The Army Corp of Engineers conducted an 18-month survey identifying coastal protection issues.
The Corp’s wrote a draft of recommendations after conducting the study and believe levees are not worth the cost/benefit ratio for the parish. Instead they recommend elevation, relocation and buy outs. Alison Miller is the Executive Director for the Vermilion Parish Tourism Commission; she says the survey could affect everyone negatively. If a disaster hit the area without protection, the parish would lose tourism revenue. “It could be detrimental to our eco-tourism because if we don’t protect our coast, then we lose our coast which means we lose our birds and our wildlife, our marshes. Things that people do come to see so we are losing a potential gold mine if we don’t tend to coastal protection.”
The Corp is asking for public comments from residents. Shannon Neveaux is a resident of Vermilion Parish; she created a petition and is spreading the word about the need for comments. “We all deserve protection and I believe we are worth it.”
According to the study if your home does not meet FEMA standards you could be placed in two categories: voluntary and involuntary, where your home could be raised, or you could face eminent domain and be forced from your home.
“The fact that some people are going to be forced into involuntary participation and eminent domain will come into play on that. I just think there is nothing acceptable or appropriate about them having that [option],” says Neveaux.
Vermilion Parish Police Juror Kevin Sagrera urges everyone to pick up a petition and leave a comment. “When you talk about starting to take someone’s home, where their ancestors grew up, every response we have, that will be on record. They have to see that there’s people who are not satisfied.”