Maurepas residents calling on Corps to solve debris dilemma

LIVINGSTON PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Homeowners in Maurepas want the U.S. Corps of Engineers to find a solution to a big flooding problem in southern Livingston Parish. They peppered Parish President Layton Ricks with questions at a meeting on Wednesday night.

Images of a flooded Maurepas and stories of survival from Hurricane Isaac are still etched in their minds.

"There were a few people who owned boats on that island that came out and got people water and gas and whatever they needed to survive when we were out of power," one resident recalled.

The channel is shallow now and filled with debris. Silt is building along the banks. Boaters have to use paddles and chainsaws to get their vessels through the vegetation and debris.

"You couldn't pass down Old River. We got out there and cut those limbs off and pulled them out with boats," Ricky Flennigan said.

People who live along the Petit Amite said it comes from pumps in Ascension Parish that push water into the Amite River. When the water recedes, they are left with piles of debris. Ascension Parish plans to add new pumps at its Sorrento site which has some concerned things could get worse for Maurepas.

"Where's the regional planning where a neighboring parish just gets to gets to just shuffle its water on us? Where's the regulations about that," Annrose Guarino asked.

"We need somebody, Corps of Engineers, or somebody to come down here and help us out. They're helping everybody else, why are they flooding us," Stanley Balfantz asked.

Parish President Ricks said his residents' concerns are legitimate.

"We've got levee issues that prevent the water from draining out of Lake Maurepas. They're pumping out of East Ascension and I understand that they want to get rid of the water, we're in somewhat of a bowl-type situation here," Ricks said.

Ricks said the funding for clearing the debris has been approved but there's no word on when work will begin.

He said, in the meantime, he is working with state and federal leaders to come up with a permanent solution.

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