Let’s clean up T’bonne

Opinions about appearances can vary a lot and comparisons can be slippery things.

Nevertheless, if you use last week’s meeting in Houma about beautifying Terrebonne Parish as a gauge, you could be forgiven for believing that Thibodaux has the upper hand on its neighbor Houma when it comes to appearances.

Granted, audience members complained specifically about the attractiveness of Thibodaux’s welcome signs compared to similar signage areas in Terrebonne, but the comparison can be extended entirely to the quaint-looking town on lovely Bayou Lafourche.

Terrebonne Parish President Michel Claudet should be commended for trying to fulfill his promise to work on beautification and quality-of-life issues he made while campaigning for president.

Claudet chose two exceptionally well-spoken high school students to head the parish’s beautification effort, one of whom was tasked to look into building Terrebonne’s recycling program.

Curbside recycling was deemed overly expensive for the parish’s coffers and, anyway, demand for curbside recycling by Terrebonne residents has not been vocal. A promise was made to increase plastic and paper collection bins in the parish.

However, Claudet could be criticized for not heading up his beautification effort with more experienced hands, despite the students’ obvious maturity.

Probably the most strident complaints at the meeting last week came not from audience members, but during a presentation by Sheriff Vernon Bourgeois, who said he was embarrassed to show visitors parts of the parish.

Bourgeois can take encouragement that some aspects are doing better. The Louisiana Highway 311 corridor in Bayou Cane came under parish zoning laws last year-requiring landscaping for businesses-but there is still a sentence in the parish’s master development plan from earlier this decade declaring that Terrebonne residents are resistant to the benefits of zoning.

Also encouraging, Claudet said Bayou Terrebonne will be dredged north of Southland Mall and possibly more fresh water will be introduced into the bayou.

That would be a good thing, since the stagnant waters of Bayou Terrebonne make the bayou look in places more like a receptacle ditch for the businesses lining it than an actual stream.