Signs of life return to South PlaqSep 4th, 2012 | By Jessica Gonzalez | Category: news
Residents who rode out the storm in their South Plaquemines homes remained trapped by flooding on Hwy. 23 and were finally able to leave on September 1.
As of press time, there were still flood waters from Ironton to West Pointe-a-la-Hache, making that crucial stretch of Hwy. 23 impassable. Parish President Billy Nungesser authorized police-led convoys twice a day on the crown of the Mississippi River levee so that residents could gain temporary access to their homes. Nungesser said that as soon as the water recedes and it is safe to pass through, residents in those areas will be allowed to return to their homes permanently.
“Every effort is being made to make the south end of the parish available to business owners and residents,” said Parish President Billy Nungesser.
On August 29, levees on the East and Westbank were intentionally cut to drain some of the standing water out, but the process is going much slower than originally anticipated.
“We cut the levees in 10 spots on each side (of the river),” explained Nungesser at an August 29 press conference. “It may take as long as a week to get the water out.”
After two days of uncertainty, water and MRE’s were made available at the Port Sulphur Fire Station at 114 Civic Dr., the Boothville-Venice Fire Station at 42661 Hwy. 23, and Idlewild at 11504 Hwy. 23 in Belle Chasse south of Captain Larry’s on Saturday, September 1. Cypress Cove Marina in Venice also opened up for sale of fuel and diesel.
Since many of the residents at the south end of the parish were cut of from leaving at West Pointe-a-la-Hache on Tuesday August 28, many were clamoring for more ice, fuel and food by Friday, Sheriff Lonnie Greco said.
PPG issued a boil water advisory for the Eastbank and South Plaquemines early last week, so drinking water is scarce in that area.The Sheriff’s Office has been working
with the National Guard on MRE and water distribution, but couldn’t get past Ironton until Saturday due to flood waters on Hwy. 23.
“I had the truck loaded with MRE’s and water, and then they [National Guard] called me and said we couldn’t go down there yet because of a safety issue,” said Greco frustratedly. “Yesterday I saw babies down in the Venice and Buras area. We got infants down there— it’s crazy.”
“There are 1000 to 1500 people still down there,” Greco explained. “South of West Pointe-a-la-Hache just got rainwater and wind— if a tree didn’t fall on it or wind didn’t knock it down, those who left still have a home to go back to.”
Greco said that the demand for more supplies at the south end was huge since many stayed to protect their homes and property from looters. Three looters were arrested in Buras on August 30 and sent straight to Angola State Prison.
The parish reports that fire stations in South Plaquemines have EMS and emergency personnel on stand-by for emergency situations. Those locations include the Port Sulphur Fire Station, Buras Fire Station, the Boothville-Venice Fire Station, and the
Pointe-la-Hache Fire Station on the Eastbank. Parish officials say that residents with a working phone who need medical help should call 911.
On August 30, residents north of Alliance Refinery were allowed to return home. The parish warned that there are currently no utilities in the area, so residents returning must be prepared to live without running water or electricity.
Sheriff Greco stresses that residents who did return must adhere to the dusk to dawn curfew the parish instilled last week.
“To our citizens: heed to the curfews, its a safety issue— no car, 4-wheeler, or walking on the side of the road,” Greco said. “Just stay inside.