St. Charles Parish has moved on to “Plan C” in regards to a new, $2 million boat launch in Luling between the Davis Pond Diversion and Pier 90, according to Parish President V.J. St. Pierre.
The parish got appraisals for three separate locations on Highway 90 for the launch, each of which was 12 acres. The parish set aside $500,000 in the 2010 budget to purchase one of those tracts, and was negotiating with landowner Ray Brandt for purchase of the most western tract of the three.
However, Brandt and the parish couldn’t agree on a price.
Then, St. Pierre said someone was considering donating one of the tracts to the parish.
“But that fell through,” he said.
That leaves the parish with one more option and St. Pierre said he will begin negotiations with another landowner in the next week.
If the parish purchases the land, they can seek proposals from the Wallop-Breaux Fund, a state program used to create opportunity for sport fishing and boating.
The fund never provides more than $500,000 a year, so St. Pierre said the entire project would take about five years to complete.
The launch would include five double-ended launch sites, parking for 160 trucks/boats, separate parking for cars, two pavilions, a stage, bait shop and three restrooms. The entire site would encompass 12 acres, and St. Pierre said he would eventually like to install three sand volleyball courts and have an area for the German Coast Farmers’ Market to set up shop.
“Right now, we are the only parish in the state with a game preserve (Salvador Wildlife Management Area) that doesn’t have public access,” St. Pierre said. “There are so many commercial and recreational fishermen in our parish that this is a win-win.”
Fishing in Lake Cataouatche has improved dramatically since the diversion and now attracts anglers from across the state.
However, larger bass tournaments have stayed away because the area’s only boat launch, Pier 90, isn’t large enough.
St. Pierre said one of the goals of the launch is to attract the Bassmaster Classic, the “Super Bowl” of bass tournaments.
“Some of the things that are in this boat launch are required to get them here,” he said.