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Business owner claims dredging project is damaging property

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DONALDSONVILLE- A business owner in Ascension Parish claims a dredging project continues to damage his property.

Eric Weil claims the land is slipping away from his restaurant that he's owned for decades. Cafe LaFourche runs behind Bayou Lafourche. A project to dredge six miles of the Bayou from Donaldsonville to Belle Rose rapped up recently, and Weil claims he's been dealing with issues ever since.

"I've talked to several people who told me this could move at anytime," Weil said.

The Bayou Lafourche Fresh Water District says the dredging helps provide clean water to at least four parishes and 300,000 people. In 2011, Weil sued the Bayou Lafourche Fresh Water District and other parties responsible for the dredging. He claims, those responsible for the project were negligent dredging the bayou, and they failed to stabilize the banks of the bayou prior to dredging.

At his restaurant today we wanted to get answers from the Bayou Lafourche Fresh Water District.

Executive director Ben Malbrough was supposed to address the "Rotary Club" about upcoming projects. But, we were told once he found out we were there he quickly cancelled his speaking engagement. An empty chair marked the spot where he was supposed to sit.

Malbrough declined to do an on camera interview. He also said he couldn't comment on this particular issue since it was pending litigation. All of this is no surprise to Weil who claims he's been waiting for answers for years.

"Government moves at the pace of a snail," Weil said. "Just give me my appraised value. I'll do my own bulkheading. I would sign a no competition or no fault clause and we would have been done."

We reached out to the Attorney representing the Bayou Lafourche Fresh Water District. He did not get back to us by news time.

Meanwhile, dredging on phase two of the project is scheduled to begin next month.


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