ST. MARTINVILLE — Mary Lewis is tired of the violence and gunfire on quarter-mile long Pratt Drive, where she lives. And she is going to do something about it.
Lewis showed up at Monday evening’s St. Martinville City Council meeting to ask permission for a street meeting to address the gun violence that has become rampant in her neighborhood.
“It’s happening late at night,” Lewis said. “It’s not one place. It’s on both ends of the street. They can shoot and run through the pasture. I think it’s both by car and on foot.”
The reports of gunfire from the area are so numerous that police officers working the meeting were aware of the reports from Pratt Street.
“Do we know how many times in the last couple of months you have been called?” asked District 1 Councilman Mike Fuselier. “Do we have any idea who is discharging the firearms?”
“I will have to get back to you on the numbers,” Assistant Police Chief Joe Nedie said. “It’s under investigation.”
District 4 Councilman Juma Johnson said the street meeting was also an effort to organize neighbors.
“Part of the purpose for the meeting is getting them involved and possibly starting a neighborhood watch,” Johnson said.
Public Works Maintenance Supervisor Brian Touchet said he has seen and heard enough gun violence from that area of town that he was considering limiting call-outs after dark. He also asked for the council to unite in supporting Lewis’ effort.
“I am pleading with the council and mayor,” Touchet said. “I know you’ve had differences in the past, but you need to put them aside. This is something we can get behind. I can guarantee you that I will be shutting down the Public Works barn and we will be on Pratt Drive showing our support.”
Mayor Melinda Mitchell said she had spoken to Police Chief Ricky Martin about the possibility of putting a substation near Pratt Drive.
“We need to have the visibility of the police in that area,” she said.
“We are working with Sheriffs Office to work on this,” St. Martinville Police Investigator Nick LeBouef said. “We are talking about putting cameras in as well.”
The street meeting and rally against gun violence will be held from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Pratt Drive in St. Martinville.