VERMILION PARISH, La. (KLFY) – Streets in Jimmy Hammons’ neighborhood are underwater. The only way in and out is by boat.
“Without the boat, we would be stuck,” said Hammons.
Hammons says this kind of flooding is happening more frequently. He says it has happened at least four times just this year.
“Usually when the rain stops, is when the water constantly comes up. We’re stuck here for days,” said Casey Hammons, Jimmy’s wife.
The water gets so high in the area of Sharon Drive, where there are about a dozen homes, no one can drive a car to get to work or go to the store, no one can get mail, and farm animals in this rural area are helpless.
“A lot of stress, aggravation. If we want to get out, we can’t,” said Casey Hammons.
“If we had an emergency, EMS can’t get to us,” said Jimmy Hammons.
This appears to be a three-parish problem. Water from rapidly developing Lafayette Parish travels south to Parc Perdu Bayou in Vermilion Parish, then drains into canals in Iberia Parish.
“We talk to one parish, they point the finger at the other parish,” said Casey Hammons.
“If it rained here and it flooded, and drained faster out, we wouldn’t have a problem with it, but it stays for days at a time,” said Jimmy Hammons.
Hammons says he hopes a solution can be found with the Army Corp of Engineers, by making the canal wider and deeper downstream so the water can move faster, or by asking FEMA to buy out the properties.
We spoke with Donnie Vallot, president of the Vermilion Parish Consolidated Gravity Drainage District #1, Ward 1. He says Vermilion, Lafayette, and Iberia Parishes have worked for years on how to handle this issue. He says a meeting is in the works to discuss how to fix the flooding problem.