Posted: Jun 10, 2014 11:05 PM by Brittany Weiss
Updated: Jun 11, 2014 6:40 AM
BELLE ROSE - At a town hall meeting Tuesday night, Assumption Parish leaders presented a plan to fix a town's flooding problem.
Rosehill Baptist Cemetery flooded so badly on May 28, families of those buried there had to put sandbags on the crypts to keep them from raising and floating away. The cemetery, off Highway 998, had about a foot of water surrounding crypts and headstones. At least a dozen crypts moved from their final resting place.
"Open graves and stuff like that, that's not good," David Williams, who lives next to the cemetery, said as he explained the scene. "That's a real bad health hazard."
The parish said Tuesday, it will do whatever it can to fix the problem.
"Some of their loved ones are still in the funeral home and we need to get them buried, but also isolate them from a potential flood again," said State Rep. Troy Brown.
Councilman Henry Dupre explained the problem and the plan to a group of about 75 residents. A 345 acre section of Assumption Parish has a downward slope that travels down to the cemetery.
"If we could create another servitude underneath the tracks, we could tie it to an existing canal and help drain maybe 36 percent of the water," said Dupre.
A vacant railroad track owned by Union Pacific runs next to the cemetery. Dupre says it acts as a levee, keeping the water in. The parish wants to build a passage under the tracks to prevent the cemetery and nearby homes from flooding. Union Pacific was present at Tuesday night's meeting and supported the project.
But, before moving forward, the parish must perform a study to make sure changing drainage does not flood another part of the parish. In the meantime, the Department of Transportation and Development will clear ditches in the town so the water can drain better.
Senator Brown suggested building a make-shift levee around the cemetery to protect the crypts.
Parish President Martin Triche says they haven't determined a cost for the project but are working on the preliminary plan and preparing to speak with engineers and landowners.
The study could be complete within six months. The parish will hold a progress report meeting July 29 at 6:30 at Belle Rose Primary.