Published 12:00 am Friday, December 12, 2008


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE — For only the eighth time since 1947, a measurable amount of white, powdery snow fell all throughout the semi-tropical climate of Southeast Louisiana Thursday morning — and it came down hard.

The rare frozen precipitation began to sprinkle down just before 8 a.m. Thursday and didn’t begin to let up until well after 10 a.m. At its peak, the relatively blizzard-like snowstorm dropped almost 2 inches of white stuff in the LaPlace area.

“It’s the equivalent of a hurricane hitting Montana,” said St. John Public Information Officer Buddy Boe. “All we need now is an earthquake because we have certainly seen it all in this area this year.”

Despite the magical feeling that seems to come with snowfall in this region, all was not fun and games. The icy mix of snow and rain played havoc with several major roadways throughout the River Parishes.

According to Louisiana State Police, the heavy snow forced the closure of the Hale Boggs Bridge, which connects the East Bank and West Bank of St. Charles Parish, the Des Allemands Bridge on US 90, which connects St. Charles to Lafourche Parish, and the Veterans Memorial Bridge, connecting East St. John to West St. John. The wintry conditions also closed Interstate 310 and parts of Interstate 55. The roadways were only shut down during the peak of snowfall. Troopers reported that all closed roadways reopened just after 10:30 a.m.

With the main East Bank and West Bank arteries closed, Boe said St. John was forced to shut down operation at the Edgard Courthouse in an effort to keep people off the highways.

Both St. John and St. Charles Sheriff’s Offices said most motorists were driving safely considering the conditions and very few accidents were reported in the area during the period of heaviest snowfall.

St. John School Superintendent Dr. Courtney Millet said all schools in the area remained open, but buses were kept off the roads during the peak of snowfall.

Boe said the snow did cause a smattering of power outages in the St. John area. He said the outages were “very sporadic” and only affected a few residential areas.

“A patch of homes near St. Charles Catholic High School lost power and some homes in Mt. Airy experienced outages,” Boe said. “Entergy crews were out quickly and most were restored within an hour of loss.”