Non-profit organizations, both social and arts, are major sacred cows in Lafayette, and this is certainly true when discussing the support for Acadiana Outreach. The Outreach center takes in homeless, most down on hard times, and people suffering from drug addiction, with the mission of helping these individuals get back on their feet.
Problem is, this organization also attracts criminal elements, both from within the community, and out of towners and out of staters. Many “clients” of Acadiana Outreach have ended up in the arrest records recently, residents are having problems with vagrants using their yards as restrooms, and druggies leaving needles on their property.
But when these concerns are pointed out to representatives of the Outreach center, the answer given is that the organization is not responsible for outside actions of some of their clients.
Crime has recently gone up in downtown Lafayette, specifically violent crime involving muggings and car jackings. Downtown is a hot spot at night, as numerous restaurants, bar and nightclubs populate the area. This trend prompted downtown business owner Rob Robinson, owner of Jefferson Street Market, to send off an e-mail to Mayor-Parish President Joey Durel. Robinson solely blames the bars and their owners for this increase in crime, and Mayor Durel seemed to agree in his response.
Acadiana Outreach center is located just a few blocks from the bars and clubs. With the criminal element known to be attracted by the non-profit, why did Robinson not voice concern over the vagrants and druggies who also hang around the Downtown Lafayette area? Mr. Robinson is Vice-Chairman of Acadiana Outreach and one of the representatives who is quick to completely dismiss anyone voicing concern over crimes and desecrations of private property being caused by some of the center’s clients.
You see, the Outreach Center locks their doors at night, and therefore, representatives and board members claim they have no obligation to account for clients after closing time.
But these problems can be swept under the rug for only so long, as yesterday revealed. In what must be a relief to residents of Baton Rouge, the area’s serial killer was arrested. Hopefully he will soon experience real justice for his horrendous crimes.
However, what has now been brought to light, the address for Lee identified by police during the arrest is 125 Buchanan St. in Lafayette, which is the address of Acadiana Outreach!
Louisiana residents should rejoice that this killer has finally been caught. Lafayette residents should now start demanding that local politicians, many of whom have very close ties to Acadiana Outreach’s board members, start holding the organization accountable and demand that real screening and security measures are instituted.
After all, this Non-Government Organization has been receiving local, state and federal public tax dollars for years. Now they need to help ensure public safety.