Entire Neighborhood to Move, As Residents Flee Floods
Residents of the Pecan Acres subdivision in New Roads, Louisiana, have begun the process of building new homes about two miles from their neighborhood’s current flood-prone location. The relocation effort, which began more than four years ago, came about as the community has experienced 17 floods over three decades.
In 2016, Pecan Acres resident Sylvia Williams joined neighbors, circling a visiting Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) during a heavy rainstorm, pleading for help from the massive floods that hit the Baton Rouge region. Edwards vowed to fix the problem.
Now more than four years later, Edwards along with federal and state officials broke ground on the construction of houses that by next year will be home to some 40 homeowners now living about 2 miles down the road in the Pecan Acres subdivision. “He kept his promise,” said Williams. Some residents could begin moving into their new homes as early as next summer. Along with the plot of land sitting above flood level, the houses will be raised an extra 3 feet, just in case.
Edwards said, “I don’t think there’s any doubt we’re seeing more frequent, more intense rain events, sea-level rise and coastal land loss. We have to adapt to a changing environment.” The 2020 hurricane season isn’t over, and it’s already produced 25 named storms. That’s the most since 2005, when Hurricane Katrina all but drowned New Orleans. At least seven hurricanes have struck southwestern Louisiana in the last 20 years, twice as many as the previous two decades.