Rayne recovering following record flooding

Steve Bandy
Rayne Acadian-Tribune

More than 100 homes in Rayne had water damage and a number of city properties were flooded during the historic flood that dumped close to 16 inches of rain here the weekend of Aug. 12 and 13.
“But we’re back whole,” Mayor Charles “Chuck” Robichaux said Monday. “Overall, everyone’s saying that, even though we got a lot of water and the canals were full, it all drained off pretty quickly here in town when the rains stopped.”
Robichaux credits the ongoing drainage improvement project across the city for the quick draining.
“I think we did very very well in relation to Crowley and some of the other municipalities in the parish,” he added.
Ticking off the city properties that were impacted by the flood waters, Robichaux noted:
•nthe Rayne Police Station had water in it, forcing the department to relocated to city hall for two days;
•nthe Rec Department and the old concession stand and coaches office in Gossen Memorial Park was inundated with about 3 feet of water in it;
•nthe Police CID Building had about 14 inches of water;
•nthe “old fire station” adjacent to the Police Station had about a foot of water in it.
“The Sewer Plant is fine. The Electrical Plant is fine,” he added.
The only power outages reported during the deluge were on E, F, G, H and I streets when the Holt Street Substation had to be shut down because of rising water.
“We started turning the power back on Sunday morning and by about 1 o’clock (p.m.) it was all back up,” Robichaux said. “As soon as those transformers on the ground were out of the water we were able to turn the power back on.”
The mayor said certain areas of the city were hit hardest by the rising waters, mostly those areas in close proximity to a drainage canal or coulee.
“About 115 homes had water in them,” the mayor said. “There’s a lot of clean-up work left to be done, but it looks like it’s going well so far.”
Robichaux added that the American Red Cross has been in town since Monday and their personnel are out and about assessing damage.
He also noted that he was scheduled to attend a meeting Tuesday with officials from the Louisiana Municipal Association regarding its disaster relief program.
Acadia was quick
to act
The water hadn’t begun to recede from the streets — in fact, it was still rising in some areas — when officials from throughout the parish began converging on the parish seat to begin coordinating recovery efforts after the historic Flood of 2016.
The meetings continued daily throughout the week following the deluge.
There was a string of curfews issued by Sheriff K.P. Gibson for the unincorporated areas of the parish and by Crowley Police Chief Jimmy Broussard for the still-flooded areas of that city.
Parish Superintendent John Bourque, who had been assessing the situation on a day-by-day basis, on Tuesday decided to cancel classes for all public schools in the parish until Monday, Aug. 22. The private and parochial schools followed suit.
By Thursday there was light at the end of the tunnel as the flood waters in Crowley finally began to recede and the number of calls for rescue — estimated at about 1,100 parishwide — dropped off.
No flood-related fatalities were reported in Acadia Parish.
Representatives from nearly every municipality in the parish were present for that Thursday meeting and all reported that their towns were “up and running.”
“I’m proud of the people in Acadia Parish,” state Sen. Dan “Blade” Morrish, R-Jennings, told the group that morning. “Your first responders, my good friend Rep. Jack Montoucet, and all the elected officials and the people who reside here recognize that the biggest work comes after the flood.
“Thank you for your sleepless nights.”
On Friday, students and faculty at Rayne Catholic Elementary conducted a drive to help those in Rayne impacted by the flood.
From 7:30 a.m. until 2 p.m., donations were accepted at the school, sorted, boxed and taken to Daily Manna, where they will be distributed.
“It was a huge success,” said Ashley Primeaux, who co-chaired the event along with fellow RCE faculty member Dawn Rosinski. “We want to thank everyone who turned out to donate and all the students and our fellow faculty members and RCE staff who came out and helped.”
On Saturday, members of the Rayne High School baseball team pitched in on clean-up duty.
Locally, life was getting back to normal for most of Rayne by the weekend. All the roads were open and the clean-up process was well under way.

(Crowley Post-Signal Managing Editor Howell Dennis contributed to this story.)

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