With the threat of Invest 99 moving into the Gulf, Plaquemines Parish Emergency Management Officials are on high alert.

Even more so now given a levee breach on the bayou side of Highway 23 between Alliance and Ironton.

So far authorities say it's not a danger. Rachel Wulff went to the scene and saw how big it was and what is being done to fix the problem.

Low lying areas along Louisiana Highway 23 in Plaquemines parish are at risk for flooding during hurricane season. Earthen levees on either side protect homeowners and industry there, but Friday night a breach along the bayou side levee near the Phillips 66 Refinery raised the alarm for parish leaders.

“It is a grave concern of ours, and we are monitoring it every day with the resources that we have,” says Council Chair Kirk Lepine.

Within six hours the breach had reached 20 feet wide, prompting swift response.

Plaquemines Parish crews immediately reacted. Generators were on site providing light and started to work getting 2000 pound sandbags into the breach.

By midday several truckloads of sandbags were brought into to fill that levee breach. The problem was getting the sandbags to where they needed to go.

“From the jump off point where we had set up last night it took thirty minutes to get a couple sandbags to fill up the gaping hole.”

Emergency management says the breach does not pose a flooding threat to homes or Highway 23 right now.
The water is coming in from the Barataria Bay side and moving back into the drainage canal, and then moving back to Barataria Bay.

But a hurricane could change that.

He wonders if aging infrastructure can weather the storm, amidst changes in the administration.

“Before it was inspected every week. And if there were deficiencies in the levee we were notified. We tried to stay on top of it as much as we can,” says Lepine.

Lepine says he hopes that they are inspected every week, but he was not sure.

Lepine says with budget cutbacks, levee monitoring is now split between departments. It's something that needs to be addressed.

He is running for Parish President, a seat left vacant when Amos Cormier suddenly passed this summer.