Vidalia starts placing sandbags in low-lying areas of riverfront

Published 12:19 am Thursday, May 30, 2019


NATCHEZ — Inmates from Concordia Parish placed sandbags in low-lying areas along the Vidalia Riverwalk Wednesday morning in preparation for what could be the second-highest flood of the Mississippi River in Natchez and Vidalia.

Inmates placed sandbags in front of overlooks, where a knee-high concrete wall stretches north-to-south along the walk.

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Vidalia Mayor Buz Craft said the town is strictly concerned about the riverfront.

Current forecasts show the river reaching 59 feet on June 10 on the Natchez gage, which is four days later than previously forecast.

“That gives us several days to make a decision,” Craft said about plans the town would make to protect the properties on the riverfront east of the levee.

In 2011, the town was forced to build temporary levees around the Vidalia convention center and other facilities.

At 59-feet, Craft said the flood waters would not be at that point, although he said officials are ready to act to protect the properties on the riverfront.

Craft said he met with riverfront businesses and told them the town is behind them and will do what needs to be done.

“Another administration may have courted them, but for us to bail on them now wouldn’t be the right thing to do,” Craft said. “They are too critical to our area and are what makes Vidalia Vidalia. We have to continue to protect our investment in business and jobs.”

Craft said President Donald Trump approved Gov. Bel Edwards request for federal flood assistance Wednesday, which opens the way for reimbursement of funds expended in the flood fight, Craft said. FEMA will cover 75% of the cost, Craft said.

“That is good news for us,” Craft said.