SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA—People across Southeast Louisiana are still trying to dry out from this weekend’s rain. Local leaders from Jefferson Parish and Lafitte are planning a trip to Washington D.C. to voice their frustrations. They want better protection from future storms.
When Tropical Storm Lee rolled into Southeast Louisiana, the southern most parishes took a beating, especially Plaquemines Parish. Privately owned levees breached, causing water to flood and close Highway 23.
Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser says the Army Corps of Engineers was supposed to help the parish improve these levees after Hurricane Katrina but those actions have stalled.
“Why does it take six years to build a levee that’s funded? That’s unthinkable. And the federal government needs to give us the money and get out of the way and build our levees,” Nungesser said.
“The project that we’ve been looking at, the non-federal levees in the ‘New Orleans to Venice Project’ is something that has had delays both on the federal side as well as the federal side but we're at the point right nowhere we’re going to have those documents approved by the end of the month and we look forward to going to construction early next year,” said Col. Ed Fleming with the Army Corps of Engineers in New Orleans.
Meanwhile, lower Jefferson Parish took in a lot of water too in Lafitte, Crown Point, and Barataria. At one point they were being considered as part of a corps project called ‘Donaldsonville to the Gulf’.
“Right now it doesn't seem to be a probability. The secondary approach which I’m talking to Mayor Kerner about, you know Crown Point and Barataria is also involved in this is putting up ring levees, because they are outside the levee protection. I want to stress that,” said Jefferson Parish President John Young.
“The Donaldsonville to the Gulf Project is one that we’ve been studying for awhile. We are looking at all 5 options, and I’ll be able to make a decision probably in the next 30 days on that project,” Col. Fleming said.
U.S. Senator David Vitter wrote a letter to President Obama criticizing the corps' 100-year protection, saying it is incomplete. President Obama is scheduled to declared the system as "mission accomplished" this Friday.