GONZALES, LA (WAFB) - Residents of Gonzales and beyond have power, thanks to a quick-thinking team of Ascension Parish workers.
When the Entergy power station was at risk of flooding Tuesday, they came up with a unique plan to save it.
The Entergy substation between Airline Highway and Roddy Road delivers electricity to some 9,500 people in Ascension Parish. Gonzales Mayor Barney Arceneaux said as floodwaters moved in, Entergy warned the substation could be compromised.
"The other night we had a situation that could have gotten really bad for us," Arceneaux said.
He and Ascension Parish leaders scrambled to find a solution. Parish drainage and public works employees were called to action. Ron Savoy led the cause.
"When we were called, they were within three to four inches of getting to the transformers, and it was rising one quarter of an inch an hour," Savoy said.
Savoy said he and a team of workers identify the low points and came up with a plan to pump the water to a higher spot.
"They were hungry, tired, thirsty, and I called on them and they came, and those guys got you power," Savoy said.
That involved digging a trench and building a four-foot levee in the middle of the street to keep the water from getting to the transformers. They had to make sure not to cut cable and telephone lines as they worked quickly to isolate the substation.
"We arrived and discussed at 7 p.m. By midnight, we had this thing stable and no more water rising," Savoy said.
Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa said, had it not been the team of parish workers, residents from Gonzales to Sorrento would have been tasked with trying to rebuild under even more challenging circumstances.
"We can't thank the men enough. You're talking about men that have been working 18 hours a day for days," Matassa said.
Savoy could not be prouder of his team.
"This is what gets families back on their feet. You have to stick together as a team in prayer and faith and I saw it," Savoy said.
Gonzales City Hall was flooded and is under repair. In the meantime, there is a temporary building just behind it where residents can pay bills and apply for permits.