BATON ROUGE —- The non-profit group, Keep Tiger Town Beautiful, or KTTB, was out Saturday morning and came upon a hidden homeless camp in Baton Rouge.
As they do every Saturday morning, on September 23, the group concentrated around the corner of Sherwood Forest and Coursey boulevards.
Jennifer Richardson with KTTB said the 20 volunteers went to clean up behind a vacant building when they spotted the encampment.
She said they saw someone run out from behind the building as the group got close. There were about 20 shopping carts filled with garbage behind the building.
“We just proceeded to clean up all the baskets that were out in that parking lot,” Richardson said. “And when we got to the bottom of the baskets, it looked like it was stolen vape pens. There were just boxes and boxes of them. Somebody went into the encampment, and they found a gurney and some kind of equipment used in kidney dialysis.”
Richardson said they called the police to assist.
“The people living there obviously, there’s something back there they didn’t want us to see or get because they stared at us the whole time we were cleaning,” she recalled. “They watched us as we were cleaning up that parking lot.”
According to Richardson, the group picked up 65 trash bags from the parking lot. Police spoke with some of the people living there, but Richardson said because the parking lot is private property and the owner couldn’t be contacted, the people were allowed to stay.
She said the group had found a variety of things while keeping Baton Rouge clean, but finding a gurney Saturday was a surprise.
“We’ve found a dead body. We’ve found a machine gun, a Glock, a pink handgun,” she said. “We find stuff all the time. We find porn, pedophile stuff. It’s not surprising to us, but when we found a gurney and all that dialysis equipment in a homeless camp. What the hell are you doing with a gurney in a homeless camp.”
She said people who live near the camp complained of hearing screams for help at various times throughout the late night.
Not the only homeless camp
Richardson said her group has seen several similar camps in the city.
“This is all over Baton Rouge,” she explained. “This isn’t just a one-time deal. Everywhere there is vacant property, these people go on private property and set up these camps. All of these camps are disgusting. When it’s so disgusting that they can’t live in it, they move into another spot in the same area and trash that.”
Richardson said most people don’t know the camps exist because it’s hard to see while driving in cars. She said people should know these things exist in their neighborhoods.
“This was in South Baton Rouge where people think it’s really safe, but it’s not,” Richardson said.
She pointed out camps near the mall, Essen Lane, the Woman’s Wellness Center, and Bluebonnet.
“I feel like if we don’t get on top of this,” they’re going to take over our city,” she said. “We’ve got to get a grip because the hardworking people who are paying taxes and want to have a better life for their family, the American dream is just vanishing because they are taking over our city.”