Iberville and Ascension parishes have prevailed, at least temporarily, in a dispute with East Baton Rouge Parish over portable dams that were installed to block flood water from spilling out of Bayou Manchac, as water levels continued to decline in the bayou.
In a late Friday letter, the Louisiana Supreme Court vacated an emergency order issued by an East Baton Rouge Parish judge on Wednesday that had blocked deployment of the structures, known as AquaDams.
The Supreme Court order also halted "all proceedings" in the dispute "pending further orders of this court," a letter from the high court says.
That means a hearing over the dispute that had been planned for Monday afternoon has been pulled from the docket in East Baton Rouge Parish, city-parish attorneys confirmed.
After heavy rains dropped more than 13 inches on the Baton Rouge area in less than 24 hours earlier this week, Iberville Parish sought to hold…
On news of the order, Iberville Parish officials notified residents on their council Facebook page Saturday about the developments and asserted the dams would remain.
They had already been installed in the days before Judge William Morvant issued his order blocking their deployment.
"The aqua dams will be in place to ensure the safety of all East Iberville residents until the flood waters start to recede," the page post says. "Lets continue to work together and stay safe Iberville! 'In your heart you know I'm right!'"
Iberville Parish President Mitch Ourso, who disputed that Morvant even had jurisdiction in his parish, reiterated the view Monday that the legal fight over the dams is finished.
"It's done. It's over with," he said.
East Baton Rouge city-parish officials had contended the dams along the south side of the bayou would worsen flooding for their residents on the north side of the bayou and filed emergency petitions last week in attempt to block their installation.
In a statement, Parish Attorney Andy Dotson said the city-parish doesn't comment on the specifics of litigation.
He said the city-parish does plan to respond to "the writ filed by Iberville Parish with the Louisiana Supreme Court and will, of course, take all action necessary to protect the citizens of East Baton Rouge Parish."
With distant storm clouds and high water stirring worries of flooding along Bayou Manchac, a Baton Rouge judge ordered Wednesday that portable…
Events have also caught up with the court actions. Bayou Manchac at Alligator Bayou in eastern Iberville has fallen more than a foot since early Friday.
The bayou fell to 13.22 feet as of 11 a.m. Monday down from 14.37 feet shortly after midnight Friday, the National Weather Service says.
On Monday, Ascension Parish officials announced they had started siphoning water on Sunday from the Bluff Swamp and sending into Bayou Manchac. Three portable pumps and large pipes have been set up at the parish's Frog Bayou floodgate, which can't be used to drain the swamp basin while Manchac's waters are elevated.
John Connelly, spokesman for parish government, said crews were working on the fabrication of additional piping and other equipment to install three more pumps. Once in place, the combined array of six pumps will be able to move 120,000 gallons per minute into Manchac, parish officials said.
Iberville Parish installed the water-inflated, synthetic fabric dams on both sides the Mississippi River to hold back high water from heavy rains last week.
One set was installed along La. 75 in the Bayou Pigeon and Bayou Sorrel's areas on the fringes of Atchafalaya Swamp basin on the parish's west bank.
Another set was installed on the east bank of the Mississippi in the Spanish Lake basin east of St. Gabriel.
Louis “Pete” Kelley was sitting in his chair outside his home near Bayou Sorrel Friday morning when he heard a loud pop followed by gushing water.
Iberville Parish workers installed that set along the south bank of Bayou Manchac early last week.
Ascension Parish officials have declined to comment about whether the dams extended into their parish, but an Advocate photographer observed them extending at least a quarter mile past the Iberville-Ascension line east into Ascension Parish.
About a 100-foot section of the dams broke open on the west bank of Iberville late last week. Residents and emergency workers had to install sandbags and concrete blocks to shore up the breach.
Iberville Parish President Mitch Ourso said Wednesday he will go to jail before he'll take down water-filled fabric dams being installed along…
Clint Moore, homeland security director for Iberville, said he wasn't sure why the dam in Bayou Sorrel failed but speculated it may have simply been the amount of water pressure on the dams. Others have suggested the dam was overfilled.
Moore said that, along Bayou Manchac, the dams did end up holding back some water from the waterway, but the flood water reached less than a foot high along the dam's face.
Ascension and East Baton Rouge officials were still preparing to respond to a request for comment Monday.