Parish has delayed reaction to Ike surge

Willowridge ditches still feeling affect of storm surge almost three weeks later

October 01, 2008 at 11:03 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Multiple mini-basins delayed water from reaching several areas in St. Charles Parish for days after high winds from Hurricane Ike first roared through the area, according to Tab Troxler, the parish's Emergency Operations Center director.

The basins are not something created by the parish, but are instead both natural and man-made barriers that have developed over time.

“Basically, we have multiple mini-basins, like the roadway at Magnolia Ridge, that have to fill up with water before it makes its way into a certain area,” Troxler said. “This goes back a number of years, like when farmers would dig out ditches on their land.”

Troxler says that when the storm surge reached a height of 4.19 feet, the water came over any small bank that was shorter than that height.

“It also began to fill up those numerous little basins, which are literally in the dozens,” Troxler said.

Though the storm surge first occurred on Sept. 12, numerous areas in the parish experienced flooding much later.

Willowridge and Willowdale had street flooding on Sept. 14, while the small spoil levee behind Hahnville High School experienced overtopping on Sept. 15 and Sept. 16. Also on Sept. 16, water was over the road at the intersection of Cajun Paradise and Old Spanish Trail, and a spoil levee at Beaupre and Cottage Drive in Luling was overtopped by water.
Montz and Magnolia Ridge also had flooding at that time.

“We just saw the lowest areas, like Bayou Gauche island, have major flooding,” Troxler said. “None of the water was high enough to flood homes in other areas.”

The water finally began to recede on the island on Sept. 19.
“We haven't gotten a damage assessment yet, but we know of six homes that took in water,” Troxler said.

In Willowridge, water is still high in the ring ditch that surrounds the neighborhood. Sam Scholle, the parish's Public Works director, says that his department is planning to clean the ditch, which should help drain the water by increasing the gravity flow in that area.

The project will start as soon as the area along the ditches is dry enough to allow large equipment.

Now, Troxler says that all of the water has receded. The water that is still left is stuck in low-lying areas like the ditches in Willowridge. No roads are still underwater.

View other articles written Jonathan Menard

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