Lasting effects of Barry are taking a toll in St. Landry Parish. Flood waters are continuing to rise causing local farmers and residents grief.
“The structures we have right now are just inadequate and it’s been like that for years and it’s not a new problem.”expressed Kurt Richard, a local Rice Farmer.
The flooding problem locals say didn’t just happen over night.
“For over 30 years it’s increased. Many things have changed, we are getting more water now from Avoyelles Parish and Rapides Parish as well as Evangeline Parish.” said Danny Richard, a local resident and candidate for St. Landry Parish President.
A soy bean field off of I-49 has now become a pond after Barry made his way through the parish.
“You’re looking at flood waters from the upper Teche, Vermilion system that all drains to the gulf through Bayou Courtableau, Bayou Vermilion and Bayou Teche.” said Harold Schoeffler, Bayou Courtableau is a very large waterway with very small outlets.”
Homeowners and farmers have been battling it for years and it’s cost them.
“It takes away our livelihood the crops are destroyed.” said Kurt, “I just left the farm this morning with nearly a thousand acres of rice that was 90% totally underwater. It should of gone to harvest in the next 6 weeks…and it’s gone.”
All the money, time, and effort gone within a single heavy rain event.
“In this year already, our soybean farmers have re-planted as many as three times. Our rice farmers twice and they have a chance of loosing a lot of the crop again.” said Danny.
“If you compare the frequency of flooding from 1940 to 1980 in Lafayette it occurred 9 times in 40 years. It’s happened 5 times in 6 months.”said Harold.
The solution seems simple.
“In the event that we can get more gates put into the Bayou Courtableau and lower the level before the storm the better it will be for our rain chances in absorbing water from the northern parishes.” said Danny.
“It needs to be fixed. People and people are loosing crops the homes are ruined and their lives are disrupted and it doesn’t have to be.” said Harold.
Richard says a resolution has been signed to get the army corps of engineers to study the area but as of now it’s just a waiting game that could take months or even years to complete.