Authorities warn of potential hazards in closed waterways

Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

LIVINGSTON PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Boats in Livingston, Ascension, and parts of St. James Parishes will stay docked, at least through the weekend. Authorities in those parishes have closed waterways because they are at levels that could be hazardous for boaters and property owners.

There is always something to see on the Diversion Canal. The breathtaking views are the reason so many people call it home, but when the water gets high, Michael, who lives on the banks, says things can get interesting.

"We saw a golf cart go by this morning, a couple propane tanks, some big trees with turtles on them taking a ride down the canal. We've got a ten-foot alligator back there that's been swimming out every morning since the water came up," said Michael.

When that happens, authorities typically close the river to boat traffic, but that doesn't stop everyone from venturing into the water. "They want to sight see, see how high water is," said Michael.

The walkway along the dock at the Canal Bank Club in Livingston Parish has been covered by water for two days. Because they can't open their doors to boat traffic this weekend, they are closing.

"People cannot see. It can cause damage to their boats. If the impact were hard enough, it could throw people out of the boat into the waterway," said Jonice Rutland, who owns the Canal Bank Club. She says when people cruise the river when it's high, it really takes a toll on everyone who lives there.

"When they are dashing through on their boats causing wake, it splashes onto the property, causes damage to people's property, damages shrubbery, putting debris into people's yards," said Rutland.

Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office Sgt. Gene Higginbotham says it's just not safe. Deputies and Wildlife and Fisheries agents will be keeping a close watch. Those who break the law will be stopped.

"It's a parish ordinance made under a declaration, so they can be issued a misdemeanor summons if they are caught on the waterway," said Sgt. Higginbotham.

Authorities estimate the waterways will reopened in a few days.

Copyright 2017 WAFB. All rights reserved.