By David J. Mitchell
River Parishes bureau
August 30, 2012
East Ascension Drainage employees began drawing down water in parish canals and bayous at 8:30 a.m. Monday in response to Hurricane Isaac’s movement toward southeastern Louisiana.
The waterways had been lowered 2.5 feet below normal by 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, parish officials said.
Officials hope to draw down as much water as possible in preparation for Isaac’s heavy rains and backwater flooding, parish officials said Tuesday.
All the pumps at the Marvin J. Braud Pumping Station in the McElroy Swamp and at a separate station in Sorrento were working normally, parish government spokesman Lester Kenyon said.
Two of the five pumps at the Marvin J. Braud station were sufficient to remove the required amount of water, officials said.
The station, which drains about 76 square miles of East Ascension, is undergoing a major expansion, but Kenyon said drainage officials reported that work is away from and will not interfere with operation of the pumps.
Bill Roux, director of East Ascension Drainage, reported to Kenyon on Tuesday that anticipated repairs to the three Sorrento pumps are scheduled in a few weeks but the pumps are in operation.
About 1:45 p.m. Tuesday, water in Bayou Francois was low, the muddy lower slopes of the bayou’s banks visible below bulkheads along the bayou near Irma Boulevard in Gonzales.
“If you rode around, you can see we got a lot of mud showing,” Parish President Tommy Martinez said in an interview Tuesday afternoon.
The Marvin J. Braud station is at the confluence of Bayou Francois and the Saveiro Canal in far southeastern Ascension.
Kenyon said floodgates at Frog Bayou, which are in northwestern Ascension, and the nearby Alligator Bayou gates in Iberville Parish were being monitored.
The gates are used to drain nearby swamp basins into Bayou Manchac and to prevent backwater flooding from that bayou back into the basins, which are counted on to store rainfall.
The floodgates at Frog Bayou have been under repair after a failure this summer. Martinez said work has proceeded far enough to enable the gates to control the flow of water in and out of Frog Bayou and Bluff Swamp.