BAYOU CORNE, La. -- Ernest Boudreaux looks at his land in Bayou Corne differently now after seven months under an evacuation order because of the threat of a cavern collapse or explosion at the Assumption Parish sinkhole.
“It ain’t worth nothing,” he said. “I don’t want to stay here, and a lot of other people feel the same way, and some want to stay.”
Wednesday, Gov. Bobby Jindal said Texas Brine, the company that mined the collapsing cavern, committed to negotiate buyouts with residents like Boudreaux.
“They did commit to us that they will complete this process in weeks, not months,” Jindal said.
Texas Brine says the sinkhole is now nine acres in size. The last time they say any sloughing occurred happened about two weeks ago.
And now Jindal says Assumption Parish is also keeping a close eye on another cavern that may have been mined too close to the edge of the underground salt dome.
“There are no data currently to indicate that a failure is currently occurring or that a failure is imminent,” Jindal said.
Texas Brine is still mining other salt caverns on the dome. Right now officials focus is trying to keep residents safe and let them move on.
“What they are looking forward to is trying to give some relief to the residents of Bayou Corne that have had enough,” said Assumption Parish President Martin Triche.
Jindal said it’s taken Texas Brine too long to offer buyouts and too long to reimburse the state for sinkhole response.
Residents say a similar thing about Jindal.
“He’s supposed to be the governor of the state. This is his state, his people,” Boudreaux said. “He should have been here.”
Jindal is planning his first visit to the site next Wednesday.
“We’ve been working for months now behind the scenes with the company, we had gotten what we thought were commitments,” Jindal said. “When we had just enough broken deadlines, we finally said that we’re just going to have to force our hand.”