Guard Works to Protect City from Flood

NEW ORLEANS, May 11, 2011 — Sol­diers of the Louisiana Nation­al Guard’s 769th Engi­neer Bat­tal­ion are con­struct­ing sand-filled bas­ket bar­ri­ers in Mor­gan City, locat­ed about 70 miles east of here, as a pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sure against the ris­ing Mis­sis­sip­pi Riv­er.

Lake Palourde in Morgan City, La.
Mem­bers of the Louisiana Nation­al Guard’s 927th and 928th Sap­per Engi­neer Com­pa­nies con­struct sand-filled Hes­co bas­ket bar­ri­ers on top of a lev­ee along Lake Palourde in Mor­gan City, La., May 10, 2011. The Guard mem­bers are adding three feet of height to the lev­ee as a pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sure due to pos­si­ble flood­ing caused by the ris­ing Mis­sis­sip­pi Riv­er.
U.S. Army pho­to by Sgt. Michael L. Owens
Click to enlarge

About 15 sol­diers assigned to the 927th and 928th Sap­per Engi­neer Com­pa­nies are adding three feet of height to a lev­ee using Hes­co bas­kets to help pro­tect res­i­den­tial areas near Lake Palourde from flood­ing that could occur if the Mor­gan­za Spill­way is opened lat­er this week. 

“Flood waters may top the lev­ee, so we are adding three more feet to the top of the lev­ee in an attempt to keep water out of this res­i­den­tial neigh­bor­hood,” said Army Staff Sgt. Christo­pher R. Sam­son, the non­com­mis­sioned offi­cer in charge of the mission. 

The sol­diers have con­struct­ed about 650 yards of Hes­co, and about 60 per­cent of the bar­ri­ers were filled with sand. The mis­sion is to con­struct a total of 10,000 feet in the Mor­gan City area. 

Most of the Guard mem­bers have expe­ri­ence with Hes­co bas­kets due to miles of con­struct­ed bar­ri­ers in Grand Isle and Cameron Parish in sup­port of the Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon oil spill response last year. 

“These guys are mov­ing fast,” Sam­son said. “This is a lot of work for a 15-man team, but they are work­ing hard and the expe­ri­ences they have are show­ing in their progress.” 

Army Spc. Thomas J. Mah­fouz, a com­bat engi­neer with the 928th, is from the Mor­gan City area and was upbeat about this mission. 

“This is what being a cit­i­zen-sol­dier all is about,” Mah­fouz said. “This is where I am from, and this mis­sion gives me a chance to help save my hometown.” 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

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