Proposed Ascension Parish levee stirs neighborhood controversy - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Proposed Ascension Parish levee stirs neighborhood controversy

(Source: WAFB) (Source: WAFB)
Map of new route for Laurel Ridge Levee Extension Project with original route in green. (Source: WAFB) Map of new route for Laurel Ridge Levee Extension Project with original route in green. (Source: WAFB)
Map of first proposed route for Laurel Ridge Levee Extension Project (Source: WAFB) Map of first proposed route for Laurel Ridge Levee Extension Project (Source: WAFB)
(Source: WAFB) (Source: WAFB)
(Source: WAFB) (Source: WAFB)
ST. AMANT, LA (WAFB) -

A new levee to be built in Ascension Parish is getting mixed reviews.

Some people living near Lake Martin do not want the levee, while others only want it if they're on what they call "the right side" of it.

John Dupuy, who lives on Lake Martin Road, wasn't driving through a river, but his pickup truck was submerged in a foot or two of water while driving on the road. The water is still high following last weekend's flooding. 

"There's been four feet of water in that shed right there," said Dupuy. 

This is minor for Dupuy and his neighbor Kevin Parker. 

"We're pretty much used to it back here," said Parker. 

However what they say scares them is minor flooding becoming major when a proposed $20 million levee is built. 

"If they go this way, the route they're proposing, we'll have double this amount of water on a minor flood," said Parker. 

The parish shared a plan in February to run the Laurel Ridge Levee Extension Project south of their homes in between Lake Martin and the Amite River. 

The neighbors say that plan would protect them from flooding. Then in August, things changed. 

The parish said an alternate route was introduced after concerns from the Army Corps of Engineers about protecting wetlands. 

The new route runs the levee north of Dupuy and Parker's properties, no longer running in between their homes and Lake Martin. 

"Which is going to put us on the bad side of the levee," said Parker. 

However, parish officials disagree. They said while both proposed routes have their pros and cons, overall the four-mile levee will protect hundreds of homes along Highway 431. 

"You help some and you actually injure others, somewhat. We try to do everything we can to lessen both," said Bill Roux, Director of Drainage for Ascension Parish. 

Other neighbors who oppose the project entirely said the levee would be built right up against their homes and destroy wetlands, contrary to what the parish says. 

The parish has applied for building permits for both levee routes.  

Pending the Corps' approval, construction should begin early next year. 

The levee is the final major project in the parish's master plan going back 30 years. 

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