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Wednesday, November 14, 2018



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How long will the Delta Farms Launch sit in disrepair?

How long will the Delta Farms Launch sit in disrepair?


Recent news reports about parish boat launches and their improvements failed to include an important fact -- there is another launch in Lafourche, known as the Delta Farms Public Launch.

The Delta Farms Launch, formerly known as the Mercer Launch, is located near the end of Delta Farms Road along the south side of the Intracoastal Waterway in Larose.

It’s owned by Lafourche Parish Government, purchased from the Mercer family in 2017 for $310,000.

After its purchase, the property (which includes a launch and parking and the adjacent now-empty Mercer home) remained locked to public access for many months.

As a result of public questioning in May of this year about the launch’s continued closure, Parish President Jimmy Cantrelle decided to open it, but that’s about all that was done.

Locks were cut and the public was allowed access to the boat ramps.

But as far as improvements go, the only difference between then and now is the grass has been bush-hogged and some rocks have been spread around to level out the numerous pot holes in the parking lot.

The launch is free, but the old Mercer’s sign requiring a $5 launch fee is still up. (Some launchers are still unsure if they should put money in the pay box which is also still near the sign.)

A “Launch at Your Own Risk” parish sign stands prominently at the entrance — and, truth be told, it is definitely a risk.

The launch has no lighting. The bulkhead next to the launch ramp is still in disrepair with old creosote beams bobbing precariously in the water exposing enough concrete and iron protrusions to make any boat owner think twice about tying up there. And debris is everywhere.

It’s a place begging for a lawsuit.

When asked at Tuesday’s public meeting about plans for the launch, President Cantrelle said he has delayed improvements because of manpower shortages within his Public Works department and the need to move workers to more urgent jobs such as grass cutting.

But parish employees have been working on the Leighton Launch in Thibodaux and Sheriff’s Office trustees have been used at Delta Farms to do some housekeeping.

Cantrelle promised more work will be done in Larose when time and manpower permit it.

“There’s a lot more to come. It’s essential for the people of Larose. I guarantee we will be working on that boat launch,” said Cantrelle.

Cantrelle said there is money set aside for all boat launches and he promised structural work on walkways and LED lighting at the Delta Farms launch, but he gave no time line for the improvements.

The 2018 Enacted Lafourche Parish Operating, Maintenance and Capital Budget shows a line item of $45,000 out of the parish’s Recreation Fund for the “Delta Farms Boat Launch Lighting and Launch Improvements” to “provide better recreational opportunities for Parish residents and visitors using (the) launch.”

When that will happen is anybody’s guess.