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Private ditch that provided drainage filled in, neighbor now worried over flooding issues

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PONCHATOULA - There's a disagreement between a couple of neighbors in Tangipahoa Parish and one of them says his parish council won't let him come speak to air out his grievances.

For over half a century, Lielf Windecker has called his property in Ponchatoula home, but a few years ago he recognized a problem that caused his land to flood.

"I can't get in and out of my driveway," said Windecker.

He says it floods because of a change his neighbor made to his property.

"Everything was fine and then five to six years ago he decided to come plug it up," said Windecker.

He says a natural drainage area on his neighbor's property was filled in by his neighbor and ever since there's been an issue.

"If it was opened up we wouldn't flood anymore," he said.

For the last year, Windecker has been trying to get help through the parish and says he can't get through to his neighbor. He would like to speak to the council about his concerns but has been told that it would need to be placed on the council agenda.

Brigette Delatte Hyde is the District 9 councilwoman and is also related to Windecker's neighbor. She tells 2 On Your Side that Windecker's concern is a civil dispute between neighboring parties and the Tangipahoa Parish Council has no authority over civil matters. In a letter to Windecker, the parish attorney says it is also a civil matter and would not be something to be taken up by the parish council. Windecker does not agree.

"I believe that there's a conflict of interest and I've tried to reach out to multiple council members to see if they would invite me to come speak on this and I've had no response from anyone," he said.

In that letter, the parish attorney said the ditch was filled in by Windecker's neighbor 17 years ago. The reason for filling in the ditch, which runs through his neighbor's property, is because a different property owner was draining sewerage through this ditch. The attorney says the parish cannot get involved in civil disputes between neighbors.

After 2 On Your Side got involved, we heard from Hyde and the other neighbor involved who say the issue is being worked out behind the scenes. The other property owner, Larry Delatte, says the ditch was originally dug by him about 30 years and later filled in, and it is not a natural drainage ditch.


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