Residents say hurricanes left unsightly debris in Calcasieu River

Residents say hurricanes left unsightly debris in Calcasieu Parish

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - You can’t drive far in Lake Charles without seeing damage from the hurricanes, and it’s much the same on the waterways in Southwest Louisiana.

Those who live on the Calcasieu River say there’s a mess from old houseboats and camps destroyed in the storms, and some worry if it will ever get cleaned up.

Ben Garber lives along the Calcasieu River. He was upset before the hurricanes about all the old unregistered boats and structures along the river, often an eyesore, with no known owner to accept responsibility. Now after the hurricanes, he says it’s even worse.

“It was especially devastating to those types of structures. They were all destroyed, and so now, exactly what we had feared is here,’ Garber said. “These structures are falling apart or completely destroyed and pieces of them are scattered throughout the river and again there’s no accountability,.”

So far, he doesn’t see a major problem with debris interfering with boat traffic, yet.

“Most of it is along the bank line, so I don’t think it’s a real hazard to navigation, except in certain areas. There is one area where some of the debris is collected and is blocking some waterways.”

Garber says the question is who will clean it up.

“It’s some of the prettiest parts of the river. These natural big cypress trees and these areas that are pristine are unfortunately cluttered with pieces of camps and houseboats.”

Garber hopes between state and federal agencies and concerned citizens they will find a way to clean up the river.

Meanwhile, he hopes state agencies will push to require those with houseboats on the river to register their property with wildlife and fisheries.

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