St. Charles Parish workers are building sand bag berms in Bayou Gauche and Des Allemands and pumping down canals as they wait for Tropical Depression 13 to come ashore. Residents with shovels and pick-up trucks are stocking up on sandbags.
"We hope it doesn't just sit on us," Parish President V.J. St. Pierre Jr. said.
A new pump station at Cross Bayou in St. Rose will partially operational during the storm, even though the project isn't complete, said Steve Wilson, president of the Pontchartrain Levee District.
Two of the 5 large pumps are working, which should be enough to keep water from ponding on Airline Drive, as it did during heavy rains in December 2009, Wilson said.
"That's 500 cubic feet per second, with is about 10 times the capacity that we had back then," Wilson said.
The station expected to be fully operational in November, but Levee District officials are hoping it will be finished in October.
Wilson said the project's contractor, BLD Construction, worked allowed the district to use the station while it is still under construction. The district will have an engineer on site monitoring the operation to ensure no damage is caused.
St. Pierre said the operating station means the parish won't have to build sandbag berms around I-310 ramps, freeing workers for other jobs.
Parish spokeswoman Renee Allemand Simpson said the parish has declared an emergency for the storm, which is expected to drop between 10 and 15 inches of rain over the area over a three-day period, and be accompanied by high winds that could cause power outages.
Residents lined up with shovels to fill sand bags for use around their homes. The parish on Friday morning expanded the number of sand bag stations to neighhborhood locations.
"One side of my property is low," said Oscar Dorsey of Boutte, as he joined a crowd of residents shoveling sand into parish-supplied bags.
"I'm worried about my sunken living room," said Destrehan resident Brian Taylor said.