A convenient location. Family who lives nearby. The public school system.
For everything Barry Cottrell Jr. loves about St. Charles Parish, the grim reality is his Destrehan home has flooded a handful of times in the four short years he and his family have lived there.
“I’ve torn out carpet twice and I’ve had to roll it back more than that so we didn’t have to tear it out again,” Cottrell, a River Point Drive resident, said. “The landlord finally put tiles in after the May flood this year. I kept telling him to.”
Water first entered Cottrell’s condo in 2018, and most recently entered this month.
“My landlord actually lived in this house before he started renting it and he had said it had never happened before,” Cottrell said. “Our issue is behind our condos there’s a long driveway and they added two loads of dirt to make it and it created a small levee that holds water in. We’ve been trying to get the parish to do something about the drainage … it looks like there was a ditch there at one time.”
Even with the frustrations he’s facing, Cottrell said he’s not anxious about severe weather events.
“It’s nothing I can control,” he said. “I have sandbags that stay by my back door but that’s not even helping. The water is coming through the walls. We didn’t flood this month, but I had to use every towel and blanket we had to soak up all the water coming in.”
Cottrell said he and his family were home each time it flooded, which meant they were able to quickly save important documents and possessions from getting ruined.
St. Charles Parish President Matthew Jewell has recently met with his some of Cottrell’s neighbors about the street’s unique flooding issues.
“He is excellent,” Cottrell said of Jewell. “He’s fighting right now … not a losing battle … but an uphill battle.”
Many residents around Cottrell are also facing uphill battles regarding rebuilding after a large May 14 flood event, compounded by the July 5 flood just weeks after.
“I got somebody two doors down who bought their house two months ago and it’s for sale,” he said. “She’s just fed up with it.”
But the multiple floods and overall drainage issues aren’t enough to sway Cottrell’s feelings about his community.
“We love Destrehan. I find pretty much since this quarantine I’ve only left Destrehan like three times,” he said. “It’s got everything you need.”
Cottrell said he and his family are even planning on becoming more invested in everything the parish has to offer.
“We’re looking to buy a house, and if I had to, I’d raise it,” he said. “Before it got so hot outside, we’d go walk around the neighborhood in the evening and look at what was for sale.”