For St. James residents, sandbagging effort is a race against rising water

For St. James residents, sandbagging effort is a race against rising water

ST. JAMES PARISH, LA (WVUE) - In the race against time and rising water in St James Parish, the effort to build barriers around homes has become a top priority.

One resident, Brandon Gravois, took load after load of sandbags to protect the homes of people he didn't even know.

"I don't know how many," he said. "I'm just a volunteer. I love the community. I want to be a part of it, and what really matters the most it's to keep this water out of these peoples' houses whatever it takes - whatever it takes.

Drone video taken by resident Drew Landry gives a view from above of what it takes to protect structures in the low-lying areas of Paulina.

Water from the swollen Blind River continues to flow farther south, and the highest levels are still to come.

"It has continued to rise all day," said Sheriff Willy Martin. "We saw almost 8 inches today and we anticipate the same thing tomorrow."

Residents in the area saw water like this during Hurricane Isaac. It's the only way they know how high to sandbag around their homes. But the water is expected to reach levels above what Isaac pushed into the parish.

"We need to find out when the Blind River is going to find its crest," Martin said. "We don't know if it's there yet. We are hearing that maybe there's some stabilization at some areas in the (Amite) River, but we are not seeing any indication of that at the Blind River or (Highway) 61. It has continued to rise all day."

The water threatens more than 100 families in Paulina.

"It's definitely nerve-racking because we don't know how long it's going to go on, and I mean, you have all your valuables and everything inside the house. What are you going to do if it comes in? So basically we're going to battle it best we can and try to keep it out," said Shelley Donadieu.

Copyright 2016 WVUE. All rights reserved.