Ferriday: No litter bugs allowed

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 11, 2010

NATCHEZ — The Ferriday Garden Club may have to order new buttons.

The group first started wearing “Let’s Clean up Ferriday” buttons in 2009 for their first entry into the Louisiana Garden Club Federation Cleanest City Contest, but after learning they were the 2010 state winner in Ferriday’s population category “Keep Ferriday Clean” buttons are more appropriate.

Ferriday beat out Amite City and Arcadia at the state level after beating Farmerville and Jonesboro in the district competition.

Ferriday Garden Club beautification chairman Lena Bateman said she learned of the win late Friday afternoon.

“We are all very, very excited,” Bateman said. “I was on the road for vacation, and I think I spent most of the trip calling people and letting them know.

“Everyone who was involved is so excited.”

Competing cities are judged on a point scale but the actual point tally is not revealed, Bateman said. But Cleanest City Contest judging chairman Jean Gilstrap did say the judges were impressed with the community involvement and improvements since the project first began.

“They just said we made such great improvements since we first started,” Bateman said.

FGC president Sherrill Sasser said the judges were impressed with the lack of litter during the driving tour on the judging day.

“When we did the ride through with the judges, we only saw two pieces of litter and an orange peel,” Sasser said.

The trick now is continuing to build on pride and involvement that was started during the competition.

Bateman said that is where broad community involvement will come in handy. During this year’s clean-up efforts, a large and diverse group of volunteers from several community and civic groups helped out, Bateman said.

“It has rubbed off,” Bateman said. “All the pride has rubbed off. People are seeing now the difference that can be made.

“We have to thank all the community for pitching in.”

Sasser said the club has not decided if it will attempt to defend the title next year but said it will continue to promote anti-littering efforts.

“Last week our police department gave two littering tickets,” Sasser said. “I feel like the community is enthusiastic about this, and I think we will try to do a little something this summer with some of the work crews to keep it looking good.”