Keep it up, T’bonne

The city had endured flooded streets from heavy rains a few days before and was still showing some of the effects of hurricanes Gustav and Ike.

Still, Houma won the regional Cleanest City Contest that took place on March 31. Now, the city will have to go up against the other state regional winners in the same population category sometime during the first two weeks of May to win a state Cleanest City Contest title.

No matter that Houma only had to beat one other city – New Iberia – to advance to the statewide competition, the victory represents a significant effort by the contest’s local sponsor the Terrebonne Garden Club, which is celebrating its 80th year.

The judges were driven around Houma with Terrebonne Parish President Michel Claudet, garden club president and contest district co-chair Mary Jane Peters, and Main Street manager Anne Picou.

They saw St. Charles Street, Tunnel Boulevard, La. Highway 311, Polk Street, Barrow Street, the Houma-Terrebonne Civic Center and the main library before attending a reception at the Terrebonne Folklife Culture Center on Goode Street.

After that, they saw Courthouse Square, St. Francis Co-Cathedral, the downtown marina, Terrebonne General Medical Center, Dunn Street, School Street, Main Street and the Good Earth Transit Bus Depot.

Residential sections around Wilson and Birch avenues were also toured.

The judges took into account the fact that Houma had endured Gustav and Ike and had experienced recent heavy rainfall. In fact, the Terrebonne Garden Club considered asking for a postponement, said Judy Navarre, the contest’s district co-chair.

Navarre said officers from the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office cleaned six bridges for the contest, as well as Barrow Street and La. Highway 311. The Terrebonne Parish School District fixed a leaning fence in front of Southdown Elementary School.

Navarre also singled out the Houma Downtown Development Corporation for maintaining Courthouse Square. The judges were particularly impressed by the square, she said.

Since competitions are ongoing, Houma will not know the other cities it will be competing against for a state title (though Hammond is in), but Navarre said judges will tour the city longer than they did on March 31.

For the state competition, Navarre asked residents to please keep their property clean of trash, especially of cigarette butts.

Peters said Houma has a strong chance of winning. That would be good for Houma and a nice 80th birthday present for the garden club.