I would like to take the opportunity to commend the work of members of the Department of Public Works of Baton Rouge. Most of what we see and hear is criticism of their work (or lack thereof), and I will admit I have added my share. However, this time was an example of the exact opposite, and I feel it should receive equal attention.
One Saturday last month, I was sitting in my living room doing some work when I heard a crack. I looked up to see out the front window an extremely large limb fall from a tree next door beside the street. It covered over half of our front yard and completely blocked our driveway with its multiple side branches. That was about 2:00 p.m.
Shortly after the event, I tried to call 311 for assistance, since the tree is clearly on the city right-of-way. Since this was Saturday, I got a message that the office was closed and gave an alternate number, but the sound was garbled and I couldn’t understand the instructions. I went online and found the number to call, and, when I called it, I was greeted by a very pleasant and helpful dispatcher. She listened to me carefully, asked a few questions, and said she would send someone out soon. Shortly after that, she called back — she couldn’t find my street on her maps! I described how to get here, and within an hour, a DPW truck arrived with two pleasant, knowledgeable men. They assessed the situation and decided they needed additional help. I didn’t know what to expect when they left, but an hour or less later, they returned with two additional men and a backhoe.
They went to work quickly. By 8 p.m., the limb and all its extensive branches had been cut up, removed from the yard, and the debris picked up and moved to a spot the neighborhood uses for yard waste pickup. They even raked the yard so very little small debris was left. To top it off, the following Tuesday, most of it was hauled away.
We were lucky; there was little serious damage. There was one bad downside, however. The quick service ruined my excuse for not mowing the lawn the next day!
Despite that, my wife and I do owe them our thanks for a job well done!
emeritus professor, LSU