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Parishes respond to flood

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / September 16, 1998

LAPLACE – Residents in the River Parishes await a northwest wind to take away the tidal water which continues to swamp streets and some houses.

Meanwhile, other places are taking note of the fact that public works improvements made a significant difference for the better.

Al Arabie of LaPlace Park Subdivision trumpeted the successful efforts in his area by St. John Public Works Director Greg Bush.”For the first time since 1980, we’ve had no water in LaPlace Park,” Arabie said. “I want to give Greg Bush all the credit.”Meanwhile, in other areas, several inches of water continue to inconvenience residents.

In St. Charles Parish, according to Emergency Operations Director TabTroxler, 45 homes sustained some level of damage, with two or three homes with a foot or more of water inside.

As of press time Tuesday, tidal levels were beginning to drop slightly in severely-affected areas such as Willowridge Subdivision, Luling; Bayou Gauche; Magnolia Ridge, Boutte; and Fox Lane, St. Rose.”It could be a lot better, but it’s looking better,” Troxler said.

Sandbagging help from both the National Guard and inmates from Hunt Correctional Institute assisted St. Charles Parish during their weekendbattles with rising flood waters.

Specialist Xavier Meyers of Ponchatoula said Sunday he had been there three nights already, helping haul and place sandbags filled by local residents.

American Red Cross shelters were opened briefly to accommodate distressed residents, such as a Luling family whose trailer residence’s roof collapsed.

A 5-mile stretch of Airline Highway, together with its connections with Interstate 310, were closed all weekend. Other streets, such as EastHarding, New Sarpy; St. Rose Avenue and Almedia Road, St. Rose; andOrmond Boulevard, Destrehan, continue to have high water problems.

“We had control for awhile, but we just lost it,” Derrol Dunn of Bayou Gauche noted on Sunday, where his sister, Debra Horn, sustained 8 inches of water inside her home.

Troxler also commented on the hurricane protection levee under construction north of Airline Highway.

“If the whole thing was connected, it could have helped significantly,” Troxler said. He continued the system will be closed by 2000 and isexpected to be completed by 2013.

St. Charles Parish President Chris Tregre reported after a flyover of theparish on Monday, “We’re making headway. If nothing changes, we’re OK.”In St. John the Baptist Parish, severely affected areas included the back ofRiverlands Subdivision, Madewood and Homewood streets in Reserve, River Forest and Belle Grove subdivisions and the area of U.S. 51 at theintersections with I-10 and I-55.

St. John Parish Public Works Director Greg Bush said the water levelsfrom Lake Pontchartrain are 2 to 3 feet higher than normal.

He added he’s dealt with a lot of phone calls from residents telling him to just “pump the water out.” Bush continued they’re more understanding andsympathetic when he explains there’s no place to pump the water to.

There has also been some problems with drivers passing down water- filled streets, pushing wakes into homes. However, with 104 requests forsandbags, “every request was filled.”The Pleasure Bend area on Lac des Allemands was swamped by water pushed in by the wind, demanding a massive sandbagging effort to save homes there. Also affected was the McReine Road area near Montz.In St. James Parish, Parish President Dale Hymel Jr. reported that 15 to20 homes in the South Vacherie area were sandbagged during the weekend, water being pushed up from Lac des Allemands. On the East Bank, it waswater backed up from Lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain which swamped the St. James Boat Club, crossed Airline Highway and infiltrated lowerGrand Point.

“We’ve been working all weekend, through this morning,” Hymel said.

Looking at the rest of this week, Bush commented: “It depends on the wind.

If it shifts now, it could be clean by the next morning.”

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