Sunday, September 14, 2008

Willowridge Street Flooding 9/14/08

Taken at 2 p.m. Sept. 14, 2008. Videography by Melanie Worrall.

11 comments:

rickbotheras2 said...

The latest U-Tube video is no longer available for some reason. Might want to check that out. Oh and while you are at it.. START THE PUMPS in willowride please.

willowridgeneighbor said...

FYI - The pumps that service Willowridge have been on all day. Water in Willowridge ultimately drains to the West and is pumped out to Lake Cataouatche through the George Cousins Canal pumping station located on Texaco Road. The storm surge created by Ike caused the water levels in our lakes and bayous to rise. The water began receding faster than it had risen and has therefore backed up from Lake Cataouatche into our subdivision. At least that how I understand the situation after speaking with numerous parish officials, including Parish President V.J. St. Pierre, who were in our neighborhood most of today. Of course this all could have been avoided if way back when, when the Army Corp of Engineers originally gave the parish an allignment plan for a West Bank Hurricane Protection Levee, a certain Parish President would have accepted said plan instead of being more concerned about the economic impact said plan would have had on a certain developer.

karo said...

After seeing this, do you think they'll finally come to their senses and build a levee???

willowridgeneighbor said...

I'm glad you asked. Yesterday, I was told by someone "in the know" that an alignment plan has been presented to the Parish President by the Corp. This plan includes a payment of $4 million to Rathborne Land in exchange for the property they will lose to the West Bank Hurrican Protection Levee. This developer has essentially been holding our subdivision's safety hostage for all these years because they did not want to lose property they felt could potentially be developed in the future. So, if the St. Charles Parish Council approves this latest plan and agrees to the "ransome payment" to Rathborne, the Corp and the Federal government will in turn fund the $150 million levee project. As residents and neighbors of Willowridge, we must go out not only when our streets are flooding but when our streets are dry, and get involved. We must rally behind our council representatives, Shelly Tastet and Terry Authement, and support their efforts to pass the plan when it is brought before the parish council. We must attend the council meeting as neighbors united with a show of force, and speak out in favor of this plan. I admit, the cost will be a hard pill to swallow, but in the long run we will all be much safer. And you cannot put a price on that. I will be posting any further information as received, including the date and time of the council meeting.

concerned in willowridge said...

As a concerned resident of the Willowridge Subdivision, I will be happy to attend council meetings when the subject of the levees are brought to the table. Please post info. on those dates and times. Something must be done, I'm afraid that we won't be so lucky next time.

Is it possible for some sort of lawsuit against this construction company that continues to hold us hostage.....

willowridgeneighbor said...

I don't think so but it is an issue worth exploring. I will continue to gather information on the "ransome payment" plan mentioned in my previous comment and will pass any information on. One of the questions I have is where would the $4 million come from? We currently pay a milleage to the Lafourche Levee District but I'm not sure exactly where that money goes. It seems to me they would have to be involved in the West Bank Hurricane Protection Levee project just as the Pontchatrain Levee District was involved in the East Bank Hurricane Protection Levee project.

Buffy said...

willowridgeneighbor mentioned pumps. I was under the impression that Willowdale has pumps, but Willowrigde is only gravity drain. Those pumps pump water out of Willowdale into the swamp coming over the little levee into Willowridge. They do NOT help Willowridge. Walk back and look. I think that is why the big drainage ditches flow in opposite directions.

willowridgeneighbor said...

Buffy is partially correct about the Willowdale pumps. They don't help Willowridge. And while I am not sure if they pump into the swamp which overflowed into the Willowridge drainage canals on Sunday, I do know that the Willowdale pumps were not on that day. The water that filled the swamp and overflowed into Willowridge came from the lakes because of the storm surge. As I said in my first comment on 9/14, the Willowridge pumps are located on Texaco Road all the way west of Willowridge Phase 1. The pumps the Corp plans to build in conjunction with the West Bank Hurricane Protection Levee would, I presume, function to pump water on the subdivisions' side of the new levee out over the new levee to the opposite side away from the subdivisions.

Buffy said...

That land being held for "ransom" is--or was at least-- declared wetlands and deemed illegal to develop. How can they demand money?

Buffy said...

Check out this link.
Sierra Club Sprawl Report

Willow Ridge
(St. Charles Parish)
Crime Pays for Wetland Developers


If persistent and savvy, most developers find a way to get the permits they need to develop a piece of land. But a few bad apples just break the law.

In 1999, the Rathborne Land Company -- developers of the Willow Ridge subdivision -- were fined $620,000 and required to donate land to settle a lawsuit brought against them by the Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. According to the suit, the developers illegally filled in fragile bayous and built an entire subdivision in a swamp.

To prepare for construction, Rathborne cleared and dug in the area without receiving proper permits, and then filled in a wetland and two small bayous. The developer then built houses on top of parts of the swamp. Though they were successfully sued over the development, the settlement allows Rathborne to continue building homes in an area previously identified as one of the most sensitive and diverse habitats in Louisiana.

In addition to its egregious destruction of fragile wetlands, the development places people far from where they work, shop and recreate. No public parks exist where this development is located and the school system is currently trying to determine how it will obtain the millions of dollars needed for expansion.

willowridgeneighbor said...

Interesting article, Buffy. I was aware of that incident, but I had not seen the article. I live in that section of Willowridge, which is Phase 5-B. Rathborne began selling lots and people began building homes and the Corp issued an order halting all contruction which caught all of us by surprise. Rathborne settled with the Corp and we were allowed to continue construction and live here. I think Rathborne knew full well what they were doing and figured they would still come out ahead after incurring any fines by the Corp. They did it again with Phase 6 when they cleared all the land where the streets in Phase 6 would be built. The Corp put a halt to that as well. Allison Pendergrast spoke out against Rathborne and in favor of the Corp and was blasted by some who accused her of simply not wanting anyone building behind her so her kids could play basketball on the dead end street. How ridiculous!!! When this issue first became a controversy, Chris Tregre was in his first term as Parish President. I was told by someone who was on the council at the time that when the council approved the Corp's original alignment plan for the West Bank Hurricane Protection Levee, Greg Lier, who represented Rathborne Land, told Chris Tregre that if he did not veto the council's approval Rathborne would sue the parish. Tregre caved and vetoed the plan, and the parish has been at odds with the Corp ever since. Oh, and guess who Chris Tregre went to work for when his term ended...RATHBORNE LAND!! I will support the ransome payment if it means no increase in property taxes, but I still have questions to be answered. I'd like to know how they placed that much value on land that cannot be developed. It's like the old phrase, "If you believe that, I've got some property in the swamp I'll sell you really cheap!" And what about imminent domain - can't the State get involved, take back that property and compensate the land owner, being Rathborne, whatever they think it is worth? I love my neighborhood, and I love my neighboors; but, hindsight being 20/20, I would NEVER have bought back here if I had known then what I know now!