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Residents anxiously monitor drainage projects as hurricane season begins

Posted at 10:50 PM, Jun 18, 2021

Shortly after last month's severe weather caused widespread flooding, the Lafayette City Council approved an ordinance moving more than $20 million into the Public Works Department.

With hurricane season now here, we're checking in on the progress of drainage projects in the city.

The council's emergency declaration identified certain hot spots for flooding. It also expedites the usual progress for the maintenance and drainage projects. Public Works crews are working to clear out coulees in those hot spots. Those who live nearby say that work needs to get done fast.

Not far from Coulee Mine, one of those hot spots, video shows Bacque Crescent Drive flooding during last month's weather. Longtime residents say it's a relatively new problem.

"We've been in this house for 31 years. We never entertained the idea of flooding and now it's a daily thought process and a daily frustration," said Dr. Frank Bacque.

Kevin Fitch added, "It's a fear whenever it rains, like very hard, 'Is my house going to flood again?' That's just not normal.

Neighbors Fitch and Bacque each had five inches of water in their homes. They've yet to see work get underway to help clear Coulee Mine.

"I would hope that the consolidated government becomes more responsive to all of our requests and we can find a mutually agreeable way to manage the micro problem," Bacque added.

We asked LCG Director of Drainage Brian Smith specifically about the project at Coulee Mine. He says crews are working to make progress.

"We did hit the downtown area, Jefferson Street. That was one of our first items of business; as you know, they had a lot of businesses that took water," Smith explained. "So we tried to get those to make sure those areas are clean and ready to take on whatever other rains we may get."

Back on Bacque Crescent, with hurricane season here, residents are anxiously watching.

Added Fitch, "You try to fix stuff up, move back in, and then you may not even be finished yet and it happens again."

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