Aug 25, 2011 10:03 AM by Lauren Wilson & AP
FRANKLIN, La. (AP) - St. Mary Parish officials want a permanent floodgate built at Bayou Chene.
A barge was placed there this spring to hold back high Atchafalaya River waters. The structure is credited with preventing flooding in parts of Terrebonne, Lafourche, Assumption and St. Mary parishes.
Officials are petitioning the corps to build a permanent structure. The Courier of Houma reports that officials also are asking the corps to allow them to keep portions of the temporary barge dam in place so if the Atchafalaya threatens again, they can be prepared to block the channel.
"They know what we did worked. It worked in 1973, and it worked this year. We're asking them to speed the process up," said St. Mary Parish President Paul Naquin.
In May, the St. Mary Levee District built the 500-foot barge barrier in Bayou Chene, hoping to stop waters from backing up into the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and Bayou Black. The temporary barrier, officials said, held back 2-3 feet of water at the peak of the flood.
Randy Dardar, a resident of the Deadwood community in northwestern Terrebonne, said he thinks the barge in Bayou Chene saved his community from flooding this spring. He supports building a permanent floodgate there.
St. Mary Parish Levee Board President Bill Hidalgo said the St. Mary Levee District hopes to build a new, permanent structure modeled after the Houma Navigation Canal barge floodgate being built in Terrebonne Parish.