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Sinkhole Forces Hard Choice On Longtime Neighbors

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With street names like Crawfish Stew, Sauce Piquante, Bream Street and Sportsman Drive, it’s clear that the bayou flowing through en route to Lake Verret is the main draw for many of the residents. Boats and campers are a fixture in most driveways, whether paved concrete or a bed of rocks.

The “no trespassing” signs in many yards, however, are new.

After 26 years, Kenneth Simoneaux said he is ready to leave his acre of lush land bordering a narrow canal that empties into Bayou Corne. He and his wife are living in a 29-foot camper trailer in what he calls “a concrete village” in nearby Pierre Part.

“I never thought anybody could push me to the point where I would actually be ashamed to admit where I live,” he said, sitting on a folding chair outside his trailer. “I was so proud of my home. I’m lost.”

Landry lives on the south side of the highway and thinks a majority of the residents in the subdivision don’t want to move. A few, mainly those with young children, will probably leave, he said.

The close-knit, peaceful and family friendly community will change, Landry said. No one knows yet what will become of the vacant, bought-out property. Will houses be torn down and made into green space? Will they be occupied or left vacant?

Cranch said Texas Brine hasn’t decided what will become of the properties it buys.

“Unfortunately and sadly enough, I think we are going to witness the partial destruction and elimination of a wonderful little community here on the bayou,” Landry said.

Describing the house, friends and community she will leave behind, Richie said, “It’s like a funeral.”

While the parish has issued an evacuation order based on safety concerns, officials are not forcing anyone to leave. But they have informed residents of the potential risks, Boudreaux said.

“Everyone has a different risk tolerance,” he said.

For Richie and the Mistrettas who live on the north side, it’s the thought of the unexpected that’s driving their decision to pack up and go.

“In a way, I guess we were lucky because we could have gotten swallowed up like that poor man in Florida did,” Joanie Mistretta said, referring to 37-year-old Jeffrey Bush who was killed by a sinkhole last March.

“And that’s what we think could happen here.”

The gas accumulation scares Richie. Monitors already have picked up the presence of gas under a slab house located across the street from her.

“Maybe nothing’s ever going to happen. Maybe the ground is just going to start sinking below us,” Richie said. “I can’t stay with all those unknowns. It’s like what’s next?”

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Posted by FanSite on Aug 1st, 2013 and filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response by filling following comment form or trackback to this entry from your site

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