St. John residents, business owners asked to prepare for worst with approaching hurricane

Published 12:40 pm Friday, October 6, 2017

LAPLACE — Prepare an evacuation plan should you need to leave St. John the Baptist Parish.

Be prepared to operate without power should you stay.

Parish officials want local residents to work through these concerns in advance of Tropical Storm Nate, which is expected to impact the Gulf Coast, including Louisiana, as early as Saturday night.

During a joint press conference at 11:30 a.m. Friday, Parish President Natalie Robottom and Sheriff Mike Tregre took turns warning residents of the potential dangers coming with the approaching storm.

“The anticipation of four to six feet of surge is a concern for us,” Robottom said within minutes of the conference’s beginning. “Fortunately, over the last hour or so, the track has moved more easterly, which benefits us. But we need our residents to begin their preparations.”

Sheriff Tregre asked local residents to stay off the roads and highways during and after the storm.

“We’re going to prepare for the worst and, hopefully, come out with the best,” he said.

Sheriff Mike Tregre speaks during Friday’s press conference.

Officials stressed to those residents who experienced flooding during Hurricane Isaac and see it regularly during thunderstorms to prepare for similar impacts this weekend.

LaPlace neighborhoods north of Airline High near Interstate 10 remain particularly vulnerable.

A voluntary evacuation is in effect for areas north of the I-55 off ramp including Frenier and Peavine.

Residents in low-lying areas near Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas and Lac Des Allemands should begin preparations in anticipation of tropical storm conditions and possible flooding.

Authorities are asking those residents to leave now because incoming storm waters would make rescue efforts to those locations dangerous and difficult.

“You may lose power, so our residents’ preparations need to include what you will do if you lose power,” Robottom said. “This system should be out of our way by Sunday night, and that is what we’re going to hope for. What we know is with Hurricane Isaac, it stalled, and after the storm is when we experienced the flooding. We don’t want anyone to take this lightly.”

St. John Parish is under a State of Emergency, partial voluntary evacuation, Coastal Flood Advisory, a Hurricane Watch and Storm Surge Watch as Tropical Storm Nate moves toward the Gulf of Mexico.

A storm surge watch means that life and property threatening storm surge is possible within 48 hours.

Residents who are elderly, sick or have difficulty managing on their own are encouraged to contact family members and friends and have a plan to leave their homes should it be necessary.

For special needs, please call the Department of Health and Human Services at 985-536-4955 to be triaged.

Road Closures:

Old Hwy 51 at Ruddock

Peavine Road

Frenier Road

Self-serve Sandbag Locations:

Bring a shovel and prepare to fill your own bags. Manpower will be there to assist from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

After hours bags and sand will be available at those locations. Please only take what is needed.

“We’re asking that you help yourself and help your neighbors fill the sandbags,” Robottom said. “We’re having a major change in one of our locations — our busiest spot has been the community center in LaPlace. Because we were making preparations for the Andouille Festival, that site is not available. The LaPlace sandbag location is now moved to Indigo Parkway and Bamboo Road, which is next to Lake Pontchartrain Elementary School.

Other locations include Railroad Avenue Fire Station (near Riverside Academy), Ezekiel Jackson Park, Westbank Complex and the Wallace, Edgard and Pleasure Bend Fire Stations.

Pre-filled sandbags for the elderly and disabled are available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at

425 Captain G. Bourgeois.

Residents can sign up for weather alerts at