Nearly a Third of All Ascension Parish Homes Flooded as Levee Overtopped Amid Deadly Flooding

The Weather Channel

Nearly a third of all the homes in Ascension Parish, Louisiana, have been flooded as floodwater overtopped a levee  along the Amite River, the Baton Rouge Advocate says. Though skies have cleared as of Tuesday morning, the region is still dealing with the massive amount of water left behind, which is responsible for at least seven deaths and is pushing flood control systems to their limits.

“The next 24 to 48 hours is going to be a significant indication of just how much risk the parish remains in,” Rick Webre, director of the parish Office of Homeland Security, said in an emergency statement.   

Though water is flowing over the Laurel Ridge Levee, as of Sunday the levee structure had not had any breaks, breaches or structural damage, the parish Office of Homeland Security said in a Facebook post. Still, parish officials estimate that as many as 15,000 homes and businesses have already been flooded, mostly in Galvez and St. Amant, the Advocate reports.

Parish officials battled false rumors that the six diesel-powered pumps weren’t operating, the Advocated reports. According to a Facebook post from the OHS, the pumps were shut down temporarily Monday night to remove debris caught in the intake system.

Meredith Conger, parish homeland security planning and intelligence officer, acknowledged in an interview with the Advocate that the historically high water could eventually shut down the giant pumps.

“It is possible it will get to that point that it is no longer functional,” Conger said. “Flooding across Ascension Parish is widespread, and we are not out of danger yet.”

Federal Emergency Declared

The federal government declared a major disaster after days torrential rain inundated the state killing at least seven people, flooding thousands of homes and prompting thousands of water rescues.

The death toll rose on Sunday when several more victims of the massive flooding in Louisiana were discovered by authorities, including a grandmother who drowned saving her grandson in Rapides Parish. According to KALB, the woman’s vehicle was swept from a flooded road in Hineston.

Sheriff’s officers told KALB they believe the adult and child escaped their sinking car, but were washed into Big Creek. Two women out for a walk heard screaming, and another bystander swam out to recover the child, who was clinging to a tree limb. An initial examination showed the child to be in good condition.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Sunday that more than 20,000 people had been rescued by all participating agencies and volunteers since the flooding outbreak began.

“This is a serious event,” Edwards said. “It is ongoing. It is not over.”

The governor said in a press conference Sunday that as many as 10,000 people were in shelters as a result of the widespread flooding.

The downpours have sent at least six river gauges to record levels in Louisiana. This includes the Amite River, which exceeded its previous record by over 6 feet in Magnolia, and by over 4 feet in Denham Springs.

Aerial view before and after in Denham Springs, Louisiana. (After image: Patrick Dennis/The Advocate via AP, Before Image: Google Earth)

Seven Dead in Louisiana

Flooding triggered by the heavy rainfall has killed at least seven people since Friday.

According to the Louisiana State Coroner,  as of Monday afternoon, there had been two flood-related deaths each in East Baton Rouge, Tangipahoa and St. Helena parishes. Flooding also likely caused the death of a grandmother in Rapides Parish.

In Tangipahoa Parish, officials have not identified a 59-year-old man whose body was recovered after being swept away by floodwaters, but they did identify the other fatality. In a statement Monday afternoon, Sheriff Daniel Edwards confirmed the body of 20-year-old Alexandra Budde was located Sunday afternoon along Highway 442 in Tickfaw. Her vehicle was reportedly caught in floodwaters and pulled underwater during the flood.

The body of Greensburg resident Samuel Muse, 54, was recovered in St. Helena Parish Friday, State Police told the Baton Rouge Advocate. Muse was driving his pickup west on State Highway 10 when the vehicle was swept away by floodwaters.

Also on Friday, 68-year-old William Mayfield drowned trying to escape floodwaters near Zachary, Louisiana, as heavy rains piled up water in East Baton Rouge Parish, NBC News reported.

“We were in the trailer just watching TV and then the water just started coming up,” Vernon Drummond, Mayfield’s roommate, told the station. “We were walking out and he slipped and fell. He went under the water. We tried to save him, but we couldn’t.”

Rescue crews in Zachary recovered Mayfield’s body Friday morning, according to WAFB. Drummond says Mayfield is originally from Los Angeles and does not have any family in the area.

Hundreds Rescued From Flooded Interstate

East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Sid Gautreaux helped rescue a family from rushing, muddy floodwaters at their home on Comite Drive in Baton Rouge Monday, WBRZ reports. With his aid, two men, an older woman and an infant were able to escape unharmed.

Mike Steele, communications director for the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, told on Sunday that there was a huge spike in flood rescues Saturday into Sunday, mostly in the eastern half of Baton Rouge into Denham Springs.

“It’s kind of an all hands on deck,” he said in a phone interview. “We still have a situation where motorists are stranded on I-12, and it remains closed between here and St. Tammany Parish, so the whole interstate system from Baton Rouge to that location is still closed.”

A state police spokesman said Sunday night that authorities were going car to car to rescue people stranded on the interstate from the horrific flooding.

Maj. Doug Cain from the Louisiana State Police said about 125 vehicles are stranded on Interstate 12 between Tangipahoa Parish and Baton Rouge. He says most of the vehicles are on a seven-mile stretch of the freeway.

One of those stranded motorists was Alex Cobb of Baton Rouge, who spent the night on the interstate before being rescued by a National Guard truck.

(MORE: Before-and-After Images of Louisiana’s Historic Floods)

She was on her way to a bridal shower she was supposed to host Saturday when flooding closed off the highway.

She said she had food intended for the bridal shower and a produce truck about a quarter-mile up the road shared its stock with drivers – giving out fruits and vegetables to people.

In other developments:

– A hospital in Baton Rouge – Ochsner Medical Center in Baton Rouge’s O’Neal campus – has evacuated about 40 patients and is expected to evacuate 10 to 15 more.

– Severe weather damaged AT&T Wireless’s equipment and halted service for some customers in the Baton Rouge area.

– Amtrak is busing customers from Jackson, Mississippi to New Orleans instead of using the train.

– Rescuers have taken out hundreds of pets as they go door-to-door searching for people. Lt. Davis Madere from the Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries said he and his teams have rescued at least 100 pets since they started working Friday.

– Recently retired LSU play-by-play announcer Jim Hawthorne and his wife, who were feared missing, were rescued Sunday after their home flooded.

– Louisiana’s governor and his family were among those evacuated. Edwards said rainwater had flooded the basement of the Louisiana Governor’s Mansion. Electricity at the mansion has since been turned off as a safety precaution.

– The head of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency says 56 people remain in a shelter because their homes are flooded.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

8 thoughts on “Nearly a Third of All Ascension Parish Homes Flooded as Levee Overtopped Amid Deadly Flooding

  1. Mr. Webre from DHS stated that people dying in this terrible tragedy actually is quite cost effective for our community and our department.
    Because it lightens our department’s workload of leading you over to a ditch and putting a 40. Cal in the
    back of your head.

  2. Isn’t this the same place in Louisiana that had that massive expanding sinkhole with gas underneath it or something?

  3. From what I read, things have gone from bad to worse in terms of flooding or next wave. The same procedures followed during Hurricane Katrina is being applied to this disaster. People waiting days for rescue wont live to see it. Rescue volunteers w boats have been turned away. No ones allowed in to save anyone.

  4. FYI for anyone interested it is still flooding in Louisiana not that you can tell from the news outside of Louisiana. There are still rescues happening as I type this, not that you can tell from the news outside of Louisiana. Worst disaster since Sandy, not that you can tell from the news outside Louisiana.
    Over 40000 homes destroyed so far, not that blah blah blah!

    On a side note my roof is leaking, my camper is leaking, I can’t actually speak to my insurance guy because he is a greedy jew bastard that counts his sheckles before his customers.
    But on a good note my son escaped from Perry Louisiana against 3 foot of water on the roads and is living in my leaking camper. Overall that part makes it a great day!

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