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Posted: Friday, 31 May 2013 11:56AM

St. John officials cautious after Isaac

St. John the Baptist Parish is hoping to avoid the kind of beating it took last year from Hurricane Isaac.  Parish President Natalie Robottom is reminding officials that they also provide one of the main routes out of town.

Isaac hit in such a way that it caused an extreme storm surge of water from Lake Pontchartrain, not seen in many previous hurricanes. Not only did neighborhoods and businesses suffer from  flooding, but the high water stayed around for days and Interstate 10 went under as well.

''We cannot afford to have that happen again, but we cannot have the interim measures effect the residents of St. John the Baptist Parish,'' said Robottom.

Robottom is calling on stepped-up response to keep the evacuation route open and take all the measures possible to keep lake waters from rushing in, should that same scenario happen again.

''We remain vulnerable, which means you remain vulnerable if your evacuation route is under water.''

Officials are hoping the state and the Army Corps of Engineers can take action to help keep the flooding out, should the same conditions present themselves again.

Col. Richard Hansen of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the Corps' and other unrealted organizations studies after Isaac indicate the enhanced system around New Orleans did not contribute to St. John's flooding.

"We found really no difference in the flooding outside the system," he said, when they ran models of storm surge and compared them to what the models showed without the new flood risk-reduction system in place.

Hansen said the fact that the LaPlace area flooded as bad as it did, though, shows there is a need to consider risk-reduction measured for the western portion of the lake.

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