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Town of Ferriday proudly accepts Cleanest City award

FERRIDAY — It may be just a plaque, but it’s more than that to Ferriday — it’s a symbol of how far a town can come.

“Years ago when I was first mayor and Mrs. Marjorie Vogt came to me and I first heard about the cleanest city contest, I thought, ‘We have a long way to go,’” Ferriday Mayor Glen McGlothin said.

“This time, when Lena Bateman came to me and said (the garden club) wanted to enter us in the cleanest city contest, I said, ‘Holy Jesus, have you looked around the town lately?’”

McGlothin’s comments were made Thursday morning at the presentation of the State Cleanest City plaque from the Louisiana Garden Club Federation.

The town won the cleanest city contest for towns of similar size in late April after two years of cleanup efforts that involved the members of the Ferriday Garden Club, town crews, local civic organizations and plenty of good-willed volunteers who just wanted to see their town clean again.

Abandoned lots that were once filled with garbage were cleaned and cut, ditches and bayous were emptied of litter, sidewalks were edged and thousands of other little sprucing-up actions were taken around the town at homes and businesses.

Recalling the first time she visited the town some years ago, State Cleanest City Chair Jean Gilstrap echoed McGlothin’s sentiments.

“You all had a long row to hoe, and you have shortened it,” she said. “You shortened it so much that you won it. Everything was absolutely ipsy-bipsy perfect.”

Ferriday handily defeated its competition.

In past contests, the judges have had to make return visits to towns to count individual pieces of litter in an attempt to shave off tenths of points from town scores to bring one into the lead, Gilstrap said.

“The other cities didn’t even come close,” she said. “You all won by points, not by hundredths of points like usual.”

And so — because of where the town had been and where it is now — Gilstrap said the state federation was “very, very, very proud” to present Ferriday with the first-place plaque.

McGlothin said keeping the town clean for the future will be about more than picking up litter, it will be an effort “to clean hearts and minds.”

“If you trash where you live, other people will think why shouldn’t they?” he said.

“This can’t be a one-lady effort, it can’t be a five-person effort and it can’t be a garden club effort — it’s going to take everybody.”

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