Missing memorial sparks debate - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Missing memorial sparks debate

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By Dana Griffin

dgriffin@abc6.com

@danaRgriffin

NEW BEDFORD, MA- A mom in New Bedford, devastated a memorial for her son was mysteriously torn down, is bringing up a recent hot button issue in the city: How long should makeshift shrines be allowed to stay up?

Derek Boudreau’s memorial sat for two years on Wood Street in New Bedford, just three houses down, and in plain view of Maria Boudreaux’s home. On April 10th it was gone.

"We just put that bow a week and a half ago, we had a white one they took that one down," said Boudreau.

Someone also took a handmade cross with her son name on it. He died at that spot, parked in his car after a drug overdose in 2011.

Boudreau adds, “They were very cruel to do that. Especially if you know that I live right over here, 131 Wood Street. Everybody knows me here."

The family initially thought the city had it taken down, but they say they didn't.

New Bedford City Councilor, Henry Bousquet said, "Out of respect for the grieving we kind of leave it alone and we hope that in time they kind of go away on their own."

Makeshift memorials are illegal in the city, but it's not enforced. Officials now want to change that after receiving numerous complaints of unkempt memorials.

One in particular had about 30 empty liquor bottles scattered on the side walk.

"Some were broken because of the storms I imagine or people kicking them as they went by. It was really a public safety issue for me from the very beginning," said Bousquet.

Derek’s sister, Cheryl Boudreau said, "If it's kept up, not a lot of people are hanging out there all hours of the night, I believe it should be able to stay up."

It's unclear who took Derek’s memorial, but the family is concerned about the future. If the city adopts a similar ordinance to the one in Providence, their memorial could be removed after only 30–days.

The New Bedford city council is just in the drafting stage of this ordinance. It could take up to a year before an actual ordinance is voted on. 

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