Baton Rouge is poised to address drainage issues, but will it follow through? 

    In the five years since the historic August 2016 flood, members of Louisiana’s congressional delegation have secured more than $2.6 billion for the state, nearly one-third of which is heading to East Baton Rouge Parish to address long-standing drainage and flooding problems.

    The money is coming from different federal sources and will fund statewide programs like the Louisiana Watershed Initiative, local planning efforts like the East Baton Rouge Stormwater Master Plan, and long-overdue capital projects like the Comite Diversion Canal.

    The huge influx of money comes as there appears to be amped-up public engagement—and angst—around the issues of drainage and flooding. In the months since a May 17 “rain event” caused flooding in neighborhoods that had never taken on water, residents have become increasingly vocal, speaking out against new developments they fear will make flooding problems in their neighborhoods worse. 

    The Capital Region has the resources to work on the flooding problem, but is the area finally getting serious about solving it? 

    While neighboring parishes are adopting building moratoriums to slow flooding, efforts to do the same in Baton Rouge have not gained ground. The Metro Council scrapped a proposed ordinance that would have tightened the regulations for new development in areas at high risk for flooding, after developers said the measure was unworkable and potentially illegal.  

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