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Terrebonne Parish declares a State of Emergency ahead of hurricane season

Terrebonne President Gordon Dove signed the emergency order citing the potential threat of flooding during the 2023 hurricane season.

TERREBONNE PARISH, La. — A week before hurricane season starts, Terrebonne Parish declared a State of Emergency.

Terrebonne President Gordon Dove signed the emergency order citing the potential threat of flooding during the 2023 hurricane season.

The document points to a four-mile gap in the Morganza to the Gulf hurricane protection system. 

Terrebonne Levee District President Tony Alford says the gap extends from Marmande Ridge in Dularge to the Intracoastal Canal. 

“The storm bears down on us and a storm is pushing up this way, and you’re pushing water into this opening, right here,” Alford said pointing to the gap on a map of the parish levee system. “It fills up this area, right here which is Terrebonne Parish while these flood gates are closed, Terrebonne Parish could be underwater.” 

We took a boat ride out to the gap in the levee. 

David Boudreaux from Delta Coast Consultants, a program manager for the levee district, showed us where the hole needs to be plugged. 

“The Intracoastal Flood Gate is going to go right behind us here and then the levee’s going to tie into that and it’s going to plug the four-to-five-mile gap here, south to the existing levee system. 

The gap is one of the final sections to be completed along the 98-mile levee system located about 60 miles southwest of New Orleans. 

“It’s certainly going to be a peace of mind during storm events that we can feel comfortable,” Boudreaux said. “We still need to get out, but we’ll have something to come back to.” 

Most of the levee system has been built with more than a billion dollars in local taxes and state matching funds. 

The Army Corps of Engineers is now on board to help complete the project. 

Alford says finishing the work under a state of emergency should speed up construction. 

“If you go through the proper channels and you go through what it takes to get the environmentalists, all the meetings you have to go to, it will take three years. If you do it under an emergency, it will take a year.” 

The emergency declaration was signed on Monday. It is now subject to renewal every 30 days. 

“Where we live, it’s sort of the nature of the beast that you have to be prepared for storms,” Alford said. “You don’t know when the next storm is coming, next year, and you just have to be prepared. That’s why we build these levees.” 

The Morganza to the Gulf project was allocated nearly $380 million from the bipartisan infrastructure bill last year.

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