Shows projects are shovel ready
St. Charles Parish officials hope Friday’s aerial tour of the area with Governor’s Executive Assistant for Coastal Activities/CPRA Chairman Johnny Bradberry will translate into needed dollars to complete hurricane protection.
“We hoped to show them that our projects are under construction, designed and shovel-ready (the 8.2 miles from Davis Diversion to Paradis Canal),” said Sam Scholle, the parish’s senior projects manager. “It is important to show that if given the funding, the parish is ready to build.”
Scholle said the tour gave Bradberry and his team the opportunity to see the parish’s industry and housing assets, as well as the construction underway on the West Bank Hurricane Protection Levee.
Parish President Larry Cochran said he felt the tour was successful.
“We were able to convey to Mr. Bradberry the significance of the role that St. Charles Parish plays, not only in our state, but in our nation,” Cochran said. “We wanted to highlight what we are trying to protect – not only homes, but businesses, as well.”
Parish spokesman Tristan Babin said Cochran, who has been building relationships with key officials in the state and CPRA, requested the tour to show the parish’s projects and needs.
Also, Scholle said CPRA, or known as the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, is conducting public hearings for the state’s Coastal Master Plan and the upper Barataria Alignment is in that plan, he said.
CPRA is the statewide entity charged with developing comprehensive coastal protection and coastal erosion for Louisiana. The organization helped fund the parish’s West Bank levee.
“We certainly hope that this meeting will lead to both state support and grant funding for flood protection systems,” Scholle added.
Babin said the group flew down the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge to highlight residents and industry, and then turned at the Davis Diversion to follow the path of the West Bank levee. They also flew over U.S. Highway 90 to showcase its importance as an evacuation route.
At the Ama airport, Scholle and Grants Officer Carla Chaisson made a presentation to the group that included council members, Lafourche Basin Levee District board members, levee contractors, state officials and the parish’s lobbyist.
According to the 2017 Coastal Master Plan, the parish is projected to lose an additional 13 square miles or 13 percent of its last area over the next 50 years without coastal protection or restoration. Additionally, it faces increased storm surge-based flooding with Des Allemands and Luling at greatest risk.