Bill Capo / Eyewitness News
AMELIA, La. - They’re feeling a little bit better along the banks of Bayou Buff in Amelia, just east of Morgan City, after new predictions about water level and a plan to reduce backwater flooding were delivered Monday.
The Atchafalaya River continues to rise in Morgan City, however, reading 7½ feet and submerging the riverfront dock.
“It’s scary because I was seven years old when I lived in Amelia in 1973 and we were riding pirogues in the yard,” Trish Hampton, a resident of Gibson, said. “And I live in Gibson now and we’re than here.”
The event has given reason for those of all religions and faiths to gather and pray for the waters to not rise as high as predicted, Patterson resident Shelly Mayon said.
Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., stopped in Morgan City, visiting with Mayor Tim Motte while seeing the impact of the high waters. Both expressed relief that the expected crest has been lowered at least a foot.
“The good news is that they are prepared as well as they can be,” Landrieu said. “Also good news is that it doesn’t look as though we’re going to have to put as much water through the Atchafalaya-Morganza Floodway as initially thought.”
Added Motte, “I certainly like the direction the estimates are heading in. So that certainly at 11 feet is a lot better. Still record-setting.”
But a big concern has been flooding from water washing back up through the bayous. Everyone, including Gov. Bobby Jindal, has been waiting to see what would be done to keep that from happening.
Jindal visited a sunken barge in Bayou Chene, three miles south of Amelia, a crucial point in blocking backwater flooding
The 500-foot large barge was sunk in the middle of the bayou with sheet piles blocking the rest of the waterway.
“The bottom line is reduce the flow of water so it doesn’t come back through Bayou Chene and Lake Palourde,” Jindal said. “We want to reduce the amount of water to come back through the back-water areas to threaten communities not only here, but all the way up into lower St. Martin Parish.”
The barge along with sheet metal will block a “substantial amount of flow coming into Bayou Boeuf, which protects Morgan City and Stephensville,” said Terrebonne Parish president Michel Claudet.
Bayou Black, which protects Gibson, along with the western part of Terrebonne Parish also will be blocked by the sunken barge-sheet metal response.
“It also prevents the water from going with a great surge from going down the Intracoastal, which will protect the rest of Terrebonne Parish,” Claudet said.