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Hurricane protection from Lake Pontchartrain

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CONVENT — Improvements to a hurricane protection plan on the west side of Lake Pontchartrain is intended to benefit residents of St. Charles, St. James and St. John the Baptist parishes.

The parish's are the path of a westward storm surge from the lake.

"I'm for it, but at one point Convent wasn't in that levee," says Gail LeBouef, a lifetime resident of St. James Parish.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is leading the project, which initially left a lot of St James Parish outside the protected area. 

"The project is already delegated by Congress. It's not too easy for the Corps of Engineers to shift gears and change that project," said Pete Dufresne, the St. James Parish president.

But, the parish figured out a way to fix the problem and protect more people and their property

"The parish took on the endeavor of placing a connector levee in between the two ring levees that the Corps of Engineers is going to put into place," Dufresne said.

It's also going to take a lot of money to help the project become a reality.

"We've secured about $25 million dollars through state monies, various state organizations, partnering with capital outlay, CPRA, Pontchartrain Levee District and agencies such as that to assist us," says Dufresne.

As for LeBoeuf, she's thankful they created a plan to help the entire parish.

"It is needed ... if the parish works with the Corps of Engineers and they do what's sound," she said.

The St. James levee project is still in the design phase right now. However, the West Shore Levee Protection Project is expected to be completed in the fall of 2027.

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