By: Dan Boudreaux, DailyComet.com
Local leaders welcomed the newly appointed commander of the Mississippi Valley Division and the New Orleans district commander for the Army Corps of Engineers in a showing of friendship and of the work the region has put into flood protection.
Terrebonne Parish President Gordon Dove, Lafourche Parish President Jimmy Cantrelle, state Rep. Jerome Zeringue and representatives of the region’s three levee districts and the Morganza Action Committee met with Maj. Gen. Richard Kaiser and Colonel Michael Clancy Monday night at Copeland’s in Houma. The dinner kicked off two days of events to not only showcase the work the parishes have done on local flood-control projects but also to help build a relationship with the people who grant the permits for key projects.
“We’ve always just gone to New Orleans for our problems and then when we don’t like it go to our legislative delegation to complain, but we’ve been completely cutting out the middle of the corps’ chain of command,” said Terrebonne Levee District Director Reggie Dupre. “I think this is a good start to a better relationship with the corps. We have the largest non-federal flood protection system in the country, I think, and the general wanted to see the Bubba Dove and Morganza to the Gulf.”
This is Kaiser’s second trip to Louisiana since taking command on Sept. 7. Kaiser and Clancy are scheduled to go on a variety of trips by boat and helicopter today to see the two parishes’ gates, lock system, major pumping stations and the Morganza to the Gulf system.
“As the new commanding general, I’m happy to be here. As a member of the Mississippi River Commission and now its president, I’ve been aware of the challenges down here, but I’m glad I’m now able to get to see those challenges up close and how they affect the people of Louisiana,” Kaiser said.
The event also allowed Dove to show the design for the new pump station the corps just approved in west Terrebonne on the Hanson Canal.
Dove also personally thanked the corps for approving the permit in only six months since this summer’s flooding event and said a better relationship with all levels of the corps was needed for the region to be able to fight back the rising waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
“It’s such a great event for us to have Gen. Kaiser and Col. Clancy with us. The buck and the permit stops with them… Showing them all the work we’ve done is huge for us,” Dove said.