Myrtle Grove dries out after levee breach

Myrtle Grove dries out after levee breach

Myrtle Grove, La. (WVUE) - After hours of frantic efforts, a levee break near Myrtle Grove was sealed Tuesday.

Parish officials and Mother Nature combined kept tidal floods off the parish's main highway. It is a drill that residents have grown used to. Virtually all of the 300 residents live in raised homes, but many have downstairs kitchens, some of which took on up to a foot of water due to the tidal push from the remnants of Hurricane Patricia.

"We're trying to see if our freezer and fridge will come back," said one resident, who was running heaters, fans and dehumidifiers to dry out her basement.

On Monday the streets were covered with two feet of water.

"I'm very proud of the workforce in Plaquemines Parish. You can see how innovative they were," said Parish President Amos Cormier.

Parish workers put in hundreds of tons of sandbags, a huge metal waste container and other material to seal the breach this morning, But some say it was a waste.

"They came in and kept pounding it down to close this levee, and they kept hauling this rock pounding it down, and they will have to remove it all to put a clay levee back like it was," said resident Warren Lawrence.

Though residents say a lot of this work may have been unnecessary, in the past that wasn't always the case. Wind-driven water has shut down Highway 23 a number of times in the past 10 years, but this storm was not as severe.

"This has been minor - nothing like Isaac or Gustav," Lawrence said.

Residents say the ultimate solution is federal levees coupled with a floodgate, but that's not in the current plans.

"The Corps problem is money used for levees can't be used for a floodgate," Lawrence said.

Until that changes, 300 homes in Myrtle Grove, though high, will remain vulnerable to tropical weather in the Gulf. Parish officials are now bringing in pumps to remove water from land adjoining the Myrtle Grove community.

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