he is responsible for maintaining it.

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