Flood victims blame city for lack of concern; non-profit group working to clean waterways

Flood victims blame city for lack of concern; non-profit group working to clean waterways
Dawson Creek (Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Homeowners in the Hundred Oaks subdivision have attributed their recently flooded homes to heavy rainfall and poor maintenance of Dawson Creek. The residents say they are concerned with the section of the creek near the Acadian Thruway underpass, which is overgrown with vegetation and debris.

Dawson Creek
Dawson Creek (Source: WAFB)

“It’s no wonder why that we’re having backwater and flooding our entire street. This time, I had two and a half feet in the yard a foot and a half in the house,” said Ron Dupuis, a resident. Several residents in the neighborhood are now faced with repairing their homes. They also believe this could have been easily avoided if the canal was better maintained.

Residents want Dawson Creek cleaned out to prevent future flooding
(Source: WAFB)

“I just see a lot of work that I’m going to have to do. If the water doesn’t have anywhere to go, then it’s going to backflow and our neighborhood here is one of the places that it backflows, and that’s exactly what happened when I got flooded,” said Stanley Livingston, another resident.

Kelvin Hill, chief administrator officer for the Department of Public Works, sent the following statement:

“This is the type of work we would do with the Watershed Flood Risk Management Project. Once approved, we would have the capacity to address this in Dawson Creek. We have done some limited cutting / clearing but clearly not enough. The Dawson Creek / Wards Creek work would run us 20Million which is simply not in the City-Parish budget for 2019. This will have to wait for the Federal Funding to be finalized. Thanks.”

Ron Dupuis says he hopes it’s a change that will come sooner rather than later.

WAFB's Donovan Jackson and resident, Ron Dupuis
WAFB's Donovan Jackson and resident, Ron Dupuis (Source: WAFB)

“My initial reaction is I just want to get out and go somewhere else where I feel safe. I’m just about 80 years old, and it makes it a little tough, you know, to have to go through this trauma every so often,” said Dupuis.

However, one group is working to keep the creeks clean. Nathaniel Klumb with PaddleBR, a non-profit group that encourages people to explore waterways around the East Baton Rouge Parish, says much of their work over the years is focused on keeping the Dawson and Ward Creek clean.

“We’ve come across pretty much anything you can think of. When a tree falls in a bayou, we’re the ones around to deal with it. Those are areas that when you have obstructions in it, it’s going to slow down the flow, and when we have a six inches in one hour thing, that stuff can cause problems,” said Klumb.

Klumb says they don’t plan to sit around and wait for the job to get done.

“We’re paddlers. We like to get people out there and show them the great Louisiana waterways we have, so part of that is just making it so that they’re clean enough so that people don’t come out here and say oh why would I want to be out here again,” said Klumb.

Visit PaddleBR to learn about volunteer opportunities and upcoming cleaning dates.

Non-profit works to clean up waterway that has residents worried about flooding

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