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Bayou Manchac drainage project in the works between East Baton Rouge and Iberville parishes

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BATON ROUGE - Months after East Baton Rouge officials butted heads with Iberville Parish President Mitch Ourso over the ripple effects of Ourso's flood prevention measures, the two parishes are partnering for a joint flood prevention project in one of the area's major problem spots. 

East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome announced Tuesday that the city-parish is proposing a partnership alongside Iberville to improve drainage along Bayou Manchac, which borders both parishes. 

The mayor's office called the project a "Cooperative Endeavor Agreement" to clear and snag Bayou Manchac from Highway 30 to the Alligator Bayou flood control gate. The proposal coincides with a similar agreement with Ascension Parish, with the ultimate goal of improving drainage along almost the entire length of Bayou Manchac to the Amite River. 

Flooding in that area has been a major point of contention for both parishes in the past, with EBR alleging that Iberville's aquadams were pushing flood water into the neighboring parish. The fight came to a head this year when both parishes filed court orders against the other. 

"Stay in your lane," Ourso said at the time, directing his frustration at EBR officials. "Stay in your lane. I don't tell you how to govern East Baton Rouge. Don't tell me how to govern Iberville Parish."

A state Supreme Court decision in May allowed Iberville to continue deploying its temporary barriers.

Tuesday's announcement seemingly marked the end of the back-and-forth between the parish leaders.

“The leaders of East Baton Rouge, Iberville and Ascension Parishes are stepping up to bring meaningful drainage improvements to our citizens,” Mayor Broome said. “President Ourso and I believe a regional approach benefits all of our communities.”

“Bayou Manchac is the only drainageway for East Iberville Parish and I am committed to finding solutions for my citizens who live there,” President Ourso said. “Drainage for East Iberville Parish will only improve with downstream initiatives to address water flow, and that’s why it is so important to work collaboratively across parish lines.”

The proposed project will head to the EBR Metro Council and Iberville Parish Council for approval.

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