FRENCH SETTLEMENT – Recent heavy rains in Livingston Parish have once again drawn attention to the need for floodplain management according to local officials.

The lack of maintenance of the Amite Diversion Canal and the pace of development since the canal was dug in the 1950s were contributors to flooding issues said French Settlement Emergency Manager Lawrence Callendar.

The concern for communities in the southern portion of Livingston Parish is that flood control measures in the more developed northern portions shunts water down the streams and rivers that empty into Lake Maurepas increasing flooding in those communities.

“What happens north of us is really important,” Callendar said. “The river used to be very windy. Now it’s more like a slide at Blue Bayou.”

Callendar said three things are needed to address flooding in the parish: floodplain management, cleaning of the canals, and finally seeing the Darlington Reservoir built.

“If we had Darlington, we wouldn’t be flooding today,” Callendar said Friday morning in the midst of heavy rains.

State Representative Valerie Hodges, R-Watson, a major supporter of building the reservoir, agrees.

Addressing flooding issues will take “constant oversight and pushing,” she said.

Citing information provided by a Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD), Hodges pointed to the reduction in flooding that would have occurred during the 2016 flood.

“Darlington would have reduced flooding by seven feet in Watson and five feet in Denham Springs,” Hodges said.

This would offer even more protection for Livingston Parish residents than the Comite River Diversion, she said.

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