GONZALES – A regular East Ascension Drainage Board meeting on Monday was crowded and provided a forum for residents, weary of the floods, to share their concerns again with board members.
“For the past three weeks, I have walked into my house wearing knee or hip boots, with the exception of last weekend,” a resident told council. I never realized how luxurious it was to wear tennis shoes to get from my van to my back door. So never take this for granted.
“You have no idea how much mental stress flooding puts on a 70-year-old,” said another resident.
Many residents who choose to speak on Monday live in the Bluff Swamp area. Weeks after the floods, many like Blaine Petite, are still experiencing flooding. Along with some of his neighbors, he is leading an effort to change that.
“They’re telling us, ‘Hey, you live in a bowl,’” Petite told the board on Monday. “Well, New Orleans too. Destrehan too. They got it. [There are] manners. [There are] option.
Little one considers herself lucky. Her house was not flooded, but the water transformed her garden–which is normally 30 acres of prairie–in the swamps.
Some of the solutions that Petite and others have suggested to those tasked with dealing with flooding issues include standing pumps for Bluff Swamp and Spanish Lake.
“There are thousands of acres of detention at Spanish Lake [and] Bluff Swamp, no way to drain it, ”said one resident. I think we need to develop a way to drain Spanish Lake. [and] Bluff Swamp in [Bayou] Manchac before the event that occurred. If we had started pumping when I had six inches of water at the back of my property, 13 inches of rain would not have flooded my house. “
They also recommend re-evaluating construction requirements and permanently using New River as a drainage route.
Petite wants to find a solution that doesn’t negatively impact others, he says. Parish President Clint Cointment shared a similar sentiment as residents spoke.
“I would never do it, and I will say it loud and clear, I will never push water on someone else in order to save someone else and flood them,” Cointment said. “Never. I will never do that.”
Petite and others have asked council to come up with a resolution at the next drainage meeting to determine if these recommendations, or other measures, are feasible to mitigate flooding and the water residents must contend with during weeks.
“All residents of Ascension Parish” should “be able to use the roads, walkways and houses after rain events,” said one resident. “But this is currently not the case because the water is not draining.”