Snow days without snow

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 1, 2014

By Monique Roth

LAPLACE – It felt like hurricane season earlier this week with long gas station lines, bare grocery shelves, and parades of Entergy trucks lining local streets in anticipation of a completely different type of storm than the River Parishes is used to prepping for.

As temperatures started to plummet Monday night, residents braced themselves for what would be a few days of uncommonly cold weather.

On Monday, Jan. 27, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development released a road plan that said a focus of the agency would be to keep the Hale Boggs Bridge in Luling and the Sunshine Bridge in St. James Parish open throughout the duration of the storm. Although the Sunshine Bridge did close, one lane of the Hale Boggs Bridge did remain open at all time.

Parish residents were kept informed via social media of the various road closures that started on Tuesday and lasted through Thursday morning.

Early forecasts warned of up to six inches of snow for southern Louisiana, but in the end most residents were left with a sprinkling of freezing rain and sleet rather than a thick blanket of snow. Even so, it seems as though residents took whatever form of precipitation they could get and made the best of it as snowball fight and snow angel pictures started trickling into social media newsfeeds.

Businesses and local government agencies announced closures on Monday, as did local school systems.

St. James Parish announced on Monday that schools would be closed through Thursday, and Superintendent Alonzo Luce said that the initial move to close the schools for so long was based on the fact that so many students have to cross bridges to get to the parish’s schools, and those bridges were anticipated to be closed for several days. Luce said teachers’ professional development days would probably be spent teaching students instead, as to not disrupt the school calendar.

St. Charles Parish schools returned to classes on Thursday, and officials there said the district’s schools will not need to make up any days missed because of winter weather because excess minutes are built into the calendar to allow for instances such as this.

On Friday St. John Parish teachers and students resumed classes and Superintendent Kevin George said there were a few possibilities about how the time missed would be made up, but he did not anticipate adding days to the calendar.