Acadia Parish, or "Litter Parish," along Louisiana Hwy. 35 between Church Point and Rayne must be one of our most littered highways. It may not be as noticeable to a driver traveling 70 miles per hour in his car with a cell phone, or at a time when the grass and weeds are green and tall. But walk or ride a bicycle at this time of year, and you will see the horrible litter. It is often said that St. Francis walked the earth barefoot to enjoy his connection with the earth. Many of us growing up in the '40s and '50s enjoyed walking barefoot. This could not happen today, especially on La. 35. If St. Francis were to attempt to walk from Church Point to Branch, he would not have any feet left long before he arrived in Branch.
How long will we tolerate the litter, pollution, erosion, high cancer rate, and the need to buy drinking water? The answer is probably as long as we litter and trash the land.
If this land is God's garden and his gift to man, why do we trash it? Man's life on earth may be 70 or 80 years. In that short time, we need to do all we can to leave it better for the future generations. Surely we can have Mardi Gras without trashing the land. Our Acadiana soil is very sensitive to abuse. The more we trash upstream, the more we stress the coastline. The more we stress the coast, the more we create erosion. We can't expect the government to fix it. They can't even enforce the anti-litter laws. The erosion is often blamed on the oil patch. There's enough blame to go around, but it starts with us. If we don't respect the land, then don't expect others to either. Don't expect tax dollars to fix it. We all see what's happened, especially since Hurricane Katrina, with the waste and corruption.
We cannot leave anything more valuable to our children than clean air, clean water and a beautiful Acadiana.