ASCENSION PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Ascension Parish officials have urged home and business owners to consider investing in flood insurance this year. In turn, they said they are also working on a plan to help make premiums affordable.
Homeowners in neighborhoods not accustomed to dealing with flooding got an unwelcomed surprised last year.
In April 2015, residents on Silverleaf Drive in Gonzales woke up to full ditches in their front yards, high water from heavy rains flooding their yards and threatening their property.
Ascension Parish Chief Administrative Officer Ken Dawson said the storms took some emergency responders by surprise.
"We had a rain event we had never seen," Dawson said.
Because of that, parish leaders want everyone who owns property to take a hard look at investing in flood insurance.
They are encouraging everyone to reference the current FEMA flood maps before turning down coverage.
"The purpose of doing this is to provide public information about the need to either evaluate your flood insurance and to look at the area you are in to make sure you are covered correctly," Dawson said.
Dawson said parish government is doing its part too. They plan to implement a few upgrades to help lower the parish's flood insurance rating, which would ultimately mean cheaper premiums for residents.
Those projects include adding a seventh pump to the Marvin Braud pump station in Sorrento and building a new levee in Darrow, which would help alleviate flooding in the Astroland subdivision.
The parish has already invested in automatic sand bagging machines and has already prefilled and placed them in areas of the parish that are prone to flooding.
They are counting on the public to do its part.
"We would like our public to be prepared rather than having an event everyone is sorry about," Dawson said.
Anyone with questions about flood insurance coverage can stop by the Ascension Parish Government Complex during regular business hours to speak to Flood Plain Coordinator Marcia Shivers. The complex is is located on East Worthy Street across from East Ascension High School. .