Oct 7, 2010 5:20 PM by Veronica White
A crucial levy in Vermilion Parish is finally finished, after years in the making.
Hurricanes Rita and Ike destroyed a levy in Intracoastal city that blocked saltwater from ruining a staple in the Parish-- rice crops.
"It was allowing saltwater into the Mermentau River basin, one of the largest freshwater basins in the country; the saltwater was all over the marshes up to Gueydan," says Police Jury President Wayne Touchet.
The 5-mile long barrier in the North Prong Bayou is funded by a federal agency, Minerals Management Service.
The levy keeps the saltwater side from getting to the freshwater side.
"I was able to save my cattle but the rice was totally destroyed. We lost 950 acres of rice that was ready for harvest when Rita hit and that's a lot of money," says farmer Charles Broussard.
Key players in this 1.6 million-dollar project say they have pushed for a new levy for almost 20 years-- long before Hurricane Rita.
"I saw how important it was to rebuild the levy that was built in 1929. (There were)17 breaches in the levy. I told Charles Boustany, then the Police Jury," says Broussard.
"The whole economy of Vermilion Parish is based on agriculture-- without it all the communities wouldn't thrive," says Touchet.
This levy blocks waters that flow to the southwest and western parts of Vermilion Parish.