WHAT’S YOUR PROBLEM?

Allison B. Hudson
Bellina's 24 hour laundromat

THE ISSUE

The main issue at hand is that we have a business that is open 24 hours in our

Neighborhood. The fact that the Laundromat is open 24 hours a day unattended allows opportunity for vandals, drug dealers, vagrants and other suspicious characters to have a place to hang out when the rest of the town’s businesses are closed. This facility also brings with it certain individuals who do not seem to care that this Laundromat is surrounded by residential homes and while the individuals are washing clothes the tendency to play excessively loud music, trash our neighborhood with litter and use our properties as port-a-lets is supposed to be tolerated by the home owners. The right to quality of life is for all, not just the business owner who stands to make a small profit from this business.

The problem is occurring at the corner of St. Patrick Street and Iberville Street, which resides in the Donaldsonville Historic District.

PROBLEM CONTINUED

Our problem continues throughout the week. The main issue is that on any given night, not every single night there is excessively loud music and loitering at the Laundromat. The majority of people who use the Laundromat for legitimate purposes finish around 9 p.m., however there are a certain few who frequently hang out and disrupt the community at all hours of the night. They leave their vehicles running with the music booming to such a degree that all of our windows rattle in the entire house. By the time the deputies arrive they are gone. Seems like everyone knows that by the time we call the deputies out and they arrive depending on the more pressing issues that the officers have to deal with, they can disrupt the entire sleeping neighborhood and then get away before any authorities arrive.

WHO’S RESPONSIBLE

The owner of the store is Michel Bellina; he is a very good person who understands that our complaints are not personal. Michel does not want to close his business due to inconvenience of his life however it is affecting ours greatly. This business disrupts my family and others in the neighborhood all hours of the night.

THE STATUS

The complaints have been continuous for well over a year now. Just in January of this year alone I had to make at least 18 phone calls to the Sheriff’s department for disturbing the peace issues and the noise level ordinance. I have been throughout the neighborhood talking with people in the community, passing out fliers to alert them that this neighborhood may not be safe for their children or grandchildren, especially at night. I have made complaints to the city council several times, our local councilman several times, and I have communicated this problem to Michel Bellina personally many times. I have also been in constant communications with the local sheriffs department to come up with solutions to our problems that would be satisfactory to all but to no avail.

OBVIOUS ANSWER

The obvious answer is to close at a reasonable hour and re-open in the morning. There are other options as well. If the business insists on staying open then have an attendant from certain hours to make sure the loud noise is not allowed, public urination is not allowed, and keep the debris from getting out of hand also at all hours of the night.

Our family has been fighting this for quite sometime now. The first year was subtle comments to the owner and this past year we have brought it out to the public and voiced our concerns to others.

FOR THE RECORD

One thing that I would like to make clear, The Ascension Parish Sheriff’s department has gone above and beyond in addressing this concern of our neighborhood. Sheriff Jeff Wiley has offered several viable options but the owner has dismissed them all. Also I have offered to have signs put up to post no loud music according to the ordinance or loitering in the area, however the owner did not want to put these signs up.  The sheriff’s department is in constant communication with us as I am starting a neighborhood watch in our area. We are tired of having drug dealers in our neighborhood with a place that allows them to conduct business unattended 24 hours a day. This past Christmas eve at midnight I had to ask a person to leave the premises as they were in the middle of conducting a drug deal. The fact that our neighbors are mostly senior citizens and are afraid to leave their homes after a certain hour should be concern enough. I am not just fighting for my families’ peace of mind but for the elderly in our community who have dedicated their entire lives to this community. In their retirement years this is in no way for them to live.  I would also like to say that there have been several assaults on the elderly on that corner in the past few years and the owner of this business has been mugged on one occasion and had his store broken into on another occasion this past year alone. Does someone have to die before this problem is addressed?

How to submit a problem

If you have a problem, we would like to help. Send a detailed account of the issue, your name and contact information to:

MAIL 120 Railroad Ave., Donaldsonville, LA 70346

E-MAIL editor@dvillechief.brcoxmail.com

PHONE 225-473-3101

FAX 225-473-4060