Sandbags going out, barge traffic restricted as water inches up

DEIDRE CRUSE, Governmental Reporter
FLOODWATERS INCH UP...This area of Bayou Sorrel was one of the potential trouble spots as rainfall continued Monday and Tuesday, and water continued to drain from Pointe Coupee and West Baton Rouge parishes into the bottleneck in the southwestern portion of Iberville. The Coast Guard restricted barge traffic as of Monday morning, and the parish ramped up its sandbagging of the Sorrel and Pigeon areas.

With water rising in the Bayou Sorrel and Bayou Pigeon areas early this week, the U. S. Coast Guard restricted barge traffic, and the parish stepped up sandbagging operations, Emergency Preparedness Director Laurie Doiron reported Tuesday morning.

Nearly nine inches of rain had been recorded at the Office of Emergency Preparedness next door to the Courthouse as of Tuesday morning for the first half of December. Doiron said three inches registered on the rain gauge from midnight Sunday through midnight Monday, and another half inch was recorded from midnight Monday through 7 a.m. Tuesday.

The water level on the landside of the Sorrel/Pigeon area stood at 6.6 feet as of 7 a.m. Tuesday, the director said. She said when it hit 6.5 feet Monday morning, the Coast Guard restricted barge traffic to one-way at a time in either direction on the Intracoastal Waterway.

With water draining from points north into the bayou bottleneck area and rainfall continuing, water levels continued to rise, Doiron said. At 7.3 feet, the Coast Guard will close the Intracoastal to marine traffic.

Meanwhile, parish crews have been making sandbags and delivering them for residents in Sorrel and Pigeon. Sandbags are still available, Doiron said.

The parish delivered sandbags to East Iberville Friday, but there have been no reports of flooding from across the river, the director said.

As of Tuesday morning, she said, there was some street flooding in Sorrel. Water had inundated some places along Gracie Lane, Vaughn Road and Pigeon Road.

“We had parish inmates out sandbagging La. 75 [Monday],” the director said. “The water has not crossed 75 yet, but it's close.”