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PRESS RELEASE

River Level Update

JEFFERSON PARISH (May 16, 2011) - Jefferson Parish President John Young reports both Eastbank and Westbank Levee Districts within Jefferson Parish continue hourly inspections of the levees. Special attention is being given to the two locations on the Westbank experiencing minor seepage. Westbank Levee District inspections indicated no further degradation of the levee system has occurred in Marrero or Bridge city.

The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-West will continue to enforce the state law that requires barges to be kept at least 180 feet away from the levee.

Pedestrian and vehicular traffic have increased along the Mississippi Riverfront by those wanting to take a closer look at the high water level. The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office is reminding everyone state law prohibits driving on levees and parking on shoulders of roadways against the levees. Vehicles driving on our levees can cause significant damage to the infrastructure and can obstruct official vehicles from patrolling the area. The law will be strictly enforced, and anyone found to be in violation is subject to arrest. Please report all suspicious activity, and or violations, to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office by calling 911.

The National Weather Service reports the flood stage at New Orleans appears to be holding at 17 feet and is not expected to fluctuate significantly over the next two weeks.

Nine of the 125 bays at the Morganza Spillway are now open. The Morganza floodway is diverting up to 125,000 cubic feet of water per second from the Mississippi to the Atchafalaya River basin which is expected to cause flooding in that area. It is estimated 25,000 residents and 11,000 structures will be impacted. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports it expects the Morganza to be a factor in reducing stress on the levee system in the New Orleans metropolitan area, including Jefferson Parish.

After concern the high water level would warrant restrictions on shipping along the Mississippi River, the Port of New Orleans has been reassured by the U.S. Coast Guard shipping would continue 'largely unhindered' on the lower Mississippi. The opening of bays at the Morganza Spillway is expected to keep the river level at New Orleans at approximately 17 feet, which should require no closures or additional restrictions.

Jefferson Parish will continue to monitor any developments.


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