drainage work

An excavator with Gravity Drainage District 1 clears the underbrush and growth from a canal.

We may complain about traffic, some of us have issues with roads and others express concerns about the rapid development of areas throughout the parish, along with the lack of legislation to control it.   

Our lawmakers – local, parish, state and national – hear our comments daily, but one issue ranks high above others in the parish.

How we address drainage across the parish been an issue for years, but the discussion has remained fervent in the 2½ years since the August 2016 flood.

The biggest surprise comes in how little has changed since the flood.

Three taxpayer-funded drainage districts continue to do their jobs in what amounts to only 20 percent of the area in Livingston Parish.

Voters rejected measures in the other two districts to bring funded drainage service to District 6 – east of Livingston to the Tangipahoa Parish line – along with District 7, a vast area which stretches from Maurepas to Port Vincent along the Amite River.

The funded areas receive service on a regular basis. Those without a funding mechanism rely solely on the Livingston Parish Department Public Works Department, which juggles the issues on that long list along with its other duties.

The $50 million parish-wide project funded by the National Conservation Resource Service will provide widespread cleanup of streams, canals and tributaries.

The project may ease some of the water backups that lead to flooding, but it’s a one-time deal.

The parish eventually will need to move past the one-time deals that come after cleanups, such as those we’ve seen after the August 2016 flood and the work in the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav in 2009.

Discussion of parish-wide drainage service must remain at the forefront, although it will remain a tough sell among voters in an increasingly anti-tax climate.

We hope it will take an adequate amount of persuasion – and not another disaster – to get the same caliber of drainage service to all areas of the parish.

It could figure as one of the biggest advancements in many years for Livingston Parish.

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