Dial Dalfred: With park lights locked, youth football team forced to practice with car headlights

Dial Dalfred

ST. MARY PARISH, La. (KLFY) This week’s story takes us to St. Mary Parish.

Along the Bayou Teche lies the small town of Baldwin, home to a pretty successful youth football team, but over the past decade they’ve faced an opponent they can’t seem to beat.

If this video of the field looks dark to you, that’s because it is. It’s a rival Coach Kayron Caesar of the Bayou Teche Jaguars hasn’t been able to defeat.

“When we get out here as parents, coaches, and just citizens of the community we can’t access the lights”, Coach Ceasar said.

For years, parents have lined up their cars along the fence to light the field just so the kids in the community can practice safely.

“Its become extremely trying when we’re trying to provide something constructive for the kids of the community to keep them off the streets but we are met with this type of resistance.”

Now in standard time when the sun sets just after 5pm, it’s almost impossible to practice without artificial light.

And, not having access to field lights is hindering Coach Caesar and the staff’s plan to provide a safe space for the kids.

“It’s about saving our kids. I’m responsible for my kids, I’m responsible for these kids; we as a community are, especially elected officials” Ceasar said.

According to Baldwin Mayor Abel “Phil” Prejean, locks were placed on light switch boxes to keep people without proper authority from controlling the lights.

“People were using the park and just putting the lights on and the next morning they were still on.

“The Town of Baldwin is financially strapped and that was a consideration in that”, the mayor said.

Concerned Baldwin resident Tony Gibson told us, “That’s not right. In a public park, why don’t they have timers on the lights? I’m born and raised in this town and I ain’t never saw this a day in my life.”

After speaking with Mayor Prejean, he says all anyone has to do to get the lights turned on is come down to City Hall and let them know during what time.

Coach Caesar says the team has been on a break, but he’ll be sure to let us know if the field is lit for their next practice.

If there’s an ongoing issue in your neighborhood or community or there’s a story you’d like me to investigate, send me an email at DialDalfred@klfy.com.

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