Rundown BR neighborhood gets facelift

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POSTED: Monday, March 28, 2011 - 3:25pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - 5:33pm

One local neighborhood got a much needed facelift Monday. It's part of a city-wide push for cleaner streets and more volunteer involvement.

Cecile Joshua has lived in Old South Baton Rouge for 23 years. "There's a lot of houses that need repairing, abandoned houses that something needs to be done about, and the lots are real bad," she says.

During her time in that area, she has watched the city parish breathe new life into poor communities all over Baton Rouge. Her neighborhood has not been among them. "Everywhere around us, they are vitalizing the community and they have it looking real good," she says. "Here, we right in the neighborhood of LSU, but look at this neighborhood. It's really, really, really bad."

Monday, all that changed. "This is a project that's been needed for a long time and it's finally here," Joshua says.

Volunteers were out in numbers to give the small, impoverished neighborhood a much-needed makeover. "It really just connects you. You can really feel like you're in a bubble at LSU, and its good to get out and help residents. It makes you feel pretty good," says Anna Normand with Volunteer LSU.

Monday's fixer-upper is part of an ongoing project called Operation Restore Pride. Volunteers spend a few days sprucing up  neighborhoods in need. That means they do everything from painting houses and fixing up yards to towing abandoned vehicles and cleaning up empty lots. East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden says its a reminder that people care.

"We are here and what this mainly says to us, to everybody, is that people are still willing to help out in these neighborhoods."

For these residents, a better tomorrow starts with a fresh coat of paint. "It boosts a lot of people's spirits," says Joshua. "It's just an awesome thing."

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