St. James Parish

Residents and parish officials are lobbying the Army Corps of Engineers to include Ascension and St. James parishes in a massive hurricane protection project.

The Advocate reports the Army Corps met this past week with local interests as part of a public-comment process associated with the hurricane and storm damage risk reduction study.

A draft report on the project was released in August.

Nasty weather, including a chance of strong tornadoes and howling thunderstorms, is forecast on Christmas Day along the Gulf Coast from east Texas to north Florida. But officials say it will hold off long enough for Christmas Eve bonfires to light the way for Pere Noel along the Mississippi River northwest of New Orleans.

The National Weather Service says people should prepare their yards for high winds Monday, securing lawn furniture or anything that might be blown into a home or car.

Officials say Hurricane Isaac caused no catastrophic damage to St. James Parish public schools, but the district needs to spend $500,000 to $750,000 for storm repairs.

Jim Mitchell, administrative director of business services for the district, told school board members Wednesday the Federal Emergency Management Agency would reimburse the district for at least 75 percent of eligible costs because the parish has been declared a disaster zone.