Evacuation begins

Sheriff’s Office implements 8 p.m. curfew

Parish President V.J. St. Pierre Jr. issued a mandatory evacuation for St. Charles Parish at noon today (SATURDAY). At this time, residents should begin leaving the parish, preferably via state highways. State Police continue to estimate that contraflow will begin at 6 a.m. Sunday morning. Parish officials strongly advise residents to leave the parish before that time.

Officials are urging residents to leave the parish as there will be no guarantee of emergency services in Hurricane Gustav’s aftermath. Subsequently, the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s office will implement a curfew nightly from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Anyone found on the streets who are neither emergency workers nor persons attempting to evacuate are subject to being detained and/or arrested. This curfew will be in effect until further notice.

Due to a lack of resources, the parish is urging residents to use social networks and neighbors to secure transportation out of the parish. However, the parish’s assisted evacuation plan will continue through Saturday.  If you need transportation, call Emergency Operations immediately to sign up. Those with pets must bring supplies, including carriers.

The current track presents storm surge implications for the entire parish. Because of Gustav’s likely angle of approach, storm surges will be pushed up into the Barataria basin and into the unprotected West Bank of St. Charles Parish. Storm surge is of particular concern within the Sunset Drainage District in Des Allemands. East Bank hurricane protection levees could possibly be overtopped due to wind-driven storm surge in Lake Pontchartrain.

All protective actions are being taken in accordance with the timeline set by the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. EOC is fully staffed and prepared to handle incoming phone calls. All parish pump stations are fueled, operational and connected to a telemetry system located within EOC. Pump operators are NOT planning to evacuate at this time. Parish officials are in contact with the National Guard and FEMA in the event the parish will need to initiate post-storm search and rescue operations.

Please continue to keep these things in mind:

If you have transportation but do not have a place to stay, the state of Louisiana has set up public shelters. For a list of information checkpoints on these shelters, visit www.stcharlesgov.net/hurricane/stateguide.htm.

Contraflow should begin as early as 6 a.m. SUNDAY, according to State Police. At that time you will only be able to get as far as Gramercy on I-10 heading back into St. Charles Parish. I-310 will only be open between the Luling Bridge and Airline Highway. You will NOT be able to get on I-10 from I-310. To view an evacuation map with recommended routes, visit www.stcharlesgov.net/hurricane.

St. Charles Parish Waterworks strongly urges those evacuating their homes or trailers to turn off their water at the meter.

Sheriff’s deputies will closely patrol residential neighborhoods to guard against looting. The sale of alcoholic beverages will cease at 6 p.m. Saturday.

Garbage pickup has been suspended. Please secure your garbage can and any debris.

The St. Charles Parish Animal Shelter is now closed indefinitely. Please call EOC at (985) 783-5050 for any animal-related emergencies.

St. Charles Parish Public Schools will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Parents will be contacted by the school system regarding further closings. Boutte Christian Academy is also closed on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Sign up to receive e-mail updates throughout any storm event by sending your e-mail address to channel6@stcharlesgov.net.

Residents should bring their own shovels for sandbags, which are available at 37 locations around the parish. For a complete list of locations, visit www.stcharlesgov.net/hurricane.

For information on equine evacuation locations, log on to www.stcharlesgov.net.

St. Charles Parish residents are urged to stay tuned to Cable Channel 6, www.stcharlesgov.net and 1370 AM for additional updates.

Beginning this afternoon, St. Charles Parish Public Information Officer Renee C. Allemand will offer continual, up-to-the-minute updates from the parish courthouse throughout the storm via Web log at stcharlesgov.blogspot.com.

Residents are invited to log on to comment on any of the topics that will be presented, which include traffic information, school closings, possible damage reports and storm forecasts.

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