Bayou Corne sinkhole settlement leaves residents lonely

Bayou Corne sinkhole settlement leaves residents lonely

BAYOU CORNE, LA (WAFB) - The population in the small town of Bayou Corne is decreasing by the day.

Homeowners have settled with Texas Brine, the company responsible for the massive sinkhole that formed in that community in May of 2013. Many of the houses are vacant, and now more of them are disappearing.

The changes have rattled some residents who remain.

Toleca Donacricha has come to love life on Bayou Corne. She has lived in the area for 40 years. Fisherman still cruise the canal behind her house, and the natural habitat is alive and well just steps from her back door.

"It's very quiet, very peaceful, a little bit unnerving," Donacricha said.

She is one of only 13 people who still live there. All but nine of her neighbors moved. Donacricha said while she is comfortable there, she admits a big part of the community is missing.

"It's the socialization. It's the companionship. It's the support of others. Sometimes it's just a little too quiet," Donacricha said.

The noise just across Highway 1 shows another sign of a shrinking community. Some residents are not just leaving, they are taking their houses and everything they own with them.

A-1 Mobile Home Mover, Michael Hebert, said he is busy helping homeowners relocate.

"We have a good bit of business. We've got them booked up. We have actually got two tomorrow, one Saturday. We are pretty much working seven days a week," Hebert said.

Texas Brine estimates the sinkhole is now 31.8 acres big.

Assumption Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness Director, John Boudreaux, said he last visited the site last week.

"It's showing signs that the sides probably have some movement and filling in the deeper portion of the sinkhole," Boudreaux said.

A spokesman for Texas Brine said only five of its original 53 vent wells are still picking up gas, the breached cavern is filled with sediment, and that the sinkhole has not grown in ten months.

Donachricha said she has been following the research and developments at the sinkhole since it formed more than two and a half years ago. She is confident everything is going to be just fine there. Her only regret is that she could not convince more of her neighbors to stay.

"It's sad for me because I think a lot of the people are going to be sorry that they left," Donacricha said.

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