JEFFERSON PARISH, LA - Within Jefferson Parish, flooding may occur during any season of the year. Jefferson Parish is bordered by Lake Pontchatrain to the north and the Gulf of Mexico to the south. The principle sources of flooding are rainfall ponding and levee overtopping and hurricane or tropical storm surges originating in the Gulf of Mexico from Lake Pontchatrain on the east bank and Lake Salvador and Cataouatche on the west bank. A total of 5,509 structures in Jefferson Parish are on the National Flood Insurance Program repetitive loss list.
Floodwaters drain into a system of structures and canals, which outflow to pumping stations. But these pumping stations have been inadequate in capacity to handle the volume of floodwaters reaching the stations and have operated at less than full capacity during floods.
The pilot project involves the demolition, rebuilding, or "alternative elevation" of six structures on the target repetitive loss list. The structures will be demolished and rebuilt above the base flood elevation. Benefit/Cost analyses were conducted on the structures so the project cost does not exceed the cost of an elevation project. The process began by identifying repetitive loss structures, which met certain criteria provided by FEMA. Homeowners identified were provided with a letter from the Parish president requesting that the parish be allowed to complete a fair market appraisal on their repetitive loss structure. This appraisal would be provided to FEMA for evaluation of an alternative mitigation program pilot project. Portfolios were established which included specific structure information, flood loss history, flood insurance information, and a picture of the property to complete the process. Some of the criteria associated with this grant include that the homes will be built with a two foot freeboard, and that the current homeowner retains the title throughout the life of the project implementation.
Damages to all six structures since 1978 are documented to be more than $400,000. At this rate the total damages over the next 50 years would be estimated at greater than $820,000. The total cost of this project is estimated to be $400,000.