By Ida B. Torn
Like many others, I saw the picture of the school bus bogged down in the muck that is Hymes Road. Seeing the pictures reminded me of the numerous times my school bus got stuck on a rural road in deplorable condition. Many of the roads that our bus traveled had no ditches, were deeply rutted and had little to no gravel on them. There were many days when we were told that we were going to have to meet the bus 5 miles from our house because it could not make it down the road on which we lived. That was over 30 years ago when there were no cell phones. We had to wait until someone came down the road to discover our predicament and then we had to hope that there was someone living on the road that owned a tractor to pull us out. I can still vividly recall the “walk of shame” we experienced when we finally made it to school.
Would it surprise you if I told you that I’m not talking about roads in Natchitoches Parish? I grew up in a rural Parish in South Louisiana. At the time that my family moved there, it faced a lot of the same problems that we are facing here in Natchitoches Parish. It was on the brink of financial ruin and was dealing with a multi-million dollar deficit. It was only after its residents passed a one-cent sales tax that the Parish started to see light at the end of the tunnel. And now, when I go home to visit, I find that most of the gravel roads that we once traveled now have a chip seal/three course overlay and the ditches are well maintained. As of January of 2015, their one-cent sales tax has funded over $80 million in improvements to over 1,000 miles of roads since its inception.
Our children deserve good, safe roads to get them to school and it is our responsibility to provide those roads to them. Please sincerely consider voting for the sales tax initiative that is on the ballot this fall.