NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Governor John Bel Edwards surveyed levee damage in Plaquemines Parish caused by Hurricane Barry from the air and on a boat Monday (July 15).
Ahead of Barry’s arrival, Edwards said there were indications the local levee in the Myrtle Grove area could be over-topped by storm surge.
“[This] did not surprise us. So, we just have to figure out, going forward, how we better position, in a more permanent fashion. And, some of the over-topping down here in Plaquemines Parish were at construction sites. And so, as soon as the construction is done, those areas are going to be shored up,” Edwards said. “This one presents a little bit more of a challenge, however we do have levees that are under construction now.”
Plaquemines Parish President Kirk Lepine said work was underway to repair the over-topped levee and to shore up roads impacted by the water that raced over the earthen barrier. He pointed to huge containers of sandbags that lined roads in the Myrtle Grove Marina.
"From some of the water coming over the road here, it has washed out some of the road here, so we’re here stabilizing the road,” Lepine said.
Water lingered on streets in the Myrtle Grove area Monday, where homes are lifted high off the ground.
Resident Randy Gegenheimer said he was forewarned that his home sits outside the levee protection.
“When we bought the property we knew we were outside the protection levee. We knew that it wasn’t a matter of if, it was a matter of when we were going to have some kind of event that would have put water on top of our property,” Gegenheimer said.
His neighbor Joann Dusang said it was not the over-topping of the levee that caused them headaches.
"Myrtle Grove was not flooded because the levee over-topped. Myrtle Grove floods from Barataria Bay up Wilkinson Canal to there, and then it over-tops and goes into the cow pasture,” Dusang said.
And, she said she is not anxious for a higher levee to be built, as she thinkgs a floodgate would be better.
"We have been asking for a floodgate for the last 10 years,” she said.
Gegenheimer said he thinks a levee will worsen their situation.
"What that would do, would just add the amount of water that we get on to our property,” he said.
Despite the issue with the local levee in Plaquemines Parish, the governor said federal levees along the Mississippi River held up well during Barry.