Posted: Oct 2, 2013 9:49 PM by Alex Labat
Updated: Oct 2, 2013 9:56 PM
Somewhere between 600 and 1,100 acres of land is on the line, quite literally, as a longtime dispute between Lafayette and Vermilion Parishes heats up again.
That's if Lafayette Consolidated Government vetoes an agreement over the border that separates the two parishes.
The dispute goes all the way back to the 1800's when the Louisiana Legislature formed both parishes.
Things seemed to be fine until 1999 when incumbent Lenwood Broussard challenged then opponent Linda Duhon's residency.
She believed she was living in Lafayette, but courts ruled her home was in Vermilion Parish.
Fast forward to 2002, when L.C.G. and the Vermilion Parish Police Jury agreed to survey the boundary.
In 2003, both councils agreed to the newly surveyed boundary, which leads us to today.
Aaron Duhon is split when it comes to the border between Vermilion and Lafayette Parishes, quite literally.
"That side would be Lafayette, this side would be Vermilion", says Duhon as he points to the imaginary line separating his property.
The issues lie with where the border is drawn.
Lafayette was formed before Vermilion Parish and that parish was formed by cutting into the recently formed Lafayette.
"Is it about money, absolutely it's about money. It was about money in 1844 when Vermilion was carved from Lafayette. Through the years all the arguments about the boundary have been about money", says L.C.G. Councilman Don Bertrand.
He says even though the land equates to the size of about 11 "horse farms", that land is still vital to Lafayette's tax base and economic development.
"I feel like, as an elected member of the Lafayette Consolidated Council, if I'm willing to let 1,100 acres walk away, then I don't deserve to be in office", says Bertrand.
"Vermilion Parish Police Jury expects Lafayette Parish to honor it's agreement", says Vermilion Parish Attorney Paul Morsei III.
He says it's not about the 1800's, but the 2000's. When Lafayette Parish made an agreement that Vermilion Parish plans on sticking to.
"It's council's going to do what it's council decides it has to do, but we still believe regardless of what Lafayette does we have a legally binding agreement", says Morsei.
Duhon, whose wife was the incumbent who kickstarted the whole border dispute, says he's ready for his house to be whole.
"I didn't move house, if I would've moved on my own it would have been my own decision to change area. But I never moved, so why should I be moved", says Duhon.
If the Lafayette City-Parish Council decides it wants to vote on the ordinance, the decision would be made within the next two weeks.