Riegel: Let’s take a realistic look at flooding in Baton Rouge

    Being a small business owner is difficult regardless of where you hang your shingle.

    In south Louisiana it’s particularly challenging, writes Business Report Editor Stephanie Riegel in her new opinion piece

    This is not in the least because chunks of the state’s coast are sloughing off into the Gulf of Mexico every 30 minutes and even relative safe havens like Baton Rouge, once the mecca of hurricane evacuees from New Orleans and beyond, now finds itself battling so-called 25-year floods on an annual basis.

    Consider Jim Urdiales, whose South Acadian Thruway restaurant Mestizo was inundated with 3 feet of water for the fourth time in five years in last month’s sudden flash flood, Riegel writes. 

    He’s about as resilient as they come. But you have to be really committed to a community to rebuild, rinse and repeat year after year. At what point does that become unsustainable?

    It’s a question a growing number of residents and business owners are going to be asking unless we get really serious about understanding the flood risk we face.

    Granted, elected officials will tell you they have gotten serious about the problem. They’ve tightened regulations around development, identified solutions, secured federal funds for drainage projects and created task forces to draft policy.

    On paper, it sounds good. But some of the efforts lack teeth. Others are too little too late. And there’s at least one key piece of the puzzle that’s missing, Riegel writes. 

    Read Riegel’s full column from the latest edition of Business Report.