St. Martin

May 27, 2013 6:55 PM by Chris Welty

Butte La Rose Residents Concerned about Erosion

Several Butte La Rose residents are watching their land wash away.

The residents live along the Atchafalya River. Over the past few years, they have seen nearly 30-feet of land erode into the river.
Now, residents fear their homes could be next.

While life on the water is usually peaceful, a change in tide has residents literally on edge. Land is breaking off in chunks, swallowed by the Atchafalya River.

"A hard rain or a real swift current and the river is high, it's really scary because I don't know what will go next. Just this heavy rain, I done lost another foot from the top," said Gwen Duplechin.

She has lived in Butte La Rose for eight years. She says her family recognizes the risks of living on the river.

"It's a chance, but that was our chance and everyone out here."

Massive pieces of earth continue to crack; it's a sign of what will erode next. One house is literally hanging over the river. So far, about 15 to 20 feet of property washed out from underneath the house.

"I lost my kitchen, dining room and glass porch," said one concerned resident.

Pieces of sheet-rock, fence and other debris litter the river. Despite how quickly the land is lost, residents are holding on as long as they can and hope the river will not force them to move.

"My parents lived on the river, my grandparents lived out here. This is our heritage. We're going to stay, oh yea, we're going to stay," said Duplechin.

Residents want the Army Corps of Engineers to help build the land back. They want a retaining wall of rocks along their property line to slow the erosion. We reached out to the Army Corps of Engineers, but because of the federal holiday, our calls have not yet been returned.

Chris Welty



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