Homes turn into islands in lower St. Martin Parish due to record-breaking flooding

Updated: May. 23, 2019 at 5:31 PM CDT
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ST. MARTIN PARISH, La. (WAFB) - People living in the Bayou Estates neighborhood in lower St. Martin Parish are keeping their homes dry with aqua dams, sandbags, and pumps pushing water out 24/7.


In the middle of a neighborhood and in what should be a front yard, ducks are swimming in feet of water with a homemade "no wake zone" sign to keep drivers from tossing water over the dams into people's homes.

“It’s just nuts. I mean, it’s been on our roads for probably two months now,” said Charlotte Ratcliff, who lives in the Bayou Estates neighborhood.

Ratcliff’s house is dammed off in the hopes all the pumps around her home will keep the house dry.

“Sad part about it is this is not even our flood season yet, so we have been fighting this since January that this water has been coming,” said Ratcliff.

The neighborhoods are getting backwater from the swollen Mississippi River feeding the Atchafalaya River. That water is then going north around Lake Palourde, flooding the homes. It’s why if officials drop a barge in Amelia, it would stop anymore flooding in lower St. Martin Parish.

In the meantime, to even make it to the back of the neighborhood, a high water vehicle is necessary. Along the route, homes have turned into islands with dams and sandbags.


“We are really concerned. It’s actually come into a room in the back. We got a larger dam, which we are pumping up right now,” said Georgia Landry, who also lives in the Bayou Estates neighborhood.

Landry and her husband are using six pumps around the clock to keep water out. Still, they don't have much to spare now.

“One inch is too close for comfort,” said Landry.

If the Morganza Spillway opens and no barge is dropped, the area will take on even more water.

“I’m not sure if we will even be able to hold that water back. I think it would be too high,” said Landry.

Many in the neighborhood say the last time they had that type of flooding was decades ago. Part of the reason for that is the temporary flood gate has not been installed just yet. The hope is a barge will be sunk before the Morganza Spillway opens, if the Morganza is in fact opened.


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