Decision to close Pointe à la Hache ferry slammed - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Decision to close Pointe à la Hache ferry slammed

The ferry schedule detailed on this sign at Pointe à la Hache no longer applies, following Wednesday's suspension of service The ferry schedule detailed on this sign at Pointe à la Hache no longer applies, following Wednesday's suspension of service

East Pointe à la Hache, La. -- Some residents living on the east bank of Plaquemines Parish are furious. 

They say, without warning, the landing at the Pointe à la Hache ferry was put out of service Wednesday, leaving people who live in lower Plaquemines Parish seriously inconvenienced.

The frustrations spilled over at the Parish Council meeting Thursday afternoon.

"For us to pull this ferry at this time I think is quite appalling," said Parish Council Chairman Byron Marinovich.

Resident Michael Rodriguez said the decision to close the ferry landing must be reversed.  "There's a lot of residents of this parish that depend on this ferry for groceries, medicine, doctors and they just decided they'd shut this down yesterday," said Rodriguez.

Parish President Billy Nungesser said the state Department of Transportation and Development determined that the ferry landing was unsafe because of damage from Hurricane Isaac.  But some on the Parish Council are skeptical and outraged.

"We've never had an issue with the ferry landing before... All of a sudden the ferry landing is a big issue," Marinovich continued.

"It is a safety issue. This parish cannot be cut off because we have just one ferry landing," said Councilman Anthony Buras.

Nungesser did not attend the meeting.  In a statement announcing that the ferry landing would be closed indefinitely, Nungesser said, even though the ferry was damaged by Hurricane Isaac, the landing is not eligible for FEMA funds.

"We have been asking for over a year to consolidate the Belle Chasse Ferry and Pointe a-la-Hache ferry into one location in the center of the parish. This would have allowed us to get ahead of the game and assure east bank residents ferry service for the next 30 years and save the parish millions of dollars," said Nungesser.

"The parish president has taken upon himself to propose a single ferry landing for Plaquemines Parish," Councilman Buras stated.

"This is something Mr. Nungesser has been pushing for a long time," Marinovich said.  He said losing the ferry should never be an option, and he assured residents that the Parish Council would get it back in service at Pointe à la Hache.

"We did put extra money into the courthouse fund.  We have $20 million, which would be more than ample enough with other monies that we have to dip into it to get this ferry landing built," he said.

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