Jul 6, 2010 8:01 PM by Shawn Kline

Residents blame drainage problems for Iberia flooding

"This was no thunderstorm," Grand Marais resident Michael Rose said of Tuesday morning's storm. "This was just rain!"
Rose had just finished draining his house on Olivier street; the rain woke him up early and he put all his valuables on cinderblocks. The mad morning dash to save the furniture proved to be successful, but the damage still mounted in the tens of thousands.
"It's tough to say," Rose said while adding the numbers in his head. "Probably looking at 20 or 25-thousand dollars right here."
Rose is no stranger to flooding. In fact, many of the residents of Iberia Parish suffered losses in this flood. Rose was one of the lucky ones.
Mike Butte lives down the street from Rose. Unfortunately for Butte, he was caught by surprise.
"I looked outside and noticed the water was right at the edge of the doorway." Rose was getting ready for work when he realized the iminent disaster, "from there, there's no stopping it, it just came in."
Butte's house was virtually an island. Nearly a foot of water gushed into the house through the garage and under the doors. The damages for him, nearly double that of Rose.
"With the furniture and appliances," Butte tallied the losses. "I'd say maybe 40 or 50-thousand dollars."
Down the road from Grand Marais, in Jeanerette, city workers packed sandbags for any resident who needs them. Only a few stopped by.
Shawn Joseph lives on La Rue Jennifer Ann in Jeanerette: he didn't need any sandbags but he did need to leave the house.
"I just need to jump in and pray to god I can float to the nearest road," Joseph said.
There, the problem wasn't in the house but in the roads: nearly two feet of water in the middle of the street.
Joseph says it's the storm ditches, built to help him and his neighbors but now packed full of garbage and rising waters.
"To me," Joseph says. "It just seems like no body cares... they don't care."
Butte and Rose agree- most of the flooding is due to poor drainage.
Butte says Parish representatives have looked at the problem but nothing has been done. Joseph has a similar story.
"They know it's here," Joseph says. "They just stay on that road and drive on by."
All three residents hope that, maybe, this will be an eye-opener for the Parish and the ditches will be cleaned or re-dug.
For now, they're left dredging through the water and assessing their damages.


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