One week after officially cutting the ribbon to celebrate the finished construction on the Paradis Canal Floodgate, Congressman Garrett Graves visited to take a tour of the floodgate with St. Charles Parish President Matthew Jewell.
The Paradis Canal Floodgate protects the residents within the Magnolia watershed and will also protect against the infiltration of storm surge from Lake Salvador.
The project began in 2014 during the V.J. St. Pierre administration. The parish broke ground on the construction of the gate in July of 2020.
The total construction cost for the project was $5,036,169. CPRA provided over $2.5 million in funding from the RESTORE Council. South Central Planning and Development Commission and the Governor’s Office assisted the parish in securing nearly $200,000 in economic development funds from the Delta Regional Authority. And the parish applied almost $400,000 of its RESTORE Act allocations towards the project. Revenue from the 2015 levee millage provided the matching funds to fund the $5 million project fully.
“This is a great project for St. Charles Parish in regard to our flood protection. The Paradis flood control structure is truly the linchpin between the Magnolia Ridge levee reach and our Sunset levee reach,” Jewell said. “We now have truly continuous flood protection for nearly 24 miles, where we start off on the parish line all the way through Des Allemands. This $5 million dollar investment is going to make a huge impact on our residents during the storms.”
Graves credited Jewell and his administration for spurring this and other hurricane protection/flood control projects along.
“I’ve gotta give a shout out to President Jewell over here. The reality is this project dates back until at least the early 90’s,” said Graves. “I remember people talking about protection on this side and all the fighting that had been going on. So, the fact you’re seeing not just dirt turning but these projects actually being completed, this is fantastic.
“Ultimately, at the end of the day, it’s all about making safer communities and lowering flood insurance rates.”
Jewell said what was a weak point in the area’s hurricane protection has now been addressed.
“It’s always been a weak point in our hurricane protection levee. We used to just dump dirt in this canal and then come back and tear it out … with a real storm surge, we would be really vulnerable,” Jewell said. “You can’t just dump dirt and hope that it’s going to settle and be strong like an earthen levee designed to withstand a storm surge. This right here is as strong as you can get and it’s going to be a great piece of protection for our community, including the entire West Bank of St. Charles Parish, because any weak point in our system makes the entire West Bank vulnerable.”
Graves said this project is complementary to the proposed $1.5 billion dollar investment made by the federal government and the state for the Upper Barataria levee project designed to provide protection for seven parishes west of the West Bank and Vicinity levee system.
“It’s moving through federal authorization for construction … I think by the end of the calendar year, we’re going to have that bill in law,” Graves said.
Jewell echoed that while this milestone is worth celebrating, the work isn’t done. He noted at last week’s ribbon cutting that this is not a time to put further protection measures on the backburner. He said the sunset levee must be brought up to 7.5 feet, upgrade the Sunset pump station and build the floodgate across Bayou Des Allemands.
He added the parish will continue to push forward on projects such as the Kellogg T-Wall and the T-Wall at the Cousins Pumpstation on the West Bank and projects like the Montz Pumpstation on the East Bank.