ASSUMPTION PARISH- A massive flood fight is underway in communities south of Baton Rouge as they fight rising water from back water flooding and excess rainfall.
In St. Martinville, a road linking Bayou Pigeon to Belle River is only open to high water vehicles due to high water. In Pierre Part, multiple sand bag locations are open to residents trying to protect their homes.
Resident Nicholas Levron hopes a two foot high sandbag levee will save his house. The impromptu levee was erected Monday, after he began getting worried Sunday afternoon.
"Yesterday, with the heavy rain, the water doesn't have a place to go," Levron said. "It's building up fairly quick and taking a while to go down."
Levron says the 50 year old house has never flooded, and he doesn't want it to now. Down the street, a group of prisoners filled sandbags. It's one of nearly a half dozen locations where they are being passed out to residents nearby. Emergency Operations Director John Boudreaux says the parish is watching the water levels closely.
"This flooding is backwater flooding," Boudreaux said. "The Lake Verret basin gets in through Bayou Chene in the southern end of Assumption Parish."
On one street, residents had to navigate high water to get to their homes. What's normally a dry street, you'll find minnows.
For decades, people have been making a pilgrimage to the Virgin Island to pay their respects to the blessed mother. They say she keeps the community safe from natural disasters. They're hoping as water rises, she'll continue watching over this area.
Last year and in 2011, parish leaders sank a barge to prevent backwater flooding in Bayou Chene. It worked. But this year, the barge was not needed because parish leaders say the water levels in the basin weren't high enough. Boudreaux says residents can expect high water for a while.
"Using history as a guide, we've had these events before," Boudreaux said. "A slow fall in the Atchafalaya, it will probably be a few weeks before we see a dramatic decrease in water levels."
That's why residents like Levron aren't taking chances.
"It's concerning," Levron said. "We're trying to make sure we dont' have anything come in the house. We are doing it as a precaution."
Sand bags are being handed out at the following locations:
Belle River Ball Park
Highway 70 at Bay Bridge
Highway 401 at Bayou Crab Road
Highway 1012 near the boat launch
Bayou Tranquille Road
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