Floodgate to protect Houma arrives in Terrebonne Parish - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Floodgate to protect Houma arrives in Terrebonne Parish

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Dulac, La. - Marty Theriot marks the water line every time a storm floods his business in lower Terrebonne Parish.

Hurricane Ike put Huey Ice out of commission for more than a month. Mud and debris filled the plant, ruining the machines and contaminating the supply.

Theriot says the storm surge pushed up through the Houma Navigation Canal.

"We had stayed down here one storm, it was Juan," says Theriot. "We stayed at my mother-in-law's house and she lived right on the bayou side and when I saw that water come in it was just like somebody had busted a dam wide open and the water was coming in so fast."

Terrebonne Levee and Conservation District officials think they'll soon be able to stop some of that water. The "Bubba Dove" floodgate, nearly the size of a football field, arrived in lower Dulac last week.  It should be in place by the start of hurricane season.

"We have basically a love/hate relationship with this canal," says TLCD executive director Reggie Dupre. "It brings a lot of jobs and it's a big part of the very robust economy we have for Terrebonne Parish but we need to be able to control it and close during hurricanes and tropical events."

The floodgate will provide protection up to 18 feet above sea level when closed.

It's just one project in more than $100 million worth of work going on right now to complete the interim Morganza-to-the-Gulf risk reduction system.  Workers are also building new levees between the Bubba Dove gate and another new floodgate spanning Bayou Grand Calliou.

"Once the levees are complete, I think it really provides a level of protection we've never seen in Terrebonne Parish before," says Dupre.

Huey Ice has been supplying boats for nearly 40 years. Marty Theriot hopes there won't be another flood to remember.

"A lot of them guys go, 'Why do y'all keep doing this over and over again?'" he says. "But when you live in south Louisiana and this is your livelihood and this is a business, you just clean it up and get on with your business and get on with your life."

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