St. Martin Parish President to Other Leaders: “Put Money Where Your Mouth Is” on Drainage
St. Martin Parish President Chester Cedars is urging his fellow city and parish leaders to work together and use their available resources to find a solution to Acadiana's flooding issues.
Cedars says the St. Martin Parish Government has been proactive in drainage efforts since the 2016 flood. He says that historic event lit the fuse for the parish's current efforts.
"It caused everyone to start paying attention to flood plane issues (and) watershed issues. St. Martin Parish, I submit to you, is the first parish in our region--if not the state--to take an active role in addressing watershed issues not just locally but from a regional perspective. Guy Cormier was our parish president at the time, and he was very active in propagating the message that watershed issues should be addressed regionally.
"Moreover, St. Martin Parish residents in December 2016 approved a bond proposition for $20 million dedicated solely to major drainage projects," Cedars continued. "The taxpayers in St. Martin Parish stepped up to the plate, and we then, as a result of having the voter approval, sold the bonds and got the ability to spend $20 million on drainage projects. I'm not talking about local canals. I'm talking about major drainage channels that have a regional effect."
Cedars cited the Joe Daigre Canal project as one of those major projects. The parish recently received permits from the Army Corps of Engineers to go forward with that project. Cedars also says the parish is dredging Catahoula Lake, which he says will relieve flooding issues as far north as Rapides Parish.
When asked what other leaders across Acadiana and Louisiana could do to relieve flooding across the region, Cedars had two answers.
"Number one: Put your money where your mouth is," Cedars replied. "Number two: Be smart in how you plan your projects. Number three: Continue to address it understanding flooding is a regional issue."
Cedars also addressed Lafayette Parish's plans to dredge the Vermilion River and the habit of some leaders to spend more time studying than actually doing something about the flooding issue. Cedars and St. Martin Parish Council Chairman Chris Tauzin discuss those topics in the video below.