NEW IBERIA, La. (KLFY) — The City of New Iberia is making a drainage a priority with the approval of two major projects this week. Mayor Freddie DeCourt said he wants to make sure local government is doing everything it can to move water out of town. To him, that means even the smallest victories can be a big success.”
“It’s an inch game,” DeCourt said. “I’ll spend the money for 1 inch because one inch could stop your building from flooding.”
The Iberia City Council has hired engineers for two drainage improvement projects. The first is along Glenn, Evangeline and Caroline streets. The second for Weldon and East Dale streets to Jefferson Terrace.
Residents who have suffered flooding in those areas on those streets and beyond them say the improvements are long overdue.
New Iberia resident Ted Haik said, “It’s very serious. We fight it all the time. It depreciates the property values in that area. It stops development in that area, and that is concerning to all of us.”
The city administration is being pulled in two directions: spend the $1.4M that is available now in the city’s drainage fund or wait for their money to almost quadruple through a $5M price match application they are making early next year.
“All of these projects are just the beginning because we have other projects planned. We’d like to wait and see if we take one million and turn it into five,” DeCourt said. “Either way more drainage is coming.”
One business owner, Randy Gonsoulin who works on Jefferson Terrace Rd, has seen scary flooding near his business and agrees that may be the best approach.
“I’d do the same thing. If I could triple, quadruple my money by waiting a year, maybe that’s the thing to do because the taxpayers don’t have the taxes to pay for a five-million-dollar project,” Gonsoulin said.
New Iberia is also improving their flood response in the next budget by buying 50 barricades and a four-wheel drive truck for each police shift.