Parish Council receives update on Ochsner medical complex

PETER SILAS PASQUA ppasqua@postsouth.com

PLAQUEMINE - The Iberville Parish Council was told that a new $20 million medical complex being built along La. 1 in partnership with Ochsner’s should be open for business by Dec. 1 according to plans at its regularly scheduled May meeting.

The 40,000 square-foot building being constructed on a 27-acre site is 60 percent complete and will feature free-standing 24/7 emergency department with 20 patient exam/procedure rooms.

“I really would like to have a strong effort in hiring local people,” councilman Salaris Butler said. “Just posting jobs on a website is not enough. This is one of the largest investments in Iberville taxpayers dollars ever. I want to make sure they are at least at the table.”

The parish is using $22 million in its share of hurricane recovery funds the Louisiana Office of Community Development to build the facility.

In other news, Parish President Mitchell J. Ourso Jr. reported that the La. 77 swing bridge over Bayou Grosse Tete has been repaired following a barge collision several months ago.

Ourso said approximately 18,000 people used a pedestrian ferry and the parish accured approximately $150,000 constructing ramps.

In another matter, Ourso said a $2.3 million project on the east bank depends on the expropriation of property from Alligator Bayou.

“We have done everything professional and have come to no appeal,” Ourso said. “The land is for sale to everyone except the parish.”

Ourso also said a new $600,000 utility department in St. Gabriel is expected to be finished within 200 days.

A Mississippi River Bridge feasibility study was also discussed and Ourso seeks a footprint by the next term.

“We are deserving of a bridge,” Ourso said. “We shouldn’t be the only parish left with a ferry. We need to leave the groundwork.”

Finally, Ourso said an 18-mile, 12-inch water main is required to provide water to the people of Plaquemine, which is estimated to cost $7 million.

“I hate to put this parish in more debt but if something happens to those wells, we don’t have another water option for those people,” Ourso said. “We have to put water in that tank at Point Pleasant.”

Lastly, a public hearing was set for June 17 on purchase of 3.09 acres of land owned by the Diocese of Baton Rouge adjacent to the Bayou Sorrel Catholic Church for $57,000. The land is already being used as a baseball field, outdoor pavilion, walking trails.