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Calcasieu Parish Police Jury votes to begin bid process for drainage cleanup

Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 9:28 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Thursday night, the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury voted to begin the process to accept bids for cleanup measures, and the talks have been in the works since last fall.

The Alliance for Positive Growth SWLA commissioned a flyover to capture drone footage to better access drainage issues following the historic May 17th flood.

“When we got the results, it was just so much overwhelming data,” APG director Faith Hooks said.

“You’ve heard of beaver dams, we’ve got actual litter dams throughout our entire Calcasieu Parish drainage lateral system,” APG member Jeremy Stine said.

“My house flooded, my business flooded,” Calcasieu Police Jury member Chris Landry said. “It’s aggravating. I got home, I think after the hurricane damage was repaired - I slept there for nine nights, then the flood came.”

Parish leaders adding that the heavy flooding in May only exacerbated issues experienced post-hurricane Laura. The flyovers pinpointed hot spots showing full, medium, and minimal lateral blockage.

“If we felt stuck, imagine how the common resident felt. Just imagine how that common person that did not know why are we flooding this way - where is the water coming from?” Hooks asked.

The Alliance for Positive Growth partnership with parish leaders and the gravity drainage board could help with some cleanup expenses. Police jury members say it could cost well over $100 million.

“That finally gets the ball rolling, and of course, with FEMA, you had to go through that process. You had to go through NCRS, which is what the parish did,” Landry explained. “We had to get told, ‘Yeah we don’t have the funding.’ You had to go through all of that. And then once that happens,then FEMA allows you to come back to them and say, ‘Okay, NCRS said they don’t have the funding.’ And so now, FEMA is going to pay for it.”

Parish leaders say this is a process that will not happen overnight - adding the whole project from start to finish is estimated to last about 18 months.

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