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Sunday, September 22, 2019



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State to provide $42 million for Lafourche storm protection

State to provide $42 million for Lafourche storm protection

Gov. John Bel Edwards has announced more than $42 million of state aid for eight hurricane protection projects in Lafourche Parish.

Five of the projects fall under the North Lafourche Levee District and three are in the South Lafourche Levee District, including money for the $18.5 million Grand Bayou Floodgate -- one of the last open stretches in the Morganza-to-the-Gulf hurricane protection system.

During his remarks Thursday afternoon, Edwards pointed to Hurricane Dorian making its way through the Atlantic Ocean, devastating the Bahamas and threatening the East Coast of the United States.

“We know that stronger storms are going to happen, and they’re going to happen more frequently,” he said. “We can no longer be reactive. We have to be proactive.”

Edwards and Chip Kline, Louisiana Coastal Restoration and Protection Authority chairman, praised the leaders of Lafourche’s levee districts. Edwards called them “visionary.”

“Lafourche Parish is a shining example of proactive planning,” said Edwards.

Aside from the Grand Bayou Floodgate, the projects include:

‒ Raising the average height of four miles of levee in the Gheens community from 5 feet to 7 feet.

‒ Replacing Des Allemands’ old pump station with two new pumps and a new fuel tank.

‒ Construction of the Hollywood Canal Closure Structure to prevent backwater flooding.

‒ Enhancing the 40 Arpent Canal Levee from the Lockport Company Canal to Butch Hill Station.

‒ Raising the height of the levee that runs near Bayou Folse to the back of U.S. 90 to 6.5 feet.

‒ Raising the Golden Meadow Pump Station floodwall from 13 feet to 17 feet.

‒ Raising flood protection on the Larose Floodgate from 8 feet to 13 feet.

Between the two levee districts, about $10.3 million in local money will go to the projects with the state providing $36 million in Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act money and $6.6 million from its surplus from last fiscal year.

The Grand Bayou Floodgate project is the largest single investment of all the projects followed by the 40 Arpent Canal Levee, which is expected to cost nearly $10.4 million.

Lafourche levee districts and parish officials thanked the governor and CPRA for their cooperation over the years and willingness to assist them with projects.

North Lafourche Levee District Executive Director Dwayne Bourgeois called the relationship “seamless” and discussed how the projects will benefit not only Lafourche but the region, including parishes such as St. Mary’s and Terrebonne.

South Lafourche Levee District General Manager Windell Curole noted the importance of constructing these projects and being proactive.

Otherwise, he said, people couldn’t live in south Louisiana.

“There’s great risk but also great advantages,” said Curole, speaking to the port along the coast and fisheries.

Any addition to the levees doesn’t guarantee the water will stay out, but “we reduce the chance of flooding,” he said.

Kline noted that much of the money for these projects relies on the allocation from the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act to take place. He referenced two bills that are moving through the House and Senate that would increase the state’s share of offshore oil revenue and lift the cap of $500 million.

Last month, the state announced the formation of a GOMESA coalition to go to Congress and advocate for the bills on behalf of all of four GOMESA member states -- Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Texas.

Kline called on those in the audience to consider joining the coalition and taking part in the trip to Washington, D.C., planned for October.

“We need additional resources,” he said. “If we want more events like this and more days like this ... I need the help of every single person in this room.”

He continued, “You deserve this protection, and you’ve worked hard for this.”

 

-- Daily Comet Staff Writer Halle Parker can be reached at hparker@houmatoday.com or 857-2204. Follow her on Twitter, @_thehalparker.