Pastor blames ongoing road work in Ascension Parish for flooding his church

Pastor blames ongoing road work for flooding his church

PRAIRIEVILLE, La. (WAFB) - An Ascension Parish pastor is frustrated almost a week after heavy rain flooded his church. Like many, last Thursday’s flash flood was torture for John Carrigan.

“We got squeezed and flooded every ground floor room within our church,” he said.

(Source: Byron Thomas)

The 38-year pastor of Oak Grove Baptist Church in Prairieville says it is not just the heavy rain that’s responsible for flooding the building.

He blames ongoing road work to widen highways 73 and 42 in Ascension Parish for pushing the water onto his property and soaking the sanctuary.

“We’ve lost our carpet in the sanctuary,” Carrigan said. “We’ve lost walls in almost every ground floor room and the insurance adjuster is talking about whether we have to replace all of our flooring.”

Videos and pictures from last week show just how much water backed up into the church that’s been here for more than a century.

The pastor tells WAFB’s Scottie Hunter that the drains are clogged up and that a concrete barrier may have helped trap some of the rain, leaving it with nowhere to go.

“They’ve essentially built a dam around our property with this curb,” said Carrigan. “The curb is 12 inches above the property.”

The drains are covered with concrete and loose boards and those are the ones Carrigan says work. The drains in the back of the property he says are not even usable right now.

The pastor says they did not flood back in 2016 but they did last Thursday. He says it was also the first time they got water in the graveyard behind the church.

(Source: Byron Thomas)

The work falls under DOTD and is contracted through Barber Brothers. Carrigan says he brought it to their attention but so far, has gotten the runaround.

He says one person with the company tells him the drains are working properly while others say something different.

“It’s just very frustrating to not get what I feel like is the truth and part of it is like the right hand doesn’t seem to know what the left hand is doing,” said Carrigan.

WAFB reached out to Barber Brothers to get a straight answer on the nearly two-year-old project.

So far, no one from DOTD or Barber Brothers have responded but the pastor says he does have a meeting set with the contractor and DOTD next week.

He is just praying that something can be done before intense flooding returns.

Copyright 2019 WAFB. All rights reserved.