Local levee work a long time coming

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 24, 2002


HAHNVILLE – Work began this week on a new hurricane protection levee for the West Bank of St. Charles Parish and Parish President Albert Laque described it as “desperately needed for a long time.”

Laque, got the final permit to begin building the 3.4-mile levee phase in March and he said he hopes to have this segment completed in three years.

“We’re in a race for time, as the next storm surge could be the big one,” Laque said.

A host of officials attended a ground-breaking ceremony in Boutte, including Sheriff Greg Champagne, Clerk of Court Charles Oubre Jr., District Judge Kirk Granier, Fifth Circuit Judge Edward A. Dufresne Jr., School Board Member Ronald St. Pierre and parish council members Dee Abadie, G. “Ram” Ramchandran, Desmond Hilaire, Lance Marino, Brian Fabre and Terry Authement, in whose district this project is located.

The project phase one will extend from the segment from the Sunset Drainage District levee at Paradis Canal, east to the area behind Magnolia Ridge in Boutte, a low-lying area vulnerable to storm surge from Lake Salvador and Bayou Des Allemands.

Also in attendance were Frank Duarte of the U.S Army Corps of Engineers, the project manager for a $7 million study which began in February to develop a series of such levees from near Donaldsonville to the Gulf of Mexico. Duarte said he hopes to have all segments at least under construction in just under five years.

Dudley Webre of the Lafourche Basin Levee District said the LLD is committed to continue providing money for this project, through every phase.

Laque recalled his feelings at being able to hold the ground-breaking for the East Bank levee project.

“This is Phase One,” he said. “I commit to getting the permits for the next two phases.”

An East Bank hurricane protection levee is still under construction between the Bonnet Carre Spillway and Interstate 310, a project begun under Laque’s previous administration, from 1988 to 1991.

The 60-foot wide levee project will also include a pumping station, a weir, a gated structure with a boat bay, five equalizer sites and four gated equalizer structures.