Sen. Cassidy announces $4.3 million for Concordia Parish for flood relief

Published 2:08 pm Wednesday, March 13, 2024

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VIDALIA, La. — A $4.3 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced today for flood relief in Concordia Parish closes the gap of funds needed to complete the Brushy Bayou drainage project, officials said.

U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) announced Concordia Parish will receive $4,281,919.84 from FEMA for Phase II of the project to alleviate flooding in the northern portion of Concordia Parish.

“The best way to recover from a flood is to never flood in the first place,” said Dr. Cassidy. “This funding will support drainage improvements in Concordia Parish to prepare for future storms.”

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Police Jury Secretary-Treasurer Ariella Carter and her predecessor Cathy Darden said the project has already been bid out and accepted.

“All we were waiting on was the approval from FEMA,” for the money, said Darden. “We couldn’t let the contractor start because we wanted to make sure to get the funds. This should be the last step before the engineer issues notice to proceed.”

Carter said the total project costs $10,058,332.84.

In Feb. 2023, Sen. Cassidy announced a $6.2 million FEMA grant that would kickstart the project, and the additional money announced today closes the gap, said Carter.

“We have been working on this for a long time,” she said.

Officials did not have an estimated completion date without new a timeline from engineers that will soon come.

Brushy Bayou was one of the last projects approved in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

It’s 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 Vidalia Canal by approximately two feet when the project is finished.

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.