Reader: Let’s finish the levees, get Morganza built

Cleaning up Washington DC
May 23, 2012
Places to go, people to meet
May 23, 2012

Dear Editor,

We have waited for decades now for the federal government to step up and get started on the Mr. Go project (Morganza to the Gulf).

The entire nation benefits from our seafood, shipbuilding, gas and oil industries even as they keep all oil royalties in their own coffers, money that we could use to get our state off many of the “worst of” lists we keep hearing about from time to time.

We can’t depend on them (the federal government)! Or wait any longer. In 2008, we had water on Main Street.

Our parish government said “enough,” and started building a Mr. Go Lite in the footprint of the original. About two-thirds of that has been completed, and many of us kept working in spite of the moratorium on drilling because of those construction jobs. Though this won’t protect us from the very worst storms, it will (provide some protection) – it has helped to keep water out of homes both in Houma and many bayou communities since (hurricanes) Gustav and Ike.

I have attended the first three meetings of the Morganza Funding Task Force as a private citizen with no agenda. I have watched the business, community and government leaders who comprise this panel struggle to come up with a fair financial solution to complete the remaining projects and provide for the ongoing maintenance needs this project will require. We may need to increase the sales tax or sell bonds or both. If we are not willing to pay an extra penny in sales tax for a while to get this protection, then we need to stop complaining when we get flooded. As my dad always said, “Put up or shut up!”

Cost estimates for the remaining projects have been obtained based on today’s prices. An estimate is only a snapshot in time. If we delay or continue to procrastinate, those estimates will just increase.

Cajuns, justifiably, have a natural suspicion of government having been historically ripped off for centuries. They have also proven over and over again that they are hardy, resilient with a strong mindset to help the community they live in. Trust your local government now! Whatever individual gripes you may have need to be set aside because now, today, we all need to come together on this. When you see that issue on the ballot, could be sometime this year, let’s support the Task Force and vote yes.

Let’s finish these levees otherwise, and sooner than you think, there will be no need for them at all!

Cherie Holton,

Bourg, La.