plaquemines parish

More than 150 people crowded the Belle Chasse Auditorium, many of them making their case to representatives from the Department of Natural Resources.
Tegan Wendland / WWNO

A public hearing on a proposed coal export terminal in Plaquemines parish drew a big crowd on Thursday.

Laine Kaplan-Levenson / WWNO

For the first 50 years of his life Donald Stokes lived happily in Braithwaite, a town of a few hundred residents in Plaquemines Parish. In 2006 he and his wife decided to leave.

Stokes says it was such a painful departure that it took him two years to actually complete the move. “Slowly but surely I put stuff on a trailer, came back, put stuff on a trailer, came back. It wasn't easy. It felt like I was uprooting my life.”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has decided against holding a public hearing on a coal export terminal in Plaquemines Parish.

Officials say there’s no new information that would affect its regulatory authority over the project.

RAM Terminal wants a permit to operate on 600 acres near Ironton.

Environmental groups say the terminal would spoil coastal restoration projects.

Grace Morris is senior organizer with Gulf Restoration Network. She says more environmental reviews are needed.

Plaquemines Parish

Plaquemines Parish officials are partnering with the Army Corps of Engineers on a new coastal dredging initiative.

The plan is to use sediment dredged from the Mississippi River shipping channel to create 300 to 600 acres of marsh habitat. This will help create a natural buffer against storm surge.

Colonel Rick Hansen is commander of the New Orleans District office of the Army Corps of Engineers.

cmh2315fl / Flickr

The federal government has canceled $5.9 million in disaster loans given to Plaquemines Parish after Hurricane Katrina.

Parish President Billy Nungesser says the action was taken by the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Nungesser says the parish now must repay the remaining $3 million of $8.9 million in special community disaster loans it received after the 2005 storm.

Nungesser says he plans to try to get the remaining amount forgiven.

Plaquemines Parish has issued a mandatory evacuation order for the eastbank of the parish, and all communities on the westbank with no levee protection. The evacuation order begins at 6:00 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3.

Additionally, a voluntary evacuation order has been called for the westbank of the parish from Ironton to Venice. The Belle Chasse Auditorium will open at 6:00 p.m. as a place of shelter, but residents are advised to bring their own provisions with them.

Authorities in Plaquemines Parish say they are taking early precautions as Tropical Storm Karen moves northward in the Gulf of Mexico.

Parish President Billy Nungesser says residents are being asked to clear drainage basins and secure loose lawn items and garbage cans.

Nungesser says all pump stations in Plaquemines are operational and crews on stand-by for possible operations because of the storm.

Lionel Alverez is in the Promised Land Cemetery again, taking inventory. He has been coming to this cemetery in Plaquemines Parish, La., all his life. The graveyard is hemmed in between the Mississippi River and the marsh on a lonely stretch of highway.

Promised Land has been the final resting place for the Alverezes for generations. Alverez, 61, points out several graves, one by one. "Albert Alverez. Huey Alverez and Harold Alverez. My brother Allen is near the rear, back there."

Brian McDonald / <a href=";search_source=search_form&amp;version=llv1&amp;anyorall=all&amp;safesearch=1&amp;searchterm=gulf+of+mexico&amp;search_group=#id=128912711">Shutterstock</a>

The Coast Guard says a wellhead damaged earlier this week off Plaquemines Parish has been secured.

Ensign Tanner Stiehl says Wild Well Control crews secured the well shortly after a specialized barge arrived Thursday in Lake Grande Ecaille Bay, nine miles southwest of Port Sulphur.

The wellhead owned by Houston-based Swift Energy Co. was damaged Tuesday by one of the company's crewboats. Stiehl says skimmer boats have since collected more than 1,200 gallons of oily water. He says 4,880 feet of boom was set out to contain the spill and keep it out of marshes.

A public hearing on coastal management in Plaquemines Parish will be held Feb. 7.

The parish Coastal Zone Management Department said the public will be able to offer comment on coastal management issues.

The session is planned from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Belle Chasse Library on Louisiana Highway 23.

More information on the hearing and updates to the coastal program are available by contacting project manager Stephen Lundgren at or by phone at 504-836-8190.