It once seemed strange to editorialize about the weather, but that was before August 2016.
As we’ve said many times in the past 2½ years, life as we knew it changed after the Great Flood of 2016. Gone are the days when many residents assumed flooding would never reach their areas.
With that elimination of assumption has also come a sense similar to post-traumatic stress disorder. Denham Springs Mayor Gerard Landry has deemed it “post-traumatic flood disorder.”
Residents in other areas may believe we overreact, but it’s hard to find many parishes in Louisiana in which a flood affected 80 percent of the structures.
Heavy rain events ended 2018 and have ushered in 2019, and forecasts call for a wetter than normal pattern for at least the first quarter of the year.
It has led residents to take a greater sense of precaution during heavy rain events. Many lost their homes and most of their belongings in an unnamed storm that forecasters deemed a “heavy rain event.”
Residents should not panic every time it rains, but at the same time the act of urgency is well-founded.
Meanwhile, it should make us think twice about accepting the status quo on drainage issues.
More than 70 percent of Livingston Parish does not have a dedicated gravity drainage district. The parish Department of Public Works makes its rounds to those areas on a regular basis, but it can only do so much over a large area.
Voters in two districts that covered that 70 percent of the parish rejected millages in 2017 to pay for drainage improvements.
Thankfully, our parish has been spared severe flood events since 2016. But perhaps the heavy rain patterns may lead residents to reconsider, should the parish ever bring the issue to voters again.
Drainage issues will not fix themselves.