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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

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Council partners with other agencies to address Pointe-aux-Chenes levee concern

Council partners with other agencies to address Pointe-aux-Chenes levee concern

At Tuesday night’s public meeting, the Lafourche Parish Council was addressed by Reggie Dupre, former State Senator of District 12, in regards to the aftermath of Hurricane Barry – in particular, the levee break at Pointe-aux-Chenes and the damages to homes in the area, as well as proposing a solution to avoiding such devastation in the future.

Councilman Jerry Jones responded to Dupre’s information relating to the failure of the levee at Pointe-aux-Chenes that Lafourche residents “live in the best levee system in the country.”

“We live in the best levee system in the county, but Pointe-aux-Chenes doesn’t,” Patty Ferguson, a citizen of Pointe-aux-Chenes and member of the Houma Nation, said in response to Councilman Jones’ comment when addressing the council as to the status of the levee, or lack thereof, in the area.

Ten Lafourche and two Terrebonne homes were affected by the break in the levee caused by the Category 1 storm. It was additionally noted by Dupre that when there is a stronger storm, the damage will be greater, with flooding extending up to and past Thibodaux, affecting nearly 700,000 Lafourche residents.

Dupre stated that the levee at Pointe-aux-Chenes “shouldn’t even be considered a levee by any means – it is dredge material that broke.”

The former State Senator then presented to the Council an interagency partnership and action plan, initially proposed by Terrebonne Parish President Gordon Dove on Monday.

The partnership, which would be between Terrebonne Parish, Lafourche Parish, and the North Lafourche Levee Districts, would utilize marsh buggies to move and compact dredge material and Hesco baskets to strengthen and provide a temporary solution to the current 1.5-mile gap in the levee system between Dularge and Little Caillou.

The timeline as provided by Dupre would have the project completed in four weeks.

Dupre requested two actions by the Council, to join in the partnership and acquire the permits needed for the emergency work to be completed, and a commitment to fund the work alongside the financial commitments already given by Terrebonne and the North Lafourche Levee District.

While there was no question as to the commitment by Lafourche Parish to join in such efforts, it quickly became a heated discussion as it related to funding.

The council unanimously passed a resolution to join the efforts at Tuesday’s meeting, and called a special meeting Thursday to determine the amount of funding they will commit to the efforts.