Butte Larose virtual ghost town as area prepares for impending flood

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wwltv.com

Posted on May 16, 2011 at 6:35 PM

Updated Monday, May 16 at 6:43 PM

Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News

BUTTE LAROSE, La. ― With floodwaters from the opening of the Morganza Spillway heading towards Butte Larose, the town was a virtual ghost town by dusk Monday.

The Atchafalaya River is rising and folks are getting out knowing if the river overflows its banks, their homes and businesses could soon be underwater as well.

The roads leading into Butte Larose has been protected by the Louisiana National Guard for nearly a week. Nobody can get in or get out without the proper identification.

Still, there are 600 homes in the Cajun Country town, most empty now thanks to a voluntary evacuation as the Atchafalaya basin fills with water from the Mississippi River, which is pouring nearly 40 million gallons of water per minute into the floodway.

“I moved everything out of the bottom and put everything I could upstairs and brought it to my mother’s house and put it over there for right now,” said Neil Rabeaix, who already has water creeping up onto his property.

Down the road, crews and volunteers removed the contents of Kate’s, a popular bar in Butte Larose.

“They’re expecting quite a few feet of water out here. We’re not sure how much. We’re taking precautions, picking up our equipment. We have video poker and jukeboxes and pool tables,” John Barber said.

Kathy Buchanan, the owner of Kate’s, said she couldn’t prouder of her neighbors during this high-water emergency.

“They’re resolute,” Buchanan said. “They’re courageous. No one is angry. The offers of help are non-stop.”

Meanwhile, after initially questioning the opening of the Morganza Spillway Congressman Jeff Landry, he now believes it to be necessary to protect Louisiana.

He’s urging the more than 25,000 people in the path of potential flooding to get out when told to do so.

“We want them to heed the warnings their local elected officials are giving them when it comes to protecting their life and their property,” Rep. Jeff Landry (R-La.) said. “We want them to take this seriously.”
 

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