Spat continues between East Baton Rouge and Iberville over aquadams
BATON ROUGE- A federal judge in Baton Rouge was supposed to hear the year-long case involving aquadams Wednesday in hopes of bringing finality to a case as we approach the peak of hurricane season.
Approximately 30 minutes before the start of the hearing, it was postponed to a later date.
Three weeks ago, East Baton Rouge got a temporary restraining order against Iberville as Cristobal approached. Iberville announced that it intended to place the dams out as the storm came this way. But, before any work could be done, that order was signed.
What was initially tough talk ultimately turned into a reality, as Iberville Parish President Mitch Ourso purchased miles of aquadams to protect people in St. Gabriel and parts of Ascension Parish from floodwaters coming from Baton Rouge.
"One of my missions is to get a wall over there to stop the floodwaters from East Baton Rouge and take care of our people," Iberville Parish President Mitch Ourso said following the August 2016 flood.
At the height of the turmoil, East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome echoed the sentiments to protect citizens.
"I understand his concerns for his residents," Weston Broome said. "He has to understand my concerns for my residents. It's my hope we can reach a happy medium, that we can reach a solution that benefits our residents in East Baton Rouge and his residents in Iberville."
To date, no agreement has been reached.
In court documents, the city of Baton Rouge said, "The defendants' water bladder spanning three miles in length and two and a half feet in height creates an artificial base flood elevation higher than that set by FEMA without any engineering analysis or mitigation plans in place."
Iberville Parish responded, saying the documents filed by the city is "devoid of dates, locations, frequency or duration of any alleged flooding." The reason is simple, "the water bags deployed under emergency declaration by Iberville never caused any flooding."
The dams now sit in a warehouse, unusable until a decision is made by a judge.