Plaquemines Struggles to Shore Up Levees

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NEW ORLEANS - When it came to Hurricane Gustav, much of the attention focused on the good news out of New Orleans and the fact that the levees held. But it's a different story southeast of New Orleans.

Drive through Plaquemines Parish, and it's easy to see the results of Hurricane Gustav.

The main highway was turned into a lake and utility poles and power lines were knocked down.

CBN News had to travel by air boat through a bayou to see what many people feared most - a break in a levee.

One private levee was no match for Gustav. The water was moving 25 to 30 miles per hour in an area where there is normally no current. The end result? A breach.

Now, 40-foot deep water flows through the ever-widening breach. The normal depth is around five feet.

Plaquemines Parish president Billy Nungesser and his crews tried to shore up the levee but in the end, the force of the water was too much.

"It's heartbreaking," he said. "My goal as parish president is to protect and to keep every house dry."

But the people in Plaquemines are not giving up. The National Guard is now dropping sand bags on the levee.

Joey Broussard of the La Dept. of Wildlife & Fisheries said, "The continuation of not repairing it would actually just wipe this levee out completely and could possibly cause a threat to residential areas."

Nungesser agrees and says repairing the levee is crucial.

He said, "No injuries, no loss of life, and we've not lost a home yet. So we're going to keep plugging away."

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