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Crews clearing Dawson Creek, repeat flood victim 'overjoyed' with project

2 months 2 days 22 hours ago Thursday, February 15 2024 Feb 15, 2024 February 15, 2024 4:40 PM February 15, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - The city continues its pledge to clear waterways in and around the Baton Rouge area. Thursday, crews were busy clearing and snagging Dawson Creek behind Pennington Biomedical.

The project will clear Dawson Creek between Ward Creek to just before College Drive. The goal is to get water moving downstream.

An excavator was seen from Quail Drive removing trees and other debris from the creek area. It's something Robby Huey never thought he'd see.

"I'm just overjoyed," he said.

Huey has been waiting a long time for this day - decades, actually. Three of which he spent living in a house that flooded repeatedly.

"I went through tremendous stress from flooding, never knowing during a heavy rain event what was going to happen," said Huey.

After one of those rain events in 2021, 2 On Your Side toured Huey's water-logged house. Inside, furniture was sitting on top of milk crates in an effort to help keep them dry.

"It's the most helpless feeling in the world."

Huey's home on Honeysuckle Avenue backed up to Dawson Creek along South Acadian Thruway. Huey says the creek became the source of his troubles and he lived in a state of "red alert" where he had always prepared for the worst.

The feeling was shared with others. Huey's neighbor, Stanley Livingston, chose not to wait for the city's help. In the spring of 2021 he worked a DIY project to clear about 200 trees from Dawson Creek.

"I decided if the city's not going to do anything, I'm going to cut them down," Livingston told 2 On Your Side.

Three years later, the city is executing a project downstream by way of American Rescue Plan dollars. The city's Transportation and Drainage Director Fred Raiford has been working to get drainage projects like this one organized.

"That's really what our goal and objective is, to get this thing as open as much as possible," said Raiford.

So far, 2,100 cubic yards of debris has been hauled out of Dawson Creek. Huey recognizes the major infrastructure improvement that he hopes will help others with their flooding concerns.

Those concerns changed the landscape of Honeysuckle Avenue. Some property owners have elevated their homes with federal dollars. The state bought Huey's house and tore it down to make way for the interstate expansion. It's now a green space. Huey still lives near Dawson Creek, in a higher location. Thanks to the work that's being done now, he says he isn't as fearful anymore.

"You can live peacefully without water coming in your house," he said.

That's his plan. So long as the waterway is maintained and decades don't go by again without work being done to improve the flow of water.

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