Plaquemines council finally approves Westbank levee project

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wwltv.com

Posted on May 18, 2012 at 6:17 PM

Updated Friday, May 18 at 6:22 PM

Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: pmurphy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

BURAS, La. - A potential crisis has been averted in Plaquemines Parish as the parish council finally approved a massive Westbank levee project.

The project is expected to protect against the type of flooding seen during last year's Tropical Storm Lee when water cascaded over the back levees over pasture lands and LA 23.

The council placed the nearly one billion dollar, Army Corps of Engineers flood control plan on hold after neighbors in the community of Myrtle Grove complained the project excluded their marina development.

"It has never been our intention to stop any federal levees for everyone else," said Rosa Dusang from Myrtle Grove. "We want protection for everyone, but that includes us."

The project calls for the construction of new levees from Oakville to St. Jude and levee repairs from St. Jude to Venice.

Plaquemines President Billy Nungesser called Friday's emergency meeting in Buras to resolve the issue.

He said any further delays could result in a permanent halt to the project.

Nungesser committed to finding the $12 million needed to improve levees and build a flood gate across Wilkinson canal.

He says it would give Myrtle Grove the same level of flood protection as the rest of the parish.

"I've compromised with them to move forward and move in that direction to save this project," said Nungesser. "This is over a billion dollars for Plaquemines Parish."

Neighbors in Myrtle Grove plan to hold Nungesser to his word.

Parish Council Chair Byron Marinovich is not so sure. He says it's now up to the council to allocate the $12 million for the Myrtle Grove flood gate.

"We have offered in good faith to work with them," said Marinovich. "Mr. Nungesser actually kind of promised them something. I don't know if we're going to keep that promise. But, we certainly intend to try to work with them as we can, but we do have a lot of other project throughout the parish."

The Plaquemines Parish council is now expected to begin discussions on a resolution to include Myrtle Grove in the flood control project as early as next week.

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