The interparish fight between Lafayette and St. Martin Parishes over a spoil banks project took a turn in favor of St. Martin Parish earlier this week as Judge James D. Cain Jr. dismissed Lafayette Consolidated Government's suit. The judge said LCG's claims against St. Martin Parish were legally premature.

As KPEL News reported in March, LCG fired the first legal salvo as they took the Vermilion River spoil bank controversy to the 15th Judicial District Court, asking a judge to rule that LCG "complied with all lawful regulations, ordinances, rules, procedures and laws with the spoil bank project, and specifically, request(ing) a judgment that no permit was required by the Corps for the project as the revised proposal that was implemented did not fall within Corps jurisdiction." LCG removed spoil banks on St. Martin Parish-purchased property.

Basically, as KPEL News reported LCG has been arguing that the spoil banks - which are placed about 100 feet away from the Vermiion River's bank - prevent the natural flow of rainwater into the Cypress Island Swamp and creates flooding issues for Lafayette and Parish residents.

"The unintentional formation of this spoil bank impeded the flow of the Vermilion Bayou into the Cypress Island Swamp," the lawsuit states. "Previously, flood water could easily flow from the Vermilion Bayou into Cypress Island Swamp, and from the Cypress Island Swamp into the Vermilion Bayou, thereby assisting with flood prevention in both Lafayette and St. Martin Parish."

Josh Guillory and Chester Cedars

"I'm tired of all the talking points we've heard about the removal of the spoil banks," St. Martin Parish President Chester Cedars has said during the process. "I'm tired of hearing about (how) the only area that's going to be affected is the Cypress Island Swamp. Those are talking points that I believe are designed to mislead people. We're talking about the Cypress Island community. We're talking about the residents of St. Martin Parish. We're talking about homeowners (and) business owners. We're talking about people that own property and whose lives and live savings are invested in those properties."

St Martin Parish has filed a suit against LCG asking LCG to restore, replace, and reconstruct the spoil bank it "illegally" removed.

Lafayette Mayor President Josh Guillory
KPEL Photo

Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory reacted to the news of LCG's lawsuit being dismissed on this week's edition of "Lafayette Live" on "Acadiana's Morning News."

It was the best procedural vehicle we had, the declaratory judgement. I'm happy with the ruling. I think the judge ultimately said what we were saying, there was no case or controversy. We just wanted to be proactive and throw it into a neutral and detached entity.

Guillory went on to say that he respects court rulings even when he disagrees with them.


When asked about how this is affecting the relationship between the two parishes, Guillory stated that the relationship was not strained. He also pointed out that, while most of the discussions between the two parish governments have moved to the courtrooms - that this is a difference of opinions and that he still considers Cedars a friend, saying that this is a fight that has been hyped up by local media.

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