NEW ORLEANS -- Bayou St. John cuts through the center of New Orleans, through the colorful and eclectic "faubourg" or neighborhood that bears its name. Neighbors enjoy paddling on the bayou in a kayak or canoe, and dozens of boats now line the waterway.
But kayak enthusiast Jay Cook said the number of unattended boats is getting out of hand.
"You can tell when they fill up with rain," Cook said. "We get so much rain, they fill up with rain. No one's taking care of them because they're sinking."
Neighbors complain that some of the boats have been sitting there for quite some time, filling up with water and algae. They say the boats have become a prime breeding ground for mosquitos.
The New Orleans City Council is now considering a new law by Councilwoman Susan Guidry that would prohibit anyone from mooring their boat along the bayou for more than 24 hours.
Philip Shall lives on Moss Street, just across from the bayou. He says said proposed ordinance is a little heavy handed.
"The waterway is for boats," Shall said. "Why have waterways if you can't have boats using it? It makes it alive."
Shall said the law should only target boats that appear to be abandoned.
"If it stays there for an extended period of time, then I think something should be done with that, but I don't think that's the case with most of them," Shall said.
Cook said there's no need for boats to litter the banks Bayou St. John.
"This is a tremendous, natural asset," Cook said. "Not many cities have a place where you can walk, where you can paddle, where you can utilize something like this, and I understand them wanting to have their boats, but they can take their boats home."
There is no date yet as to when the New Orleans City Council will take up the proposed ordinance. The city would have to first figure out which agency would enforce the law.
Guidry issued the following statement:
“Abandoned boats pose a threat to public health and safety and interfere with people’s ability to enjoy Bayou St. John. My ordinance allows the City to sticker abandoned boats and ultimately impound them if they aren’t removed from the water. The administration has told me that NOPD currently lacks the resources to handle enforcement, so I am working with them to identify what other departments or agencies can effectively enforce the ordinance. I plan to move forward with the ordinance as soon as the enforcement piece is solved.”