U.S. Water News Online
GRETNA, La. -- Rather than send pump workers 100 miles
north of the city when a hurricane threatens, Jefferson Parish will
build 20 "safe houses" to ensure that pumps can be started quickly in
case of floods, Parish president Aaron Broussard said.
When Hurricane Katrina struck, Broussard sent 236 pump workers to
Washington Parish under the "Doomsday Plan" drawn up seven years ago.
Thousands of homes in Jefferson Parish flooded during the 12 hours it
took for the workers to return.
"The 1998 Doomsday Plan is no more and will never again be used in
Jefferson Parish," Broussard said.
That plan was based on sending essential personnel to a safe area,
while the new one will be based on sheltering essential workers
within the parish, near pump stations and waterworks plants.
Broussard said he expects the safe houses to be in place by the
June 1 start of the hurricane season, at a cost of $10 million to $12
million. Four were under construction when Katrina hit.
In addition, the parish will look for other shelter sites --
publicly and privately owned structures that will be fortified to
Broussard said the parish also will look into the possibility of
using a large Navy ship on the Mississippi River to house parish
employees during a storm.
Broussard, flanked by Parish Council members Elton Lagasse,
Jennifer Sneed, John Young and Tom Capella, said that once his
administration completes its draft of the new plan, he will seek
comments from council members and appropriate federal and state
agencies, as well as submit it to business and civic groups for
The final version of the plan will be announced to the public. He
said he expected it to be ready before June 1.
Broussard said the parish's evacuation plans for residents will be
reviewed but likely will not change.
"During Katrina, we watched, we listened and we learned,"
Broussard said. "Now it's time to put lessons learned into action."
He said he hopes to get federal money to build the safe houses,
but the council will consider borrowing from the state's Local
Government Environmental Facilities and Community Development
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