Protecting People, Property and Our Way of Life

Project aims to improve Thibodaux-area drainage

By:  Meredith Burns,

June 22, 2015


A project to improve drainage for the city of Thibodaux and communities north of La. 308 is expected to begin in two or three months.

Dwayne Bourgeois, executive director of the North Lafourche Levee District, said the project involves clearing the banks of the 80 Arpent Canal and completing maintenance dredging in the canal between Caldwell Plantation and Laurel Valley on La. 308.

It expected to help drainage in Thibodaux, Abby Plantation, Abby Lakes, Highland Lakes, Twelve Cedars and other communities.

The Legislature recently approved about $1.1 million for the project and there is a 30 percent match from the local district.

The district will advertise for bids in the next couple of weeks from contractors interested in doing the work. The work should take about nine months to complete once crews start, Bourgeois said.

The project ties into a larger network of maintenance dredging projects planned between northern Lafourche and Raceland.

The district has already completed maintenance dredging on the Boudreaux Ditch and the Legendre Canal that connect to the 80 Arpent Canal.

Crews are working to clear Bayou Onion, which also shoots off of the 80 Arpent Canal.

The district awarded a contract to Sea Level Construction to clear the Bayou Onion’s banks last year, and the district has about two to three months of dredging work to complete with its marsh buggy between Choupic Road and the 80 Arpent Canal.

“It’s just a large maintenance cycle,” Bourgeois said. “We’ve completed three, this is number four. We’re going to be working on five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10. There’s just a whole bunch of different individual canals that are due.”

These projects generally involve clearing banks of about 30 feet of vegetation and dredging the canals to their original depth.

Bourgeois said clearing trees from the banks adds to the up front costs of these projects but saves time and money in the long run.

“We’ll go through the canals sometimes when a storm blows trees in the canal and clear those trees out of the way. But you’re going to find that next time a storm comes, you’re doing that again,” he said.

In May, voters passed a quarter-cent sales tax for construction projects in the district.

Thibodaux Mayor Tommy Eschete said about $1.23 million of the roughly $2.2 million raised through the tax will be generated in city limits.

Eschete said city officials plan to direct all drainage improvement projects to the district.

“They’ve been cooperating with us,” Eschete said. “We’re not going to get every penny we put into it, but we’d like to get our fair share.”

In the city limits, a St. Louis Canal dredging project and the first phase of a north Thibodaux drainage project are in the design phase.