White Castle drainage project funded in La. Watershed Initiative

Staff Report

The White Castle Drainage Improvement Project was one of two Region 6 projects the state approved for funding as part of the Louisiana Watershed Initiative.

The $2.5 million project to dredge the canal is part of the $34 million in federal funding for 13 flood risk reduction projects recommended by regions throughout the state as part of the Local and Regional Projects Program-Round 1.

Iberville Parish President J. Mitchell Ourso

The project was one of three Iberville Parish President J. Mitchell Ourso submitted for funding.

He had also made project requests to raise La. 75 in Bayou Sorrel, where an AquaDam broke in May during a flood triggered by nearly an entire week of heavy rainfall.

Ourso requested fund for the Manchac Road area in St. Gabriel.

“And all of a sudden, the White Castle Canal got ranked and went from third to number one,” Ourso said. “I want to thank Gov. Edwards and our state Representative Chad Brown for getting it through.”

Ourso said he will continue his efforts to secure funds for the other two projects.

The revenue will be funneled to the parish through the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), but the parish must procure the engineer and advertise the work fir bidding.

“We’re fortunate that one of three made it,” Ourso said. “But I’m not giving up on the raising of Hwy. 75 at Bayou Sorrel or the raising of Manchac.”

A $2.1 million allocation for the Bayou Lafourche Pump in Ascension was the other Region 6 work approved in the first round.

Region 6 consists of Iberville, Pointe Coupee, West Baton Rouge, Iberia, Assumption, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Martin, St. Mary, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Charles, Jefferson, Plaquemines and Orleans parishes.

The Round 1 funding announcement follows $61.6 million awarded in May to 16 projects, as well as about $213 million awarded earlier this year for 20 state projects and programs, including seven buyout initiatives. All awarded projects align with the long-term resilience objectives of the Louisiana Watershed Initiative and the state’s $1.2 billion CDBG-MIT Action Plan.

The local and regional Round 1 projects and grantees awarded today are as follows:

Region 1

  • $2.27 million for Foxskin Bayou Drainage Improvements, Haughton
  • $3.43 million for East Natchitoches Drainage Improvements, Natchitoches Parish

Region 2

  1. $3.41 million for Drainage Crossing Replacements, Ball
  2. $2.59 million for Bayou Lacombe Channel Improvements, Mansura (shared with Region 5)

Region 3

  • $2.68 million for Youngs Bayou Detention Pond, Monroe
  • $2.68 million for portable pumps parishwide, Ouachita Parish
  • $500,000 for Georgia Street Pump Station, Monroe

Region 4

  • $630,900 for Ball Park Lift Station Replacement, Leesville

Region 5

  • $3.1 million for Bayou Lacombe Channel Improvements, Mansura (shared with Region 2)
  • $1 million for Cypress Bayou and Coulee LaSalle Drainage Improvements, St. Martin Parish
  • $550,000 for Abbeville Area Vermilion River Bridge Debris Barrier System, Vermilion Parish

Region 6

  • $2.1 million for Bayou Lafourche Pump Project, Ascension Parish
  • $2.56 million for White Castle Canal Drainage Improvement Project, Iberville Parish

Region 7

  • $6 million for Jones Creek Detention Project, East Baton Rouge Parish

Immediately after the Round 1 announcement, the state launched Round 2, which includes a $100 million Design Support Pilot to address technical issues with Round 1 applications and support building local and regional project development capacity.

In addition, the state’s eight watershed regions submitted final recommendations to the council today on frameworks for regional floodplain management to guide the creation of long-term, regional watershed coalitions. The recommendations request statewide legislation to create these regional watershed entities.