St. Martin

May 6, 2011 11:14 PM by Maddie Garrett

Self-Evacuation Issued in St. Martin Parish

The community of Butte La Rose along the Atchafalaya River is one of the areas most at risk for flooding. As of Friday, the St. Martin Sheriff's Office is warning residents they may need to leave soon.

St. Martin Parish Sheriff's Deputies went door to door Friday in Butte La Rose delivering flyers asking residents to self-evacuate due to impending high water levels. While it's not a mandatory evacuation, many residents in the area are making plans and packing their things.

"Everywhere you look there's something else that has to go, you know, and so we're just going to do what we can," said Katy Freshley, a Butte La Rose resident.

Freshley and her husband said they plan evacuate their secluded home near the Atchafalaya levee by the end of next week. With the water levels expected to rise at least 25 feet in Butte La Rose - topping the levee - their property will most likely be underwater.

"The furniture we're concerned about, we don't have a place to put that so we're going to do the best we can," said Freshley.

Right now the evacuation in St Martin Parish is simply voluntary.

"Again it's not to cause panic, it's not to cause people to be in a panic state. We just really want them to have enough time to take care of their things," said Maj. Ginny Higgins with the St. Martin Sheriff's Office.

Jim Delahoussaye lives right on the river bank, but he doesn't feel the hurry of evacuating quite yet.

"It's conceivable that we might leave. We can't make plans until we get that number of the projected high water level," said Delahoussaye.

Right now it's a matter of being safe rather than sorry when it comes to evacuating, but Higgins said that could change.

"At this point it's not mandatory, could it become down the road? We don't know again that's speculation. If it does, you know, then certainly it would be for their best interest and for their safety," said Higgins.

An informational meeting on the flooding is scheduled next Tuesday night, May 10th, at 6:30 p.m. at the Butte La Rose Fire Department. Officials hope to have more information on projected water levels and evacuations.

The St. Martin Parish Sheriff's Office is urging residents who choose to evacuate to do the following:

-Leave early
-Move all valuable possessions to higher ground
-Shut off water, gas and electricity at the main source
-Make provisions for animals and pets
-Bring all important documents with you
-Bring all insurance policies and take photographs of any property left behind
-Take current photos of structure(s) on your property both inside and out

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