Experimental levee breach made at Alligator Bayou

Experimental levee breach made at Alligator Bayou

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Authorities in Ascension and Iberville parishes took a big step on Tuesday in providing flood relief to people who live near Alligator Bayou.

Drainage crews made a one-foot deep, 40-foot wide experimental breach into the levee around noon Tuesday to start moving water away from homes. Meanwhile, residents are still fighting to save their properties.

Mike Giesler is one of them. He gets to and from his home on Bluff Road by boat. He didn't plan it that way, but these days it is the only way he can get to his front door.

"I think I went three feet above parish recommendations and I'm sure glad I did," Giesler said.

Giesler considers himself one of the lucky ones. The water has risen at least six feet in his yard and it is just inches from his garage.

"It's a little nerve wracking having it get that close to your house," Giesler said.

Giesler hopped out of his small vessel to water his plants and check on his pet rabbit who has been keeping watch.

"It's a shame all this water around and my hibiscus over there needs to be watered because it's drying up," Giesler said.

Giesler finds it hard to believe considering two other homes he owns on Bluff Road have been full of swamp water for a more than a week. The water is not rising, but it isn't draining either. A quick look around reveals many homeowners are in the same bind.

Local business owner David Mougeot is trying to make things a little better by preparing a home-cooked meal each day.

"We are giving anywhere from 50 to 100 plates away here, 100 a day right now," Mougeot said.

There are that many people waiting for the water to change course. An experimental manmade breach in the levee on Tuesday appears to have done the trick.

Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa said while it is draining, it is a slow process.

"If you got four foot of water we've got to drain that basin to drop your level, I can't give you a time limit but we are doing everything humanly possible," Matassa said.

Three pumps are working overtime to keep any potential rain water from making matters worse.

"The pumps move around 130,000 gallons of water per minute with the cut allowing slightly more water than that to pass," officials said in a release. "As Bayou Manchac continues to recede, the cut may be deepened dependent on water levels and circumstances."

Drainage officials said the water should drain four feet in Alligator Bayou, but it could be another week or two before residents can get in and out of their homes.

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