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Sunday, May 26, 2019

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Restroom sought for boat launch

Restroom sought for boat launch

Leeville’s boat launch seems to have it all. In addition to two 30-foot boat launches, it has a fishing pier, an ample parking lot and a kayaking area.

One thing it does not have, however, is a public restroom. Janet Rhodus, Lafourche resident and founder of community action group Launch Leeville, wants to change that.

Founded in 2012, Launch Leeville is a nonprofit that “promotes and facilitates community collaborations and partnerships that preserve, broaden, restore and sustain the cultural heritage of the community of Leeville.”

Lately the organization has been providing a handicapped-accessible portable toilet at the boat launch because the Lafourche Parish Council rejected a proposal to pay for one, Rhodus said.

“This project was actually touted as a handicapped-accessible fishing pier, but there were no restroom facilities included in the plan,” she said. “Launch Leeville has over 5,000 Facebook followers. I’m constantly getting complaints from people coming from all over the state and other states to visit the fishing pier and there’s no restroom facility.”

Rhodus said she recently went before the Lafourche Council to ask for the $135 per month it costs to rent a portable toilet but was rejected.

“They said the parish didn’t have Portalets so they weren’t going to fund one in Leeville,” Rhodus said. “Well, Leeville’s the only community that has a fishing pier. All the others don’t because they’re just boat launches.”

As a nonprofit, Launch Leeville relies heavily on donations to rent the portable toilet, Rhodus said.

“This has been going on for over a year,” she said. “Various individuals have been paying for this. We just think it’s terrible that we’re having to fund it when the Lafourche Parish government won’t.”

South Lafourche Councilman Daniel Lorraine, in whose district the launch serves, said he had asked the council about installing restroom facilities in all of the boat launches but his request was denied.

“About a year ago I brought this up to the council about putting a Portalet there because it’s such a fine facility,” Lorraine said. “The parish only has six or seven boat launches. So to be fair to the council I asked to put a Portalet in every boat launch we own. So what happened was the council shot it down. I tried, but I didn’t think it would be right to put it in just one instead of the rest of them. But we’ll talk to the guy who owns the Portalet and maybe we can work something out somewhere down the line.”

Located near Bayou Lafourche, the Leeville fishing pier has been a popular spot for catching a variety of fish, including speckled trout, white trout and redfish.

Opening last year, the $450,000 project added a handicap-accessible fishing pier and pavilion at the site of a $1.5 million boat launch that opened in December 2014.

The project was paid for with money from a federal grant, Lafourche Parish government and the Greater Lafourche Port Commission.

-- Daily Comet Staff Writer Dan Copp can be reached at 857-2202 or at Follow him on Twitter@DanVCopp.