Water threatens to top levees in Plaquemines Parish

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MYRTLE GROVE -- Plaquemines Parish work crews and prison inmates rushed to a small section of levee not far from the Myrtle Grove pumping station where storm surge from Tropical Storm Cindy pushed water over the earthen structure.

There was still 1-to-2 feet of water on the streets as of Thursday evening. The problem is, the tidal flooding isn’t draining as quickly as it should. A persistent southerly wind is pushing water over a small levee on one side of the subdivision.

“We have several areas here on this little levee where we’re worried about a washout,” Parish President Amos Cormier said. “We’re putting out sandbags to try and prevent that. We don’t want the thing to give way completely.”

Cormier admitted Myrtle Grove is not draining as quickly as it should.

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“Normally, we should begin to see the tides start to go down, but with this wind keeping the water backed up here, we’re not seeing it go down as quickly as we would like,” Cormier said.

There were also some tense moments on the east bank of the parish.

Floodwater from the gulf got dangerously close to the top of a new back levee in the Braithwaite area.

Greg Meyer witnessed the moment when water threatened to spill over and says the levee is supposed to hold back more water than it apparently can.

“We were under the understanding that our lowest point on this back levee was 8.5 feet,” Meyer said. “Come to find out, it was 5.2 feet. So, we were living under a false sense of security.”

He’s not the only one upset about the close call.

“It’s just very discouraging,” Tina Treuil said. “All we do is stay up and cry and hope that we don’t lose everything we have.”

Cormier checked on the east bank back levee last night. He maintains that it may or may not be at the proper elevation.

“Certainly, that’s going to be another top priority is getting that section, it was a small section of levee, about 60 to 70 yards where it got a little too close for comfort,” he said.

For now though, parish officials and residents are focused on fighting the flood on hand.