As Isaac floodwaters top levee, Plaquemines ordered to evacuate (+video)
Plaquemines Parish officials have ordered a mandatory evacuation as flooding from Hurricane Isaac topped a levee Wednesday morning.
Authorities in Plaquemines Parish, where storm surge from Hurricane Isaac caused extensive flooding overnight, have ordered a mandatory evacuation for a portion of the west bank of the Mississippi River.Skip to next paragraph
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A shelter was to open at noon in Belle Chasse. Officials said the evacuation was ordered out of concern that more storm surge from Isaac would be pushed into the area and levees might be overtopped.
A mandatory evacuation earlier had been ordered for the parish's east bank, where a low levee was topped Wednesday morning, as well as for portions of the west bank.
Parish spokeswoman Caitlin Campbell said an 18-mile stretch from the St. Bernard Parish line at Braithwaite south to White Ditch was taking water and homes were flooding as storm surge piled up against levees between the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River. Although an evacuation order had been issued as Isaac approached, sheriff's deputies from St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes were going house-to-house getting residents who'd remained in the area to move to higher ground.
The Louisiana National Guard has moved 14 high-water vehicles and 10 boats into Braithwaite to help with evacuations.
"This is a local levee. They knew it's prone to flooding. That's why it was under a mandatory evacuation order. About 20 people or so didn't leave," said Col. Mike Edmonson, superintendent of Louisiana State Police.
"We're going to get out there to them. We're going to do everything we can to get them out of there. But we're not going to put further people in harm's way," Edmonson said.
With the storm expected to be moving across the state for hours, if not days, he said, "This is something we're going to be in for the long haul. This is not anywhere anytime soon."
Isaac bounced off the mouth of the Mississippi River Tuesday night, making its first landfall. It then moved onto Grand Isle, a barrier island in Jefferson Parish, where it stalled for several hours.
Jesse Delcambre, who stayed in the town hall because her fiance is a town employee, said the island was still covered by about 2 feet of water on Wednesday morning.
"The houses over here are all 12, 14 feet above ground on pilings," she said. The few on slabs are flooded, she added.
Jefferson Parish President John Young said the island may have been covered by up to 5 feet of water during the storm.
"I've been out and about since 3 o'clock this morning. The pump operators are keeping up, the pump stations are keeping up and working properly, so there's not a lot of street flooding," he said.
Any flooding reported was all in low-lying areas prone to flooding, he said.