ST. FRANCISVILLE — West Feliciana Parish President Kevin Couhig declared a state of emergency after a storm dumped more than 10 inches of rain in some parts of the parish last weekend.
“Impact in some areas was greater than the floods of August 2016,” Couhig said. “This storm was different because it was a such a high volume of water in a brief period of time.”
Couhig gave a rough estimate of $3 million to $4 million of damage to bridges and roads in the parish.
Once the emergency request is approved by the Governor’s Office on Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, it could lead the way for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to reimburse the parish’s repair costs up to 90 percent.
“Can we afford it?” Couhig asked. “We can’t afford to do those things without help from the 90/10 federal government split.”
Couhig said last August’s floods impacted the Bayou Sara watershed drainage basin while last weekend’s storm affected creeks more east of that area. As a result, at least six bridges in the parish were overtopped and impacted.
The most significant damage was to the bridge at Como Road at Sanders Creek. It was destroyed and will need to be replaced.
Another bridge at Plettenberg Road and Polly Creek had 40 percent damage. Couhig said the parish does not have the equipment necessary to complete the repair work, so it will have to be bid to outside engineering firms.
A couple of bridges had varying degrees of damage and will need repairs such as Jacock Road bridge over Barrow Creek, while others that were overtopped with water need debris and mud to be cleared.
Not all of the damage was to roadways and bridges. There were five water line breaks in the parish that needed to be repaired, and Couhig said a portion of The Bluffs golf course that runs along Thompson Creek suffered damage. He said several homes in the Hardwood subdivision and along Highway 421 took on water.
Couhig credited the parish’s road crews for working up to 18-hour shifts to assess the damage and to clear debris. He said the assessment work will continue at least through the end of this week.
If any parish residents are aware of additional infrastructure damage, Couhig requests they call the West Feliciana Parish office at (225) 635-3864.
In East Feliciana Parish, crews performed an estimated 20 boat rescues starting about 3 a.m. Sunday, said Jody Moreau, director of homeland security for East Feliciana emergency operations. Moreau estimated about 6 inches of rainfall but said late Sunday that water levels were falling pretty fast.
East Feliciana Parish Sheriff Jeff Travis said a handful of houses across the parish had taken in water and some power outages were reported.
A temporary shelter was opened for displaced families at the old fire department building on Jackson Street.