Baton Rouge has won the Cleanest City Award for the Louisiana Garden Club Federation’s District VI that stretches from Slidell to Port Allen.
Mayor-President Melvin “Kip” Holden accepted the award Thursday for top honors in the district’s largest population category during a reception at the Baton Rouge Gallery.
Baton Rouge’s district win sets up a showdown with Lafayette in the state competition later this spring. Baton Rouge claimed top state honors in the population category in the contest in 2009 and 2007, while Lafayette won in 2008 and 2006.
This is the 52nd year that the Louisiana Garden Club Federation has held the Cleanest City Awards, which encourage communities to become more proactive in the war against litter.
During the district competition, judges toured parts of Baton Rouge to assess the cleanliness of residential yards, businesses, streets and sidewalks, parks, schools, cemeteries, municipal and other buildings. The judges were entertained at the Baton Rouge Gallery by members of the Baton Rouge Garden Club, sponsors of the city’s participation.
Baton Rouge Garden Club officials credited the Mayor’s office, the Department of Public Works, BREC and LSU for their work in the district competition.
Also contributing to the win were hundreds of Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, school children and adult volunteers who participated in Keep Baton Rouge Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup last weekend. The volunteers picked up litter downtown and in Spanish Town, Beauregard Town, Scotlandville and the LSU Lakes area.
Local Garden Club officials said another factor in the district win was Mayor Holden’s successful Litter Court program that targets litter and blight in East Baton Rouge Parish.
Other aspects of the Mayor’s anti-litter campaign launched last summer include the purchase of two new street sweepers, and the assignment of DPW crews for litter abatement efforts around the parish.
DPW crews are also in the process of distributing 75 new Lincoln-green trash cans around the parish as part of the anti-litter campaign, and have already ordered another 75. The new trash cans replace receptacles that date back to the 1980s, and were beginning to become eyesores themselves.