NEW ROADS, LA (WAFB) - It's a busy day at the oldest restaurant on False River. Today's special is popular with the lunch crowd.
Major Morel, the manager of Morel's restaurant, says it's the location that's made this place a town favorite. You may pay for the meal, but the view is free. But over the years, the lake isn't what it used to be.
"Years ago, you used to be able to see 150 boats sitting in flats fishing,” Morel says. “ Now you don't see any. Bull brim aren't there. The chinkapen isn't there. Bass fishing is on the down side. You don't see that much anymore."
That's something Representative Major Thibaut knows as well.
"False River has had problem for many years with infiltration of silt into the river bed,” Thibaut says.
Thibaut says for years, the state, locals and the Corp of Engineers tried to figure out how to stop the river from declining. Now state officials have figured out a way.
"We're lowering the lake level to a stage where the lake level is about 13.8."
It will take about three weeks to drain the three feet of water.
Thibaut says that will expose about 80 acres of the flats on the south side, where much of the silt has deposited. A contractor will then come in and create a berm “which will basically give us a place to pump sediment that's in the lake. Then it'll end up being an island."
He says that should help to create a habitat to enhance fisheries.
Morel says anything that draws more visitors and potential customers would be the real sight to see.
"Things will get back to the way it used to be,” Morel says.
The project is expected to take just over 200 days. Some areas of the lake will be too shallow for use so boat owners have been cautioned to move their boats. The second phase of the project, which would start next year, will repeat the process - minus the island, on the north side.