HARAHAN, La. — Harahan is known as the "City of Friendship" and police chief Tim Walker says it is the closest to country living on the Southshore of Lake Pontchartrain.
"We're unique. To me, it's an oasis," Walker said. "People have been spoiled for a number of years. That's one of the reasons I live here."
Harahan has its own police force, which Walker has been in charge of since May 2014. He says its a no-nonsense department.
"Everybody's welcome in Harahan. Just don't break the law," Walker said.
Most people don't. In fact, year after year Harahan is at or near the top of the rankings for the safest cities to live in Louisiana.
"We've jumped around. I think in 2014 or 2015 - we were the safest, then we went to I think second or third," Walker said. "It's the way the crime is reported to the federal government."
The FBI has a uniform crime reporting program that required all law enforcement agencies to report their crime statistics on a monthly basis. Different organizations use those stats to rank the cities.
Walker said Harahan's success comes from a combination of his officers and the public working together. You can tell by all of the thank you notes displayed at the department that the officers' efforts are appreciated.
"We have a very pro-police community," Walker said. "Last year we passed a 5 mil tax to improve their pay. One of our problems has been the retention of police officers. They'll come here and get their certification and another department, or a larger department will take them. I think with this millage that was just passed, we're not going to have that problem in the future."
Harahan is largely residential, with about 9,300 residents. With 21 commissioned police officers and 26 others serving in the reserve unit, Walker says his department has a luxury that other agencies don't.
"We have the time to investigate everything," Walker said. "I've seen our follow-up officers do investigations on bicycle thefts and make arrests and recovery."
And this safe place to live will soon be attracting even more residents with a new development in its first phases. After sitting unused for more than a decade, the old Colonial Golf & Country Club is being redeveloped. The 88-acres will be divided up for commercial and residential use which will include 76 new homes.
Right now, The Blake, an upscale assisted living center is under construction.
The new development is not only limited to Harahan in the 70123 ZIP code. Elmwood Shopping Center is being transformed into a mixed-use community. There's already been an influx of new shops and restaurants. The next phase will feature a residential component to be built where the old K-Mart used to be. The first floor will be retail and the top four floors will be residential.
Lauicella Land Company, the owner of the Elmwood Shopping Center, plans to build 500 apartments and additional retailers and restaurants. The development will incorporate stormwater management, increased walkability and green space.
The developer anticipates a 10-year phased construction schedule.
WWL-TV reporter Leslie Spoon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; Follow her on Twitter at @