Jul 25, 2011 6:42 PM by Melissa Hawkes
What was supposed to be a temporary fix to hold back fold waters in St. Martin and St. Mary Parish may become permanent. Parish officials want the Bayou Chene barge to stay put.
St. Martin Parish President, Guy Cormier, said, "I would venture to say 75 to 80 percent of the homes would have received some type of flood damage. This one project prevented all that."
The Bayou Chene project was a temporary dam built in June. The dam is made of steel sheet piling, rocks and a 20-thousand ton barge.
Cormier said, "we know that we would have had an additional four feet of water in our communities-Belle River, Stephensville, and Four Mile Bayou."'
This was the second time a barge in the Bayou Chene helped keep flood waters away. The first was in 1973. Its proven success is why parish officials are hoping to keep some of it's infrastructure in place.
"We aren't saying we want the whole barge to stay in place, " he explained. "We know they have to start letting boat traffic back through. We are hoping to keep some of the wing walls in place and the rock that they dropped in place."
Council Member, Carroll Delahoussaye, said "we are fighting to keep as much as the infrastructure there as possible."
Delahoussaye said flooding is a constant threat in areas like Stephensville and Belle River.
He said it would help "when flooding arises-which is pretty often. We can just put the barge in place and pretty much avoid flooding in this area."
The proposal has been presented before all the council members. It goes up for a formal vote on August 2, but it could still be months before the Army Corp of Engineers either denies or approves the request.