Here is an update by John Young, President of Jefferson Parish
Jefferson Parish President John Young reports at 7:00 this morning, the stage at the Carrollton Gauge in New Orleans was 17 feet. The river is expected to continue to rise to above flood stage to crest near 19.5 feet, Monday, May 23rd.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is currently discussing possible closures to navigation if the river continues to rise to within two feet of the top of the levee and the Morganza Spillway is not opened. Both East and Westbank Levee Districts continue to monitor the stability of the levee system throughout Jefferson Parish with special attention given to the two locations on the Westbank where seepage continues.
Although we are receiving indications the Mississippi River Commission is likely to approve opening the Morganza Spillway in the coming days, the potential consequences of not opening the floodway bears monitoring.
According to the USACE, if the Morganza Spillway is not opened to direct water from the Mississippi River into the Atchafalaya River basin, there would be additional stress on the levee system from Morganza to Plaquemines Parish, including Jefferson Parish and the New Orleans metropolitan area.
The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office along with the Eastbank and Westbank Levee Districts are patrolling the levees. Sheriff Newell Normand is reminding drivers not to drive vehicles on the levees. This is both dangerous, illegal, and violators face arrest.
As we continue to keep a watchful eye on the river level in Jefferson Parish, we are assured by our state and federal partners, including FEMA and the USACE, the river levels are being monitored closely along the Mississippi River throughout the region, its tributaries and other low-lying areas.
Parish President Billy Nungesser
Upon request by Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, the Corps of Engineers reinforced the temporary levees in the Belle Chasse area to ensure the communities are safe as Mississippi River water levels rise.
Crews are monitoring the Mississippi River levees in Plaquemines Parish around the clock. Levee inspection teams from the Parish and the Corps look for deficiencies, seepage, and prohibited digging within 1,500 feet of the levees. The Plaquemines Port Authority directs ship traffic in areas without batture protecting the levees. Sheriff’s Deputies watch for unauthorized vehicles on the levees. Plaquemines residents can report areas of concern along the levees by calling 911.
“While we don’t anticipate any major issues in Plaquemines Parish at this time, we have flood fighting equipment ready and standing by to support other Parishes in the same manner they supported us in the past. Just contact our EOC or my office. We’re ready now and will be ready at the last minute if any other parish needs us to send sandbags or crews to help defend their parish,” said President Nungesser.