$3.4 million canal project will improve drainage in East Natchitoches, other parts of the parish

Parish President John Richmond announced on July 8 that with the help of $3.4 million in funding through the Louisiana Watershed Initiative, the Parish of Natchitoches will tackle a critical project to mitigate flood risks.

Believe it or not water doesn’t flow naturally into Cane River. The drainage situation as it stands is that there’s nowhere for the water to go when heavy rains hit already heavily saturated ground. The water literally sits in a bowl in the East Natchitoches area between Cane River and the Red River. This new project will lower the overall drainage level by up to 2 feet.

The goal is to connect the existing drainage ditch that runs slightly parallel to St. Maurice Lane to the Cane River near the North Dam where the Parish maintenance takes over from the City. This will allow more control over the flow of the water in the East Natchitoches area, which will in turn help all the way out to Laird Fletcher Road and out to Bayou Poisson near Hampton Road. The project is tentatively estimated to take two years to complete.

Once the project is officially approved (around July 9 when it goes before the state) the Parish will start engineering and buying right-of-ways that will allow for the construction of a drainage canal to connect the point of natural outfall on Cane River near the north dam to the existing ditch via an access point on St. Maurice Lane. The pathway of the new canal is subject to change depending on what route engineering says is best versus what right-of-ways the parish is able to obtain.

Directing the flow of water from these areas will turn Cane River into a large retention pond with a metered outflow into Old River, which flows into Red River. This allows for more control over the flow of water so flooding can be mitigated for the farmlands and residences that are usually at risk.

Realizing that flooding from severe storms was becoming a major issue throughout the state, Gov. John Bel Edwards launched the LWI in 2018 with a focus on establishing a regionalized approach to flood risk mitigation throughout the state.

Funding is coming through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for flood risk reduction projects throughout Louisiana.

This is a “big picture” program that divides the state into 10 major districts. The goal is to fight flooding on a large scale with immediate and long-term solutions. It’s not a matter of digging out ditches in subdivisions to improve the drainage locally, but fixing the problems that make these smaller areas flood in the first place.

The end goal is how to get water from the top of the state all the way to the Gulf of Mexico without negatively impacting any area.

Natchitoches Parish falls under LWI District #1 which starts at the Arkansas/East Texas border, funneling down to a tip as it enters Rapides Parish, following the flow of the Red River.

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10 thoughts on “$3.4 million canal project will improve drainage in East Natchitoches, other parts of the parish

  1. You can’t even drive over the road on north end of Williams ave where they’re showing this draining under the road. Will this be fixed as well. Or just completely cave in?

  2. Y’all know the lane is already shallow right there. Similar ditch dumps in almost right across river. Hope there is a plan for the increased sediments. But then again…..

  3. 478 coming out of Flora floods each time we get a lot of rain. We who live out that way have to take a longer route through Provencal to get out. Should we need an ambulance and they head to us via 478, it could be life threatening. We are part of the parish as well as the city. Just saying…

  4. What about the parish roads getting fixed first??? Seems like the roads need more attention than the drainage.

  5. Cleaning the existing ditches should also be a first priority. Consulting with other cities such as Shreveport that currently have better drainage systems in place would also be helpful.

  6. One of the first actions needs to be cleaning the current drainage canal that crosses Keydets Ave through Blanchard Subdivision of trees, old appliances and such and fine the people that put them there. Something also needs to be done for those properties in the Flora/La 120 area that floods frequently.

  7. Just off the top what happens when the Red river is in flood stage and old river can’t flow into the Red? Will be interesting to see what happens to the retention pond.

  8. interesting, I look forward to more info. Parts of that area did flood badly when we had the major flood event , last year I think.

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