Parish officials clarify assisted evacuation plan, re-entry procedures
The latest track for Tropical Storm Gustav takes the storm onshore over Terrebone Parish Tuesday morning as a powerful Category 3 hurricane. Models show storm surges could top 13 feet on the West Bank of St. Charles Parish, and officials are preparing for the worst. All residents should be taking steps to secure their homes and prepare for evacuation.
Parish President V.J. St. Pierre Jr. is working with all parish departments and agencies to continue these plans. At 4 p.m. today St. Pierre signed an emergency declaration for St. Charles Parish.
All protective actions will be taken in accordance with the timeline set by the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.
The following is a TENTATIVE timeline of parish evacuations:
-Emergency Operations personnel will begin contacting St. Charles Parish special needs evacuees at noon Friday with information on anticipated evacuations beginning Saturday morning via ambulance. If you or someone you know requires medical special needs evacuation, call the St. Charles Parish EOC IMMEDIATELY at (985) 783-5050.
-The assisted evacuation plan is tentatively set to begin Saturday morning at 8 a.m. with pickup of residents and their pets via school bus. This plan is ONLY for those residents who DO NOT have other transportation out of St. Charles Parish. Those with pets MUST bring pet supplies, including a CARRIER. Please note that St. Charles Parish residents who have not signed up with this plan ahead of time WILL NOT be able to utilize the Avoyelles Parish shelter designated for this group. This is not a public shelter. If you will need assistance, call EOC IMMEDIATELY at (985) 783-5050. Please note, if you are signed up for this service, you MUST leave when the assisted evacuation begins to ensure a safe and orderly evacuation.
-If you have transportation but do not have a place to stay, the state of Louisiana has set up public shelters you may utilize. For a list of information checkpoints for these shelters, visit http://www.stcharlesgov.net/hurricane/stateguide.htm.
-A mandatory evacuation of St. Charles Parish could be called as early as 8 a.m. Sunday morning. Officials are STRONGLY ADVISING residents to leave before this time on a voluntary basis to avoid traffic congestion. Contraflow could begin as early as 4 p.m. Sunday, according to State Police.
Please continue to keep these things in mind:
Garbage pickup will run normal routes through Aug. 30. Any residents planning to leave due to Gustav must secure their garbage can before leaving. Coastal Waste Services will not be held responsible for replacing any missing containers. Any route changes for Sept. 1 and 2 will be posted on the parish Web site and Channel 6 as it becomes available.
The parish is seeking volunteers willing to drive buses during the assisted evacuation. No CDL license is necessary. Please call EOC at (985) 783-5050 if you can help.
Please continue to clear out catch basins and ditches on and near their property to ensure proper drainage.
Re-entry guidelines for business owners and residents are available through Louisiana State Police at www.lsp.org under ‘Hurricane Information.’ The parish is not issuing re-entry passes. Residents should be sure they have a driver’s license with proof of residency during re-entry.
The St. Charles Parish Animal Shelter is now closed indefinitely. Please call EOC at (985) 783-5050 for any animal-related emergencies.
The West Bank Bridge Park will be closed beginning Friday afternoon. All cars parked overnight in the parking lot will be subject to towing.
Please refer to the St. Charles Parish School Board Web site at www.stcharles.k12.la.us for information about school closings.
Residents should take alternate routes to leave the parish in the event of a mandatory evacuation. Once contraflow begins, Interstates will become difficult to travel, and I-310 will only be open between the Luling Bridge and Airline Highway. To view an evacuation map, visit www.stcharlesgov.net/hurricane.
Sign up to receive e-mail updates throughout any storm event by sending your e-mail address to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 more information on hurricane preparedness, visit www.stcharlesgov.net/hurricane.
St. Charles Parish residents are urged to stay tuned to Cable Channel 6, www.stcharlesgov.net and 1370 AM for additional updates.