Lake Arthur flooding crisis 'not over by any means'

By By Doris Maricle / American Press

LAKE ARTHUR — Flood waters topped more levees Monday as rain continued to fall in areas already saturated by almost a week of heavy rainfall.

"The crisis is not over by any means," said Mayor Robbie Bertrand. "We are battling against time and the weather to keep the

levees from overtopping."

The additional rain on Monday was no help, he said.

Officials fear the flood waters will overtake the capacity of the town's pumps and urged those in low-lying areas prone to

flooding or who live near drainage canals to evacuate.

Lake Arthur Elementary and High School will be closed for again on Tuesday due to the flooding conditions.

Residents in some parts of the town awoke Monday to find many of the levees had spilled over, sending water rushing into their

backyards and threatening their homes.

"We're fighting the flooding in the backyard," Wanda Richard said from her Grand Avenue home.

Crews from the Broadmore Gravity Drainage District, town, and other volunteers hastily worked to build up a levee in the back

of her home with sandbags, plastic and mounds of dirt.

Richard already has her furniture picked up in her home.

Janis Chapman, who lives on Price Road, on the other side of the lake, said water is surrounding her home and flooding the

road.

"It's up to the porch and across the driveway," she said. "Between me and my neighbors we look like two little islands."

Chapman said this is the most water she has ever seen, including after Hurricane Ike.

"My husband is in his 60s and has lived here most of his life and he's never seen it like this," she said. "Thank goodness

for the pumps and levee system or it would be a mess in town."

One of the main areas of concern for the town is the shrimp boat canal on New Orleans Street, Bertrand said. Crews have been

working since Sunday to place additional sandbags and plastic to help shore up the levee.

"If it tops this levee, we are going to see water in the central part of town," he said.

He said residents should continue to be prepared to evacuate and lift furniture out of harm's way.

Some elderly residents have evacuated, but the majority of the residents have stayed, he said.

"If it continues raining, the river is going to rise," said Jeff Davis Parish Sheriff Ivy Woods. "The river hasn't even crested yet and even

when it does crest, it is going to be two to three days before it starts dropping."

The Mermentaru River was at 10.4 feet at 3:15 p.m. Monday and is expected to crest at 11 feet by Wednesday and remain at that

level for several days, according to the National Weather Service.

Three homes on Pom Roy Road just west of Lake Arthur had water in them and several camps at Morgan Shores were flooded, Woods

said. Several homes and camps at Castex Landing also remained flooded.

US 90 between Mermentau and Jennings remained closed due to flooding. Several parish roads including Andrus Cemetery Road

and Third Street in the Lake Arthur area were also under water and remained impassable, Woods said.

Parts of La. 26 between Jennings and Lake Arthur have been under water at times.

No boat traffic is being allowed on the Mermentau River or Lacassine Bayou until the flood waters recede, Woods said

"There's so much water you can't get to the docks or gravel pits," Woods said.

A mandatory 10 p.m.-6 a.m. curfew remains in effect.