Neighbors warn of aggressive gators in Bayou St. John

From on Sept. 23, 2015:
NEW ORLEANS — People living in Mid-City are posting warnings about aggressive alligators in Bayou St. John. Residents tell Eyewitness News they’ve seen several in the body of water in recent weeks.

There have been snapshot after snapshot capturing alligators lurking in Bayou St. John, including a video taken by Dez Bennet of a gator floating by a green kayak.

“When we were parking, some lady said they’ve been seeing alligators down here. So we just went this way and wound up seeing one too,” said kayaker Joshua Borges.

Borges and Hailey Laurent spent part of their Wednesday on the water, but after hearing about gators decided not to take a dip. In recent weeks, there have been reports of at least three gators in the area.

“If I saw a big one, I’d probably be out right now,” Laurent said.

Vincent Booth lives on Bayou St. John, and he told Eyewitness News by phone that in the last month he’s seen a gator trail his dog twice while it swam in the bayou.

Booth said he’s called the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to report the aggressive gator, but he was told to call a trapper.

He even posted a warning online to fellow Faubourg St. John residents, warning them to watch their pets. That’s something wildlife experts also recommend.

“Keep themselves and their pets out of a canal where there is an alligator. Do not feed the alligators. Do not go near the alligators. They’re very dangerous,” said Terry Friedman, a nuisance wildlife control operator. “If they’re hungry, they will attack you.”

Jed Fisher has lived in the neighborhood for nearly a decade now.

“This is the first I’ve heard of it. I’ve yet to see one. I’ve been here pretty much three or four times a week forever,” he said.

The bayou is his dogs’ favorite place to swim. Now Fisher says he’ll be keeping a closer eye on both red and chili.

“Obviously, I’ll look and make sure the area is safe. I won’t want to put my dogs in harm’s way,” he said.

A spokesman for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says licensed trappers are called into deal with nuisance complaints.

In the last two years, the department says it’s seen an increase in gator nuisance calls in both Orleans and Jefferson parishes.

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