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Communities brace for possible Morganza spillway opening

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MORGANZA/PIERRE PART - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers could open the Morganza Spillway as early as Monday to ease the pressure on levees in the Baton Rouge area and points farther south. The decision to possibly open the spillway Monday came at a meeting Thursday in Morgan City.

The plan would include opening 14 bays at the Morganza Spillway. During the 2011 flood, 17 bays were opened.

Communities in the path of the floodwaters are getting ready. In Assumption Parish, there are concerns about backwater flooding. In 2011, officials sunk a barge in Bayou Chene to act as a dam to prevent backwater flooding. It worked. Officials are hoping the same thing happens now, and plans are already in place to sink a barge along Bayou Chene again should conditions require it.

"They hope to mobilize this weekend," Director of the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, John Boudreaux, said. "They estimate it could take 10 to 12 days to complete the sinking of the barge."

In Pierre Part, residents like Myrtle Landry remember the great flood of 1973. That's the first time the Morganza Spillway opened. Her home had nearly a foot of water inside.

"It was terrible," Landry said. "We had to move out of our house for four months."

Landry is the mother of famed alligator hunter, Troy Landry, who became famous on the nationally broadcast hit TV show Swamp People. Tonight, she's worried not even Troy can prevent the bite that might come from the mighty Mississippi River.

"The water is already high," Landry said.

With the flood fight in full swing, residents like Landry are hanging on to their faith that the communities that they love so much will be spared.

"I hope everyone stays dry and safe," Landry said.

This afternoon, the Army Corps of Engineers released possible inundation elevations if the Morganza Spillway is opened. Click on the maps below for full-sized PDFs.


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