Area officials being proactive with flood prep
ASCENSION PARISH - Darrell Smith's neighborhood on Ridge Road went underwater last August.
"Well it was bad back here, probably 80 percent of the homes went under," Smith said.
Now Ascension Parish is working proactively to make sure Smith and others don't have to go through that again.
"I took a boat ride with the Pontchartrain Levee Board to see the debris in Bayou Manchac and when we saw the trees down, and all kind of debris, even a sunken boat, I met a couple days later with the Corp of Engineers to see what it would take to do some dredging and clean it out," Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa said.
Bayou Manchac floods when the Amite River backs up. With all of the debris accumulating in it, the bayou ends up filling the Spanish Lake Basin. With this being some of the lowest-lying land in the area, the water sticks around.
"It backs up and it's slow, slow getting out. It took people back here 30 days to get rid of this water," Smith said.
The plan involves uniting Ascension, Iberville, and East Baton Rouge Parishes under the Ponchartrain Levee District to help unclog Bayou Manchac. Matassa says the bayou hasn't been dredged in 10 years.
Residents like Smith say it's long overdue.
"To dredge Bayou Manchac would be a big help, because the water doesn't get out fast enough," he said.
The Ponchartrain Levee District plans to discuss the Bayou Manchac drainage initiative when it meets this month. Matassa says he's confident the other parishes will agree to help.