Boats left in Bayou St. John to be confiscated

Boats left in Bayou St. John to be confiscated

The City of New Orleans will soon start cracking down on people who leave kayaks and canoes in Bayou St. John. It's part of a new ordinance aimed at cleaning the waterway.

Jim Dennard and his family live just a few blocks from Bayou St. John. Being so close to the water, they plan on taking full advantage of the bayou. "We'll be getting something, as soon as they can wear a life jacket and swim a little bit, we'll do it," Dennard said of his two young children.

Once the Dennard family purchases a kayak or canoe, they know they can't leave it in the water for long. That's because an ordinance passed by the city council this fall, says no boats can stay in the bayou for more than 24 hours.

Councilwoman Susan Guidry explains, "I've had a number of reports where people have watched children, unattended children get into the boats and go out into the bayou. People are worried that if a hurricane comes and people don't collect their boats, they're going to become missiles."

And Guidry argues the left behind boats are a breeding ground for mosquitoes and snakes.

The city just put up signs warning people of the impending enforcement. Explaining how it works, Guidry says, "If the boat is out here when the Mosquito Control people come out, they'll sticker the boat and they'll say you have two calendar days to pick it up."

If the boat isn't moved, the NOPD will confiscate it. Then, owners have six months to pay a fine of up to $150, in order to retrieve it.

Mid-City resident Steve Birney says, "It's probably a good idea because otherwise you have people just leaving stuff here in the bayou and just forgetting about it, whether it being canoes, or rafts or whatever it may be."

Some believe the ordinance will help improve the quality of life of nearby residents and people who use Bayou St. John but others wish the city would come up with another alternative, so people don't have to drag the boats to and from their homes every time they're used.

"Both me and my partner were discussing like maybe an in between, maybe some kayak racks or boat covers or some way to regulate it but not stop the boats being on the bayou," Sonny Averett said.

Guidry says the boats are beautiful on the water but her main concern, is keeping people safe.

The Mosquito Control Board will begin enforcing the ordinance on Monday December 8th.

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