ST. JAMES PARISH, La. — St. James Parish is under a State of Emergency. Parish leaders are watching backwater flooding in communities on both banks of the river.
There is wide-spread street flooding in the Longview subdivision in Paulina.
Many yards there look more like lakes.
Some neighbors put sandbags around the homes.
Not 81-year-old Gloria Gaudet. She decided to roll the dice with this flooding event.
“I done made up my mind this time if I get flooded out, I’ll knock it down and put me a trailer on the cement,” Gaudet said. “That’s it.”
A persistent easterly wind continues to push water in from the gulf.
Backwater flooding due to the rising levels in Lake Maurepas and the Blind River is expected to push the tide more than 4 feet above normal.
“I’m looking at it,” Gaudet said. “It is rising a little at a time. But I think we’re going to be safe.”
St. James Parish President Pete Dufresne spent the day surveying the high water.
“Our trouble spots are right here where we’re located down Longview Street is one of our most vulnerable areas,” Dufresne said. “We have another trouble spot on Admiral’s Landing and also in Gramercy by the St. James nursery.”
There is also street flooding on the west bank in the Vacherie area.
“So far, so good, we have no reported water in any homes, St. James Homeland Security Director Eric Deroche said. “We are just hoping and praying that continues for this event.”
Some neighbors aren’t taking any chances.
Matt Deroche (no relation to the Homeland Security Director) and his crew loaded a trailer with dozens of sandbags.
“Just trying to protect my parent’s house,” Deroche said. “Water’s coming up on it and just trying to keep it off the house.”
Back in the Longview subdivision, Karen Remondet says this kind of flooding before hurricane season is very concerning.
“I’ve been a nervous wreck knowing hurricane season is coming and seeing this right now is not too enjoyable and likable right now to see this water knowing June 1 is around the corner,” Remondet said.
Miss Gloria says she’s not going to panic.
Instead, she’ll continue to watch the high water from her carport and enjoy the cool breeze.
“Every now and then I get a phone call, someone’s checking on me or something like that. I’m fine. I’m good.”
Depending on the wind speed and direction, St. James officials say the water could remain high here through the middle of next week.
Sandbags are available for residents at Paulina Park, Admiral’s Landing, Ricky Lane, the Gramercy water plant, the Lutcher water plant and South Vacherie training center.
St. James leaders at this point do not expect the water to get as high as it did during the 2016 flood.