Bayou Gauche waits for the next one

September 17, 2008 at 12:03 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Riding in an airboat through flooded sections of Bayou Gauche island can be a humbling experience after a major storm has roared through and done considerable damage to homes, property and families. Gliding along the water-logged highways, passing house after house submerged beneath water can make anyone wonder how the residents who live on the island will cope with rebuilding and piecing their lives back together after a storm.

All of the residents who live on the island have a peace about it. Although they fear the hurricanes like anyone else in the parish, there's bravery and a sense of loyalty to the island that's hard to put into words.

When the barricades and sandbags are removed, and the reminders of Hurricanes Ike and Gustav are gone, the island is probably one of the most peaceful areas in St. Charles Parish.

One resident described how she can wake up every morning, sit on her front porch, sip coffee and read her newspaper and the only sounds she hears are those from Mother Nature, chirping birds or an occasional cricket.

But this past week the residents came to an understanding - - one that is very clear. To live on the island means sacrifice. Those brave enough to stay must be resilient. There's no levee protection on the West Bank of St. Charles Parish, and a storm more than 300 miles away in Texas forced more water into the homes of the islanders than they'd ever seen before.

Councilman Paul Hogan says unless the Donaldsonville to the Gulf Hurricane Protection is constructed the residents will continue to flood.

That could be years from now, as the parish continues to wait for permission to begin the work.

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