Assumption Parish officials preparing for Morganza opening without major flood control structure in place
UPDATE: Governor Edwards says the temporary flood gate is expected to be in place by June 2. Click HERE for the full update.
PIERRE PART- Parish officials in Assumption Parish are trying to tell residents that a barge used as a flood control structure may not be in place in time when the Morganza Spillway is set to open on June 2.
That shocking detail was revealed Thursday, and that has parish officials telling residents if the barge is not in place in Bayou Chene, they can expect another 12 inches of flooding possibly.
"The information that we received this morning, is we have to prepare for the worst and may have the Morganza open without the Bayou Chene barge in place," said John Boudreaux, Assumption Parish OEP Director.
In 1973 and 2011 when the Morganza Spillway opened, the Bayou Chene Barge flood control structure was used. It prevents backwater flooding from the Atchafalaya Basin from entering Assumption, St. Martin and parts of St. Mary parishes.
"St. Mary Levee District is still working to find the logistics of it as well as get confirmation to go ahead with the project," Boudreaux said.
In Pierre Part, residents like Shirleen Landry have spent nearly 80 years living in the same house. She said even though the Morganza Spillway is not open, she has never seen flooding this bad. Her house is surrounded by sandbags and sump pumps. The only way to get in and out is to be driven in a tall SUV and dropped off on a wooden pallet.
"All we can do is pray," Landry said. "That's all we can do is pray right now."
Meanwhile, along Highway 70, flooding covers the road in two places near Stephensville and Grand Bayou. Highway 70 serves as a major evacuation route for thousands of people.
As concern grows, residents said all they can do is continue getting ready for the worst as they hope for the best.