Plaquemines officials issue mandatory evacuation order for east bank, parts of west bank

Plaquemines Parish officials on Friday evening will order a mandatory evacuation for the east bank of the parish and for West Bank communities outside of the levee protection system in advance of Tropical Storm Karen.

A voluntary evacuation has been ordered for the West Bank from of Ironton to Venice.

The evacuations will be ordered at 6 p.m. The Belle Chasse Auditorium will open as a shelter. Residents are asked to bring their own provisions.

The sheriff’s office said that a 24-hour curfew will be in effect for the areas under a mandatory evacuation order. Anyone who decides to ignore the evacuation order must remain on his property or face the risk of arrest.

Anyone in need of rescue in the areas under a mandatory evacuation will need to wait until it is safe to be assisted, the sheriff’s office said.

The Army Corps of Engineers does not expect the Highway 23 Floodgate at Oakville or the Highway 39 Floodgate at the St. Bernard-Plaquemines Parish line to be closed.

All Plaquemines Parish Recreation Department games are cancelled for this weekend.

Parish President Billy Nungesser on Thursday afternoon declared a state of emergency, which allows for actions such as ordering evacuations.

Karen remained disorganized as it continued to churn in the Gulf of Mexico and weakened a bit on Friday morning. The forecast path, meanwhile, shifted slightly west. The storm is expected to cross the southern tip of Louisiana on Saturday night, with landfall expected Sunday night along the Alabama coast.

Plaquemines officials said they are prepared for a heavy rain event.

The parish is under tropical storm warning and a hurricane watch. A tropical storm warning means tropical storm conditions are expected within 36 hours. A hurricane watch indicates hurricane conditions are possible in the watch area and is usually issued about 48 hours before the first effects of the storm are felt.