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Sheba Turk / Eyewitness News
Email: sturk@wwltv.com | Twitter: @shebaturk

NEW ORLEANS There was a ground-breaking ceremony earlier Friday for permanent structures that will provide protection from a 100-year level storm surge, benefitting people in Bucktown, Gentilly and Hollygrove.

Not long after Hurricane Katrina, temporary structures were put in place as barriers against storm surges.

They've protected many areas through four major storms, including Hurricane Isaac.Friday was a big day because officials celebrated the start of construction on permanent canal closures and pumps at the 17th street, Orleans Avenue and London Avenue canals.

The plans for the structures have come with controversy since some of them will be built in residential areas.

But officials point out that the generator buildings will be situated in a way that reduces the noise impact to surrounding neighborhoods.

Speakers at Friday's groundbreaking praised the step forward, but Jefferson Parish President John Young reminded everyone that there is still a lot more work to be done when it comes to storm protection.

'We also have a lot more work to do not only on this particular project but also in terms of coastal restoration and protecting those communities outside the hurricane protection,' Young said. '$14.5 billion have been spent, but we have communities in Jefferson Parish as well as other parishes...but in Jefferson Parish, we are talking about Lafitte, Crown Point, Barataria and Grand Isle that don't have the benefit of that protection.'

Officals said it will take a few years for the project to be fully functional, but there seems to be a lot of confidence that once it's completed the area will be much better prepared for a storm.

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