In Louisiana, a district of Lafayette is warily considering a new highway

When the Tapo family lived along the Thruway, their home was hit twice by cars. “I’ve seen wreckage from motorcycles,” said Carl Tapo Jr...


When the Tapo family lived along the Thruway, their home was hit twice by cars. “I’ve seen wreckage from motorcycles,” said Carl Tapo Jr., who grew up in the neighborhood. “I saw a guy get hit by a bus. I saw a guy killed. Saw a guy run over a bike while watching an accident on the Thruway.

“It got to a point,” he added, “that you got so used to it.”

His father, Carl Tapo Sr., a retired railroad engineer, said he taught his children to “respect the freeway” and they mostly played in a spacious backyard instead of go out in the neighborhood. It reluctantly opened up to the prospect of an elevated highway.

“Now what you have to worry about is vagrancy,” said the eldest, Mr Tapo. “Well, we have it now anyway.”

For Ms. Bonnet, one of the worst effects of the connector would be the displacement of the community garden that she spent so much time and energy cultivating. She worked the land and harvested the vegetables.

This is part of a land deal to make way for a water plant displaced by the highway right-of-way. Her former home, where she lived with one of her daughters, was also taken over by the state. Now she lives in a repurposed shipping container, a prototype project by local Habitat for Humanity.

The garden, planted on property loaned to the McComb Veazey Neighborhood Coterie by the local school district, sits on sloping ground next to a sewage treatment plant. In a neighborhood that has suffered so much decline, those two acres were a bright spot where she could see things taking root and thriving.

“We did all this work to get it where we wanted it to be,” Ms. Bonnet said. “Now we have to start all over again.”

Christiaan Mader is editor and founder of The Current, a nonprofit news organization covering Lafayette and southern Louisiana, and an occasional contributor to The Times.

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Newsrust - US Top News: In Louisiana, a district of Lafayette is warily considering a new highway
In Louisiana, a district of Lafayette is warily considering a new highway
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