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Homeowners near Siegen and Ward Creek blame unbridled development behind homes for catastrophic flooding

Updated: May. 18, 2021 at 4:56 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Husband and wife, Chuck Hendricks and Robin Hote, had to evacuate their home early Tuesday morning after floodwaters rushed inside.

The couple found refuge on a boat piloted by St. George firefighters performing search and rescue in their Morning Glenn neighborhood.

“I’ve never seen water come up that fast and I’ve been in this house since April of ’89,” said Hote.

In 2016, they had eight inches inside their house. Tuesday morning, they had at least two feet.

Down the road, Sean Deen spent the day pulling ruined furniture out of his house. He did not flood in 2016 and said he thought he would be safe but he was wrong.

“It’s enough to wreck everything but not quite everything,” said Deen. “Anything higher than eight inches is probably going to be okay. Your furniture soaks up the water, so it just destroys anything like that; the wood, the sheetrock. Those that went through ’16 know.”

The rainfall and water levels in Ward Creek and Dawson Creek were historic, according to WAFB meteorologist Jeff Marrow.

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Despite the record rain event, homeowners in the neighborhood say parish and state leaders are to blame for allowing new construction and development of surrounding areas without fully understanding how it affects drainage.

“I get sick and tired of them telling us, ‘Oh, our computer models tell us what we’re going to do. All this concrete and tree cutting isn’t going to impact the environment and it’s not going to cause you to flood,’ but here it is,” Hote explained.

“Entirely too much construction and not enough planning for the runoff is one of the factors,” said Tony Plauche.

Now, they want government leaders, such as Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, to take a hard look at drainage issues to ensure this does not happen again.

East Baton Rouge Parish officials said it is important for people who have experienced flooding or damage to begin self-reporting to help officials assess the needs of the parish and quickly get resources on the state and federal level.

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