St. John Parish residents worry about upcoming hurricane season - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

St. John Parish residents worry about upcoming hurricane season

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A large crowd at Tuesday's town hall meeting in LaPlace. A large crowd at Tuesday's town hall meeting in LaPlace.

LaPlace, La. - With a new hurricane season just one month away, people who live in St. John Parish want to know what, if any, protection they'll have this time around.

"My main concern is what are they doing right now to put something in place to prevent something like that again?" asks Carol Villafana.

At a town hall meeting Tuesday evening, Parish President Natalie Robottom tried to offer residents some comfort.

"We need to protect our infrastructure. We can't afford to have our water system fail. We can't afford to have our sewer system go out, so our focus this year is more on that. I know our evacuation system went under water last season, so we are working with DOTD and the Corps because that cannot happen," says Robottom.

There are no federal levees in St. John Parish and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is only in the study phase of providing federal protection.

There are three options.

One levee would run along the edge of residential development in LaPlace. The second levee would run through an old pipeline corridor and the third levee would run along the I-10 into Ascension Parish.

The Corps is now trying to figure out which levee would be best based on costs and benefits. Once that's done, the Corps will seek authorization from Congress, which probably won't happen until 2015.

The Corps admits it will take years before 100-year storm protection is complete in St. John Parish.

The Corps says no matter which levee is chosen, it will cost between $700 million and $1 billion to construct.

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