Suit filed against Iberville, Ascension Parishes over floodgate opening


Owners of Alligator Bayou Swamp Tours filed suit Thursday in the 23rd Judicial District Court in Ascension Parish requesting Alligator Bayou be returned to a navigable waterway.

The means to returning the bayou to that state could be to close the floodgate between Alligator Bayou and Bayou Manchac. The floodgate was opened by Ascension Parish President Tommy Martinez at the request of Iberville Parish President J. Mitchell Ourso, Jr. in April upon request by landowners in Iberville whose property had been flooded with high waters coming from Spanish Lake.

According to Iberville Parish Environmentalist John Clark the opening of the floodgate has allowed Spanish Lake waters to recede and therefore helped to end the dying of trees and other vegetation around the lake and has aided in killing off invasive plant species that were endangering the ecosystem of the lake in recent years.

Also, St. Gabriel Mayor George Grace has told authorities flooding of parish property in the city’s surrounding area has diminished since the floodgate was opened.

The lawsuit says the parish presidents of Iberville and Ascension acted outside of their authority by allowing the floodgate to be opened after years of being closed. Owners of Alligator Bayou Tours have complained about business loss due to the low waters in the bayou that has kept their boat tours from being able to navigate.