‘HALLELUJAH’: $6.2M construction funds awarded for Concordia Parish drainage project

Published 2:37 pm Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

NATCHEZ — Concordia Parish has been officially awarded a $6.2 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to fund a drainage project nearly a decade in the making, announced U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D.

The Brushy Bayou drainage project, which was one of the last approved in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, is designed to alleviate flooding parish-wide by diverting stormwater into the Tensas River through Brushy Bayou, away from Cocodrie Bayou.

Engineers predicted this would alleviate flooding in approximately 40 percent of the northern drainage area of the parish and lower the Vidaia Canal by approximately two feet when the project is finished.

Email newsletter signup

A weir will be installed to help maintain Brushy Bayou water levels at approximately 43 feet. A new bridge on Luke Martin Road will replace undersized culverts to increase flow.

“Hallelujah,” said interim secretary Cathy Darden of the Concordia Parish Police Jury. “It’s been in the works for years. Anyone who lives in Concordia Parish knows what happens whenever we get a heavy rain. Cocodrie Bayou is a scenic body of water and the feds will not let us dredge it. This is going to divert water another way.”

Phase One, which includes permitting, obtaining rights of way and engineering work from the parish firm, Jordan Kaiser & Sessions was been completed last year the parish has since been awaiting an answer from FEMA.

That answer came Tuesday when it was announced that the parish would receive $6,225,332 from FEMA for the project.

With the funds in place, Darden said the next step is sending out requests for proposals, both for the project engineers and the construction company. Darden said contracts could be executed by May 30 and construction could wrap up around June of 2024.

“At least FEMA signed off on the grant,” she said. “I don’t take any credit for starting this journey, but I’m glad to be here for that.”