PARISH PRESIDENT TRIP REPORT
MARCH 11, 13, 2019
One purpose of the trip was to meet with a number of our senators and representatives in Congress to discuss matters important to the Parish of Natchitoches. While there, we met with Senators John Kennedy and Bill Cassidy and Representatives Mike Johnson and Clay Higgins. Meetings scheduled with Representatives Abraham and Graves had to be cancelled due to last minute changes in their committee meetings schedules. In each meeting we stressed the importance of federal support for infrastructure improvements, including those administered by local governments.
In particular, we requested information on Parish applications for the funding of improvements to Bermuda Road, Harmony Road and Pardee Road under the new federal “BUILD” program that was supposed to have set aside funds for local projects. Senator Cassidy assigned a staff member to investigate on our behalf and to report back to us.
While there, we also met with Dr. Zack Valdez who serves with the American Geophysical Union (AGU). Mr. Valdez is the program manager assigned to the Parish project to improve the storm water drainage situation in the area east of the City of Natchitoches. The project area extends from the eastern edge of the City to Hampton Road.
The project was initiated with the guidance of the LSU Coastal Sustainability Studio in 2017 due to the flooding problems experienced during the flood of March 2016. LSU is using its professional staff to model the project area to serve as a tool to evaluate storm water hazards and potential infrastructure improvements. LSU also contacted the AGU to obtain their support and involvement. AGU has a long established with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and has had a number of its projects supported on the federal level. All of these agencies are donating their time and expertise to the Parish project.
This project is in the Hydraulics and Hydrology study phase which should be completed by the end of the year. Following phases will address the development of an infrastructure plan, financial requirements of the plan, and identification of any City and Parish planning ordnance revisions that may be advisable to improve the implementation of the plan. These phases are estimated to require 18-24 months to complete. Thereafter, depending upon the availability of federal, state and local funding, the project could be commenced.