Canal deaths spark guard rail discussion

Canal deaths spark guard rail discussion

METAIRIE, LA (WVUE) - Jefferson Parish officials are looking for ways to secure open canals along roadways in the parish just a day after a mother and her daughter were killed when their car careened into a canal.

Elizabeth Braddock, 32, and her daughter Carissa Wise, 6, died after her SUV went into the canal near the intersection of Clearview Parkway and Veterans Boulevard in Metairie.

Less than a week before this accident, first responders pulled the body of David Yeoman from a canal near West Esplanade Avenue after his vehicle went into the water.

"All options are on the table," Jefferson Parish President John Young said. "We want to make sure we secure our canals as best we can. We already have a project underway where we're covering canals where we can in stretches, but certainly we're going to look at all options, including guard rails to make sure we protect the safety and welfare of our citizens."

One store owner who witnessed the aftermath of the crash on Tuesday thinks guard rails could be the answer.

"After seeing yesterday, first hand, what happened, it just kind of puts it into perspective that it would be something that would definitely be helpful," said Joey Attardo, the owner of Christmas Village on Veterans.

But with more than 360 miles of canals to protect, the price tag for a project of that scale could be in the millions.

"The issue is always funding, but certainly we're going to look at every option. If I had my druthers, I'd love to be able to cover all the canals as long as we don't compromise drainage capacity, because look how beautiful Veterans would be if it was covered," Young said.

Some residents don't think the parish should put a price on the cost of losing a life.

"Because it could be you," Doris Jacomine said. "Put yourself in that predicament. If that could happen to you, wouldn't everyone want to feel safe and put money out to protect others, to protect lives?"

Young said he would work with the council, the state and the federal government to try and secure funding to make the canals safer, and said the parish would likely focus initial efforts on high traffic areas.

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