With water about a foot from the top of its levees and high tide still hours away, the Town of Lafitte has issued a voluntary evacuation order, with Mayor Tim Kerner strongly advising residents to head north.
“We’re getting to the point where it’s at the top of the levee and I just don’t want to put anyone in danger (later) where they need to get out and can’t,” Kerner said of the order, issued at about noon for the areas of Barataria, Lafitte and Crown Point.
Jean Lafitte Boulevard is impassible in anything other than trucks and high vehicles between City Hall and the Goose Bayou bridge. South of the bridge, the road is dry and passable.
Up where La. 3135 turns into Jean Lafitte Boulevard, many homes, particularly those along the bayouside, have water in their yards.
Darrin Cantrelle, a former volunteer firefighter now disabled, hung out on the levee at Goose Bayou with friends just after 4 p.m., watching the cars plow through the flooded street.
He said some folks, particularly the elderly, have observed the voluntary evacuation order, but most know someone with a truck and can get out if they need to.
"We just keep a real close eye on it and if it goes up to quick, we'll head out," he said. "The people who've been down there their whole lives know what to do."
Kerner said he wants to make sure residents who are worried they might not be able to get out later can do so now.
Kerner said workers are “continuing to fight” to keep the water out, but lower Lafitte, near Orange Avenue and Goose Bayou are threatened.
He said there are still a lot of houses that haven’t been elevated. The funding is there, but they need FEMA approval.
“That’s a whole other issue,” he said.
The evacuations are voluntary for now, but could become mandatory later in anticipation of high tide early Thursday evening as winds out of the southwest continue pushing water inland. A shelter is being opened at Pard Park in Marrero.
Officials in the town said earlier this week that they were more concerned about tides than they were about rain from the storm.
Parish officials staged sandbags, Hesco bags and mobile pump trucks in the town earlier this week in anticipation of possible high water.