Lafitte residents assess Lee damage

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wwltv.com

Posted on September 5, 2011 at 10:12 PM

Updated Monday, Sep 5 at 10:22 PM

Katie Moore / Eyewitness News

NEW ORLEANS -- Floodwater in Lafitte began slowly dropping Monday, after storm surge from Tropical Storm Lee pushed through Barataria Bay, flooding many parts of the small Jefferson Parish Community.

The break in the wind allowed some residents to trudge through the floodwater, getting a glimpse of their flooded homes.

This flood reached a level that surprised many, even in Lafitte.

As Rod Thomassie sloshed through a foot of floodwater on his street, carrying a trash bag-wrapped television and a box of belongings, he said he was happy to be saving what he can. His entire street was still underwater Monday, and so was his house.

“For [hurricane] Rita, I'm pretty sure we had to wait two days before we even got back in the house,” Thomassie said.

Early estimates were that Thomassie was one of about 50 Lafitte residents whose houses flooded during Tropical Storm Lee.

“Right now, we're actually cleaning up. The water is not coming up anymore,” said Lafitte Mayor Tim Kerner.

“We feel like we've won the battle. The wind direction has changed, which means the surge is starting to roll out of Bayou Barataria,” said Jefferson Parish City Council Member At-Large Chris Roberts.

Unfortunately, for homeowners whose houses went under water during Lee in Lafitte, it was probably the second or third time they've flooded just in the past five years.

“I just drawed the line,” said Steven Adams, after his house flooded for the third time from the Hurricane Ike storm surge.

He’s one of the lucky ones on the Barataria side of Lafitte. He elevated his home with the help of a Road Home elevation grant, a program that is still hiking up homes six years after hurricane Katrina.

“The day they came to jack up the house, my wife cried. We're getting older. You don't feel like going up and down those steps. But that's the only way we gonna live down here,” Adams said.

His next-door neighbor wasn't so lucky with Lee. The house was under more than a foot of water Monday.

It's why Jefferson Parish leaders are pushing residents to take advantage of that elevation program.

“We hope that by the time it's over that we can get everyone who is qualified elevated,” Roberts said.

Kerner and other Jefferson Parish leaders are also fighting to get the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build a "ring levee" around town, just to help with tidal protection, not even 100-year storm protection.

“All the improvements they made, they left Lafitte, Barataria and Crown Pointe out,” Kerner said. The Jefferson Parish Public School system announced two school closures in Lafitte because of high flood water on major roadways.

Fisher Middle High School and Kerner Elementary School were scheduled to be closed Tuesday.

And even in the small town of Lafitte, technology is changing the way they deal with emergencies.

The Jean Lafitte Police Department created a Facebook page to give residents the latest and to let them know when it's safe to return.

 

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