Live oak trees cut down along Airline Highway; mystery as to who's responsible
BATON ROUGE - Someone took down three live oak trees in what appears to be an illegal act over the weekend. So far, no one knows who's responsible.
The trees along Airline Highway south of Prescott Road have been cut down to about a 10-foot trunk. The branches and long limbs have been left behind in the ditch, creating a mess for someone else to pick up.
Jim Eaves is in the tree business and works as an Arborist for Bofinger's Tree Service. The business is feet away from the scene in question.
"This is vandalism as far as I'm concerned," said Eaves. "We don't know why they were cut, the trees were healthy, they were away from the power lines."
Based on the evidence left behind, Eaves thinks it was a rushed job and a bucket truck was needed to get it done so quickly.
Rodney Mallett with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development says the trees belong to the state.
"We believe they were planted when they first built Airline back in the Huey P. Long days," said Mallett.
But he says the state had no involvement in cutting them down.
"Wasn't us, we didn't do it I have no idea what compelled somebody to go to on state property and damage state property," he said.
The live oaks were fully mature standing about 60 feet tall and their canopies were nearly as wide. The state says the trees were supposed to be there for the long haul.
Like DOTD, Eaves wants to know who did it and why. The trees were cut down sometime between Friday morning and Sunday night. He went to work around 5 o'clock on Monday morning and saw what happened.
Sage Foley, Executive Director of Baton Rouge Green says they started getting phone calls about what happened on Monday morning.
"If something like this happens, we get calls," said Foley. "At first we thought there was roadwork coming but then DOTD says they had nothing to do with it."
Foley says the trees were about 70 years old and had been a vital part of the area in terms of holding carbon and collecting rainwater. She says it's illegal to damage a tree as property.
So far, DOTD, Entergy, Bofinger's, and the City-Parish have all denied any involvement. DOTD has filed a police report with the Baton Rouge Police Department.
If anyone saw something over the weekend along Airline Highway near Prescott Road, contact police.