August 7, 2019
By: Julia Arenstam/HoumaToday.com
Work continues to shore up levees around Pointe-aux-Chenes in case any new storms roll through Terrebonne and Lafourche this year.
The two parish governments and the three area levee districts, North Lafourche, South Lafourche and Terrebonne, have joined to strengthen levees around in the border area where most of the flooding was concentrated during Hurricane Barry last month.
Reach K of the Morganza levee in Pointe-aux-Chenes essentially breached during the storm, causing flooding to about 12 homes in the area, mostly on the Lafourche Parish side, Terrebonne Levee District Director Reggie Dupre said.
The levee was still under construction, consisting mainly of wet dredge material that wasn’t shaped and finalized, leading to the overtopping and breach.
The South Lafourche Levee District and the Terrebonne Levee and Conservation District are working together to build up a redundant drainage levee around the breached area.
The drainage levee provides secondary protection inside the Morganza system, South Lafourche Levee District Director Windell Curole said.
Dupre said the levee will protect about 5 to 6 feet of water from flooding the area if surges rise again.
“That will considerably mitigate the chances of repeating the flooding we saw,” Dupre said.
The South Lafourche district is also working to shape the levee on the southern portion of the levee and extend it north, Curole said.
The redundant levee will run from the floodgate at Bayou Pointe-aux-Chenes, along Grand Bayou north for six miles, he said.
Improvements are expected to be made within the next six months.
“We’re making improvements on our system because we don’t know when the next big storm is,” Curole said.
Lafourche and Terrebonne governments, along with the levee districts are moving forward with an interim plan to place HESCO baskets on the existing levees in lower Pointe-aux-Chenes to increase the height and protection.
Parts of the levee that stayed intact held back as much as 3 feet of water, Curole said
If the area sees another 8 to 9 foot storm surge, the new measures will likely alleviate the kind of flooding seen during Barry, but nothing is certain, Curole and Dupre said.
“Everything is about improving the situation,” Curole said. “When dealing with hurricanes, we can never solve it totally. We’re working hard to reduce the change of flooding from happening in a major way.”
Terrebonne Parish is also planning to expedite completion of the five-mile reach of the Morganza Levee between Montegut and Pointe-aux-Chenes.
The levee overtopped during the storm, requiring emergency crews to come in and shore up the area to prevent flooding.
Dupre said the district would meet Wednesday to expedite that project and bring the levee to the full 12-foot elevation as soon as possible.
The district has requested money from the state to help pay for it, Dupre said.
Lafourche Parish is also expecting the installation of the Grand Bayou Floodgate in about two years.
The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Agency announced earlier this year that it would contribute$18.5 million toward the project.
The floodgate will close the largest gap in the Morganza system and will protect parts of Terrebonne and north Lafourche.
Curole said the district will soon advertise for bids to begin the project.