Parish presidents seek funding for regional flood control work

Staff Report

Iberville Parish President J. Mitchell Ourso and the leaders of West Baton Rouge and Pointe Coupee parishes have joined forces on efforts to ease flooding along waterways throughout the region.

Iberville Parish officials have joined with officials in West Baton Rouge and Pointe Coupee parishes to address flooding issues in the Bayour Sorrell/Pigeon area.

Ourso, along with parish presidents Riley “Pee Wee” Berthelot of West Baton Rouge and Major Thibaut of Pointe Coupee, met with Congressman Garret Graves to discuss possible solutions to the type of severe flooding residents in Bayou Sorrel/Pigeon area encountered in May.

The three parish leaders have decided to pursue different projects that would improve the flow of water from Pointe Coupee to Iberville and provide greater protection to residents in flood havens along the bayou area.

The three parish presidents will apply jointly for two projects.

Iberville Parish President J. Mitchell Ourso

“There has to be unity in this,” Ourso said. We were just unfortunate on this in June when Iberville got hit on both sides, both in east Iberville and the bayou area.”

The two projects would cost around $65 million.

The first will include a cleanup along Bayou Grosse Tete and Bayou Maringouin, as well as a reset of weirs to regulate the flow of water upstream and create a conveyance channel.

A conveyance channel would pump water into the Atchafalaya as one of the projects, Thibaut said.

The other projects will allow for a pump station at Bayou Sorrel, which would create more capacity for water to drain from Pointe Coupee southward to Iberville.

“The entire basin is, from top to the bottom – from Pointe Coupee like False River, Morganza – it comes all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico … it’s gravity-fed,” John Clark, Environmental Manger for Iberville Parish, said in a television interview last week.

Thibaut agrees with Ourso’s approach.

“If we’re going to ever to anything significant, we’re going to have to come together as a region and apply jointly for the two projects,” he said.