Butte La Rose residents recall opening of Morganza spillway; look to potential reopening


Officials are considering opening the Morganza Spillway to relieve pressure on levees from a swollen Mississippi River.

This isn’t the first time St. Martin parish residents have dealt with the spillway opening up.

Residents in Butte La Rose say that once the spillway opens, they’re afraid that all of this water will end up in their homes.

Paula Chavez lives on Herman Dupuis Road, right across from Bayou La Rose. 

She says she’s lived there both times the spillway has been opened.

“Family all came. we’re seven family members that live back here, and we went house to house. I mean, I even took my front door off, pulled up my carpet, so we wouldn’t have that much of a mess when we came back. And people cut their power, pulled their trailers out and everything, so I had a house in Lafayette, and we went to Lafayette,” she says.

She adds that did all that work but it was for nothing.

“We stuck it out, but we didn’t get any water,” Chavez says.

In 2011, when the spillway was opened again, she says the outcome was the same as the first time. So with this time around…

“We’re just going to take our chances. It’s too much, we’re getting too old to be hauling all that. we’re just going to take a chance and stay,” says Chavez.

She says she and her husband will be watching the bayou rise as the spillway is opened.

“But if I see it gets real dangerous, we’re gonna get out,” she says.

And although they’re not preparing their home for the possibility of water, they’ll make sure to have a way to leave if comes to it.

“I have brothers that have boats and everything, all we have to do is cross the canal and go. we’re on standby, I just hate to leave in case it’s nothing,” Chavez says.

Although Chavez did not see any flooding in her home the last two times the spillway was opened, other St. Martin Parish residents did.

Officials urge everyone to take precaution.

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