River Region responds to flooded mess

Published 8:33 am Tuesday, August 16, 2016

CONVENT — By early Tuesday morning, more than 100 volunteers in St. James Parish had filled more than 38,000 sandbags.

That was just some of the River Region’s response to a “once in a lifetime” non-hurricane storm event that dumped nearly two feet of water on parts of East Baton Rouge, Livingston and St. Helena parishes.

Most of the heavy rain began at approximately 7 a.m. Saturday and inundated St. Martin, Lafayette, Iberville, Ascension, Washington, Tangipahoa and East Feliciana parishes with near record level downpours.

The heavy rains impacted the River Parishes, as well, with St. James Parish Government creating a webpage — stjamesla.com/information — to provide a one-stop-shop for information concerning preparations underway to mitigate any potential flooding.

The website will be updated throughout the day with closure updates for roads, schools, offices and businesses.

Sandbagging efforts are taking place on the East and West Banks of St. James Parish and schools have been closed there to begin the week.

On Tuesday, St. John the Baptist Parish officials maintained they were actively monitoring weather, water and lake levels and have stayed in contact with the National Weather Service and Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness for updates.

The National Weather Service issued a Flood Warning until 4 p.m. Tuesday for north of Airline Highway in Garyville and Reserve in low-lying areas.

There remains a potential for increased water levels in canals, ditches and drainage outlets in low-lying areas of Garyville and Mt. Airy and Reserve north of Airline Hwy due to backwater flooding from Blind River and the Maurepas Swamp.

“We are also monitoring water on the Highway 51 low road near Ruddock, which remains passable,” parish officials announced Tuesday morning.

St. John Parish leaders stressed this is not a Hurricane Isaac or tidal flooding event, but is backwater flooding.

Sandbags and sand are available at St. John fire stations on Railroad Avenue in Reserve, Garyville, Wallace and Pleasure Bend. The parish sandbagging operation is ongoing and is located at the Captain Bourgeois location.

St. Charles Parish and the United Way of St. Charles is collecting supply donations for victims of the recent rain event until Friday at the Edward A. Dufresne Community Center, 274 Judge Edward Dufresne Parkway in Luling, and the Allen Arterbury Building, 14564 River Road in New Sarpy.

“We were very fortunate in St. Charles Parish as we could easily have seen worse damage,” Parish President Larry Cochran said. “We are asking that our residents come together and help by donating the listed items to those who need it most.”

Drop off times for the Edward A. Dufresne Community Center are from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. Drop off times for the Allen Arterbury Building are from 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m.

Donations have been requested by the Louisiana State Animal Response Team (LSART) and Zues’ Place in New Orleans.

The St. Charles Parish Animal Shelter is accepting donations of cat litter, litter boxes (rectangle plastic kind), cat or dog food, and Dawn detergent for decontamination.

Those interested can bring donations to the shelter at 921 Rue La Cannes Drive in Luling from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Donations will go to Lamar Dixon & Zeus’ Place holding rescued animals. For more information, call 985-783-5010.