City sees minor flood damage

Published 6:44 am Saturday, August 13, 2016

After several days of regular rain, Washington Parish was placed under a flash flood warning Friday.

The warning is expected to run through Saturday, with four to seven inches of rain predicted through the weekend. The rains flooded some parish schools on Thursday, and on Friday parish officials announced that the parish courthouse basement flooded, knocking out the bathrooms.

Leo Lucchesi, the director of the Public Works Department for the parish, announced that the parish courthouse as well as all libraries, health units and schools would be closed due to the rains. In addition, more than two dozen parish roads were temporarily closed.

In Bogalusa, some streets were closed Friday morning, but by that afternoon, the water had retreated enough that the streets were opened up again. Public Works Director James Hall said Bogalusa was not hit as hard as Franklinton.

“Franklinton’s a lot worse off than we were; they’re getting pounded over there,” he said.

Chief Deputy Mike Haley of the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office said that deputies had to rescue at least one person who tried to drive through a flooded road, and a downed tree blocked one parish bridge.

“I’m aware of no injuries in the parish,” Haley said.

Meanwhile, James Dunaway, a Bogalusa man, was reportedly rescued from a flooded area in Amite in Tangipahoa Parish. Dunaway is the most recent king of the MCCA Mardi Gras parade.

Haley said emergency management officials are forecasting a river level of 18 feet for the Bogue Chitto at Franklinton by about midnight Friday.

“That level will affect the Bogue Chitto Heights subdivision and low areas south of Franklinton in the Enon area,” he said, noting that residents were notified and advised to be prepared to leave.

Hall said some homes in Bogalusa suffered some flooding.

“We’ve had some houses flood,” he said. “We’ve had about four to five inches within five hours this morning.”

Hall said the rainfall was within the regular forecast, so the city was prepared. He said city workers delivered sandbags to some elderly homeowners, and the city has sand and bags and shovels available for anyone who wants sandbags. The equipment is located behind the main fire station, next to City Hall.

For parish residents, sandbags are located at the Public Works building on Yacc Road off Louisiana Highway 10, and they are located at Fire District 7 on Bill Booty Road.

Hall reminds homeowners to keep their ditches cleaned. Clean ditches can reduce the risk of flooding.

“Don’t rake the leaves in the ditch. That can cause blockage,” he said.

Overall, the flooding was moderate and not at all as severe as the record-setting March flooding that paralyzed the parish and caused millions in damage to homes and public facilities.

For up-to-date information on local road conditions, visit the Washington Parish government website at