[StBernard] Few attend corps' St. Bernard hearing

Westley Annis Westley at da-parish.com
Fri Jul 18 10:42:25 EDT 2008

Because those jerks were suppose to have the final alignment December
20-2007. and the reason I remember the date it was my Wifes birthday. I am
talking about IER9 the Caernarvon floodwall and here we are mid july. And
they kept on pushing it back month after month and it was suppose to be
finished in late june well that has come and gone. Do they expect people to
keep going to meetings and here the same bull over and over? I don't think
they have the knowledge to make decisions that is why they keep pushing it
back. So I am not wasting my time because it is the same thing at every
meeting and they are going to do what ever they want anyway


-----Original Message-----
Few attend corps' St. Bernard hearing
Senior project manager says crucial decisions looming on storm protection
Advocate New Orleans bureau
Published: Jul 18, 2008 - Page: 12A - UPDATED: 12:05 a.m.
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CHALMETTE - Officials of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Thursday night
rolled out plans for ongoing improvements to hurricane protection systems in
St. Bernard Parish.

"We're on the verge of making some very crucial decisions for the future of
St. Bernard Parish," said keynote speaker Chris Gilmore, a senior project
manager for the corps' hurricane protection office in New Orleans.

St. Bernard is still struggling to recover from hurricanes Katrina and Rita,
nearly three years ago.

However, only about 40 people, including elected officials, corps engineers,
and residents were on hand for the "open house" and public discussion period
that followed at Rowley Alternative School at Chalmette, the parish seat of

Corps officials said they wanted to show flood-wary residents improvements
and plans for key flood protection projects in the area, including: the
Bayou Bienvenue and Bayou Dupre Control structures, the Caernarvon
Floodwall, the Chalmette Loop Levee and surge protection barriers for the
Industrial Canal and Lake Borne.

Scanning the empty green chairs in the school cafeteria, Gilmore said: "This
is actually one of our lower-turnout meetings. We usually have 150 to 250

St. Bernard Parish President Craig Taffaro told The Advocate he wasn't sure
why turnout was so low.

"We've had so many of these meetings that were very well attended - and it
is the middle of the summer," Taffaro said, of a corps-estimated seven to 10
public meetings that engineers have led in St. Bernard since March 2007.

Lately, most of the information provided by the corps has been "relatively
the same," Taffaro said. Corps spokesman Gilmore said his basic message to
parish residents is that there is progress in protecting the parish from
future flooding.

"We're moving forward," he said. The corps expects to make final decisions
by mid-August on methods it will employ for protection in the parish - but
first wants public comments on its plans.

More than 100 people died and all but five of 27,000 homes, businesses,
schools and places of worship were destroyed by Katrina's flood waters on
Aug. 30, 2005.

Rita followed almost a month later.

More than half of the parish's pre-Katrina population of 67,000 has
returned. "We are probably more like where our population was in the 1950s,
but we're coming around," St. Bernard Parish historian William "Bill" Hyland

Transportation and health-care needs abound, and the Parish Council Chambers
just reopened earlier this week.

The corps uses Individual Environment Reports when discussing individual
engineering projects. "The purpose of each IER is to analyze the impacts of
a range of alternatives, analyze the direct, indirect, and cumulative
impacts of each (plan) and identify a preferred alternative for the
hurricane system," the corps said in a prepared statement.

Corps officials say they consult state agencies and "numerous" federal
agencies when planning hurricane protection, including the U.S. Fish &
Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, and the Environmental
Protection Agency.

Last night's meeting was one of a series the government has scheduled for
southeast Louisiana.

The next public meeting is scheduled for Tuesday at Cytec's Tom Call
Pavilion, 10800 River Road in Waggaman.

Future presentations on are scheduled for New Orleans on July 29 and Aug.
21, and in Braithwaite, in hard-hit Plaquemines Parish on Aug. 6.

Critics of the corps, such as the grass-roots New Orleans organization
Levees.org and LSU hurricane expert Ivor van Heerden, are scheduled to hold
separate public forums today.

Public concern over levee protection is expected to increase as the peak of
the storm season and the third anniversary of Katrina approach.

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